Time-saving benefits of technology on your construction site
In the construction industry, some say technology is a welcome development while others are quite skeptical about the change. The skepticism is probably because it appears to replace human labor, thereby increasing levels of unemployment. Still others think tech induces laziness.
Well, technology is here to stay and its influence over us depends strictly on how we handle it.
The question is: Do we apply technology and its devices in ways profitable to us or do we continue to rely on the same old methods of operation?
When Bill Gates predicted in 1999 that “people will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are,” it seemed like that development was a lifetime away. However, drones, virtual reality, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, chat-rooms and emails are our current reality.
Since technology was initiated into the construction business, it hasn’t appeared to slow down, not even a little bit. The stakes keep getting higher, and this has brought about advancements in all areas of construction — logistics, paperwork, safety, project execution and the finished project.
Since technology was initiated into the construction business, it hasn’t slowed down, bringing advancements in all areas of construction.
Technology allows for credibility, faster designs and increased accuracy with estimates, in addition to saving cost, time and energy. You can find below some of the ways in which technology is used in construction to save time in particular.
Faster project execution
With mobile technology, it is possible to be almost everywhere at once. The cellphone or the laptop will get you through to anyone at incredible speed. All you need is your communication device, and access to the internet.
Now, you can communicate with workers through email, phone and video calls or text to whomever you wish to address.
Gone are the days when correspondence would need a team of two or more shuttling between offices and sites to relay some information that could have been passed across with a mobile device. Not only does that shuttling cause unnecessary traffic at the site, it also slows down the project. Now, you can communicate with workers through email, phone and video calls or text to whomever you wish to address.
Efficient site survey with drone technology
With technology, surveyors no longer have to spend a whole day at construction sites taking measurements and inspecting progress. Their presence on site now involves leveraging the technological advancements called drones.
Drones are wonderful inventions that save surveyors the time and stress of feeling out construction sites to get accurate measurements and outlines for complex buildings. They gained quick popularity in the construction sector because they can easily survey locations that are inaccessible to workers, provide detailed and accurate images, and contribute to the execution of projects at a faster rate. Statistics from DroneDeploy show that in 2018, the construction industry witnessed a 239% increase in the adoption of drone technologies.
Statistics show that in 2018 the construction industry witnessed a 239% increase in the adoption of drone technologies.
A conventional survey usually involved using a scaffold platform on elevated areas and gaining access through ropes or ladders. The surveying equipment — chains, measuring tapes, compasses, poles, tripods — would be lifted onto the scaffolding after the surveyor. This method posed a great risk of falls, damage to equipment and injury of surveyors, but drone technology has greatly eliminated those risks.
Save time with organized database management
Gone are the days when company information was documented on perishable, dusty paper, and stacked in a room labeled ‘storage’ and required days of search before certain information could be found.
Businesses in the construction industry deal with big data, so you can be sure finding a particular piece of information could take days. Dismissing the aid of technology even in this seemingly small area can cause delay in execution of construction projects. It is best to delegate storage and protection of data to technology, with the supervision of an expert operator.
Dismissing the aid of technology can cause delay in execution of construction projects.
Many companies have extrapolated the benefits of database management into different departments in construction companies. From accounting for managing invoices to mechanics lien filing for revenue protection, digital transformation translates to different areas of construction businesses, especially because data is crucial in a business’ success.
Here’s the deal:
Company data affects decision-making; from company data, both employers and employees get insight on construction strategy. With technology, the information they need would always be with them on site and at their fingertips.
Improved productivity with computer-aided design
Computer-aided design (CAD) is a procedure that involves using computers to improve the design process, by creating graphical depictions of physical objects. It can serve the purpose of creating 2D and 3D likenesses of any material and generate animations. Building information modeling (BIM) is regarded as an extension of computer-aided design.
Software programs allow for a complete digital designing process that covers every possible parameter. This way, analysis can be thorough before the commencement of construction projects, allowing contractors to save time and cost. The digital designs are also readily available to workers who need to consult on-site.
CAD allows construction managers to point out any errors and find ways to work around them on time, avoiding delays and costly mistakes.
CAD is very important to the construction industry because it reduces development costs. How does it do this? It allows construction managers to point out any errors and find ways to work around them on time, thus avoiding delays and costly mistakes when construction is underway.
Saving the day with wearable technology
Wearable technology for construction includes electronic devices worn by a worker. They can wear them on the body, such as personal protective equipment. They serve the purpose of collecting and delivering data relating to the worker’s activities, environment and biological state.
The devices may produce audible warning alarms when a worker is too close to danger or is approaching exhaustion. It can also alert emergency workers of the location of an injured worker. Some examples of wearable devices are smart watches, smart glasses, and exoskeletons designed to provide support.
That said, the automatic alert system saves the time that may elapse between discovering a worker who has been hurt and then proceeding to get help.
GlobalData estimated that in 2018, the global wearable technology industry was worth $23 billion and was expected to total $54 billion by 2023.
So, why do you need time-saving technology?
You may think that you and your business are doing just fine without time-saving technology. Chances are you really are doing fine, but you could be doing a lot better.
The construction industry is remarkably competitive, and with the rising trend in adopting technology, competition is even stiffer. It is possible that businesses that do not adapt fast may lose clientele to other technologically advanced businesses.
The best contractor isn’t the one who works the hardest. It is the one who works the smartest.
About the Author:
Chris Woodard is the Co-Founder of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.