Construction industry project management is complex. It can be difficult to forecast the needs of any specific project. However, modern big data tools can make it easier to collect, analyze, and act on construction data. This data in areas that include financial data, estimating data, building informational modeling (BIM), and operational data can help those in the construction industry mitigate risk, create better estimate costs and timelines, and put teams in a position to succeed. A few of the ways to leverage construction data:
1) Facilitate the design process.
Quality data analytics tools process huge quantities of data, so they can be used to forecast potential issues that can impact construction projects. Building information modeling gives clear and accurate overviews based on past patterns. With BIM technology, you are not limited to two-dimensional technical drawings. BIM allows for better predictions when it comes to quantities of building components needed, information about the time to complete a project, and even predictions about a project’s operational life.
Cost estimates for materials can be calculated automatically. When any parameters of the project are changed, material lists can be updated automatically to reflect the most up-to-date results. The information put together at this stage can be used throughout the project for material tracking so that you always know what you have on-hand and where to find it.
2) Make costs more predictable.
Depending on the type of construction project, cost overruns of 30% or more are not uncommon. Connected data solutions software can make it easier to use big data to predict costs more accurately. At the planning stage, they mean getting access to data that can more precisely show what costs will be, based on historic costs. This means fewer surprises and more predictable outcomes.
At the current time, material costs have been skyrocketing. Many vital items are on backorder for weeks or months at a time. Construction data means a more realistic idea of what is needed for every project. While you may not be able to predict what your suppliers will charge, you can keep a hold on how much you need and how long it will take to complete a project once materials are in-hand.
3) Mitigate risks.
Analyzing construction data from previous projects can help identify potential risks and provide solutions. For instance, looking at past labor data can project potential delays and give you a better handle on overall project time. This can help you create plans that account for the true outlays expected and prevent cost overruns and construction delays.
This sort of mitigation means a more predictable idea of what profits will be. You can ensure that you are quoting every project as accurately as possible.
4) Reduce construction waste.
The volume of construction waste generated annually is expected to reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025. Construction data tools can give real-time information about what materials and equipment are where. This allows construction teams to work on a lean construction philosophy, ordering just what is needed and tracking it throughout the project. This is especially important in the current construction environment with continually increasing material costs.
5) Create safer worksites.
Sensor-enabled wearable devices, and the information they provide, have a huge impact on improving workplace safety. Biometric sensors can monitor the health of workers to ensure that people on the job site are not being overly physically stressed. Sensors can monitor environmental conditions.
Information gleaned from past projects can inform future safety protocols, as well. According to the Center for Construction Research and Training, companies that create Injury and Illness Prevention Programs (IIPPs) experience drops in injuries between 15 and 35 percent. Data-driven policies ensure that your IIPP is based on the actual conditions of your work sites and the needs of the people working there.
6) Improve equipment productivity.
Every hour the equipment sits idle represents wasted time and money on your project. Sensor data can be used to show the active and idle times of every piece of construction machinery on the site.
This information can help companies decide when it is most effective to buy, lease, or rent specific equipment by the day. It can also help boost productivity by scheduling more effectively. Fuel efficiency can see a boost, as well, as items spend less time on and idling when data is used for planning.
Today’s construction managers and planners have more data resources available than ever before. While the construction industry continues to face new challenges, data gleaned from past projects can help you anticipate them and plan for success.