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Information Technology in the Construction Industry

Jim GarlockBy: Jim Garlock

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The fast pace of technological change is shaking things up in every industry. While some construction companies have been slower to adopt IT innovations, modern advances are changing the way that things are built.

Building information modeling software and virtual reality tools help architects and engineers share their visions with clients and construction crews. Even before they pour a foundation, construction companies are using bidding tools and planning software to prepare for a project.

During construction, supervisors use real-time scheduling and inventory software to direct projects with higher efficiency. Internet-connected tools can share information about their location and condition. Some larger projects use drone technology to keep a visual record of progress and look for any issues. Companies are even beginning to incorporate robotics into the construction process.

From the bidding process to the finishing stages, technology is changing the pattern of construction. Construction companies that want to have a competitive edge must invest in well-designed IT solutions.

Faster Communication with Cloud Computing

Before cloud computing became a standard part of daily life, companies stored their information on local servers or physical hard drives. This was the era of printed schedules and spreadsheets posted on bulletin boards. While this method got the job done, it could mean delays due to unclear instructions or inadequate information. If a builder needed to check on a figure, he or she would have to stop the project and contact the site office or find a computer with the information.

Faster Communication with Cloud Computing

Storing information on cloud servers gives everyone access to the same information at the same time. When you have cloud-based scheduling software, everyone can see changes in personnel as they happen. Project plans and specifications can live online where supervisors will have immediate access.

Cloud-based storage will also help construction companies work with their clients. As companies adopt drone technology as a way to check construction progress, it is simple to put those images in a cloud-based file where clients, architects and engineers can access them. This will not only share the status of the project, but it can also help answer questions and settle disputes down the line.

Another benefit of incorporating cloud-based technology is data integration. Construction companies may use different platforms for budgeting, scheduling and tracking day-to-day expenses. Cloud computing allows different platforms to share data which can avoid the confusion caused by manual entry errors.

Construction Project Management Software

Project management software that has been custom-designed for the construction industry will make companies more efficient. This software solution will lead to the simplification of everyday tasks and clearer communication between supervisors and workers.

Simple Document Creation

From permit requests to posted schedules, there are some documents that the management team must produce on a regular basis. Construction project management software will allow the office to produce the most common forms and documents quickly. In a cloud-based model, the company can share these forms with anyone who needs to see them.

Simple Document Creation

Team-Based Scheduling

A large construction site may have several teams working on different projects at the same time. Sending the right people to the right task will move every project along. In addition, a cloud-based scheduling tool allows for real-time changes. Some construction sites are using wearable technology to track the location of workers on the site. With an integrated software solution, the supervisor can locate and send a builder to new a project with ease.

Inventory and Equipment Usage Tracking

A construction project has many moving parts. Supervisors need to know the materials available on site as well as the building equipment that is in use. Web-enabled sensors in equipment can give reports of the location of a given tool and whether or not it is at work. For the sake of safety, it is important to know which pieces of equipment are due for inspection or maintenance. Knowing the current status of equipment and materials will mean easier planning and less idle time for workers. Project management software will improve the organization of the project by making all of this information easily accessible.

Keeping on the Same Page with Mobile Device Management

Supervisors used to use walkie-talkies to communicate with workers at a distance. Now, almost everyone has a digital device like a smartphone or tablet. Many construction companies find it easier to issue a mobile device to each of their employees for work purposes. Centralized mobile device management has several advantages for any organization.

Uniform Equipment

When everyone is working with the same technology, it makes it easier to keep the devices properly maintained and updated. Mobile device management software allows an administrator to perform updates on all the equipment at the same time. The IT administrator can also make apps available to everyone at once. If there is a technical issue, IT employees can make remote connections to troubleshoot problems.

Uniform Equipment

Data Security

When everyone is using the same security protocols, it minimizes weak spots in data security. In the event that a device is ever lost or stolen, the IT administrator can remove access to data from the individual machine. Another security measure in centralized device management is permission-based access to information. While scheduling information might be available on every device at the site, more sensitive information might only be made available on devices issued to management.

Efficient Communication

The right mobile device management solution will encourage communication throughout the organization. This can be as simple as a supervisor reaching out for an update on a project. It can also involve looping subcontractors, engineers and clients into the building process. Project managers no longer need to be directly on site to get the latest information on how the construction is progressing.

Finding a Partner for your IT Solutions

IT will continue to grow as an essential part of the construction industry. Custom software has the advantage that it allows an organization to work with a platform that addresses its specific problems. Finding the right software development partner to design the right construction project management software will lead to a more efficient organization and happier clients.

Disclaimer:

Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.

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