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Break Down Construction Site Mobile Barriers to Maximize Project Success

By Eliot Jones, Product Manager, ProjectSight

How can you maximize the likelihood that your construction project is built correctly? By leveraging mobile project management technology while walking the site. 

We’ve all likely benefited from mobile applications in our personal lives…yet in our professional lives, namely the construction environment, the evolution is considerably slower.  

While most general contractors have technology for project management in offices and job site trailers, connected mobile applications on the job site are far less common. The challenge is in part a cultural shift, as our industry adjusts to technology-enabled workflows.  Process change is hard, but  People don’t like workflow and process change. Some might even resent being tied to the whims of technology.

it’s a barrier that we need to get past if we’re to derive real value from today’s more collaborative, connected solutions. Beyond the ease of use, mobile project management tools maximize the likelihood that a project is built to owner specifications. 

Every project manager or field engineer will tell you that the best way to monitor a project is to be on the job. With mobile technology, project managers, field engineers and superintendents are no longer tethered to the office or construction trailer because project information is instantly available on a smartphone or tablet.  A conflict or issue can be addressed immediately because the specifications—drawings, documents and models—are readily available. No emails, no backtracking to job site trailer, no forgotten memos, etc. 

Need to write an RFI? Simply pull up an RFI template on your phone, tag the problem, take a picture, if needed, and submit.  No more, handwriting notes in the field, returning to the office and typing into an email, likely initiating a long string of emails between various parties.  A common refrain from contractors is the overabundance of emails—mobile technology minimizes the chaos because everyone is communicating on the same document in one unified platform, often in real-time, in the office and in the field. It also eliminates the chance of carrying around the wrong drawing or document. 

Bottom line, mobile technology maximizes the likelihood that your project is built per the design specifications. 

The future of mobile construction technology is even more exciting. Mixed reality in construction is fast-becoming the new frontier. We’re at the intersection of physical with digital where we can see the model in real-time and real location. 

With something like the XR10 HoloLens, you can walk around a construction site with heads-up display or on your phone and overlay a 3D model in the physical space.  Think how easy it would be for everyone to visualize issues in the field?  While in this mixed reality environment, a project manager can instantly create an RFI that instantly captures the model and physical structure, ready for distribution to the architect or engineer. This is mobile innovation!  Through mobile technology, we can be more predictive in catching issues and much faster to resolve problems as they arise. 

Remember, the value proposition of technology is the ability to maximize the likelihood that a project is built correctly. Mobile is a big part of that process.  Less paper, fewer emails,  simplified documentation and automated reporting connected to project controls data is the future of our industry. Take the first step – go mobile. Remove the barriers that restrict data flow. Invest in mobile solutions that connect all your project data under one powerful platform whether you’re in the office, in the field or on the road.   

About the Author

Eliot Jones is a Product Manager with the Trimble PPM division responsible for the mobile solutions and strategy across both our Owner and General Contractor solutions. He has a 6+ year career with Trimble prior to the PPM division working for the Geospatial, Civil Engineering and Construction, and Utilities divisions. Before joining Trimble he has experience in the construction, land, and hydrographic surveying industries. Eliot has a bachelor’s in science degree from the Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland.

Profile Photo of Eliot Jones