Overcoming the Duplicate Data Dilemma on Construction Projects with Connected Construction
What is connected construction and why should you care?
At the macro level, connected construction is all about the free flowing, secure construction project data transfer between the field and the office, and amongst stakeholders of projects.
For many, the idea of connected construction began with the evolution of BIM. Recall the excitement around pre-construction clash detection and coordination. Within one tool, all conceptual ideas could be pulled together to deliver virtually build a project, instantly reducing the chance of problems in the field.
The BIM idea works because it’s all about data—not documents, files or drawings. At its heart, connected construction is about better data management and, to me, the elimination of mind-numbing duplicate data entry.
Duplicate data entry in construction is a consequence of our industry’s excitement about and investment in technology. In today’s environment, one contractor might have up to 10 different systems to manage drawings, daily reporting, schedules, budgets, etc., few of which talk to each other. So while we’ve automated our construction processes, we have not digitally connected them, thus introducing the much-loathed duplicate data entry scenario.
Of course, the growing number of applications and associated digital disconnects introduces a huge source of potential project risk (e.g., errors) and additional cost to the entire project team and the owner, slowing data flow and decision making, which correlates to higher risks on the jobsite in terms of schedule and budget, and threatens already slim margins.
Bottom line, we have a lot of ways to record information on a project, but not a lot of ways to connect it.
To take advantage of the power of technology, we need to adjust our thinking. Construction project management efficiency and productivity are achieved by better managing project data—not applications. It’s about getting data out of silos and eliminating duplicate data entry for your project managers, engineers and field crews. For instance, information recorded on a daily report should be accessible to project managers tracking schedules without any data reentry. A superintendent should never have to ‘write’ a daily report – it should be automatically generated based on input from the field crews.
A comprehensive cloud-based construction project management solution is one way to deliver that single source of truth to contractors and owners. It eliminates the number of disparate systems for the contractor, by managing all data that is then used to produce daily reports, manage drawing reviews, track budgets and schedules.
Before you add another application to your office or jobsite, evaluate your connections. Are you building a technology foundation that automatically shares data with solutions that do more than automate otherwise manual processes?
Can you confidently state that you have eliminated duplicate data entry and established a way for the data to be used as it’s needed with ease and accuracy?
If we’re to make real progress in the quest to improve construction productivity and safety, we must rethink our technology deployment approach …through connected construction.