Connected construction refers to the use of digital technologies to improve communication, collaboration and efficiency in the construction industry. There are certainly benefits to adopting connected construction practices, but is it a guaranteed path to more profit?
Connected construction can help to streamline project management, reduce errors and rework, and improve productivity – contributing to cost savings and increased profitability. But many companies face barriers to embracing connected construction. These include the upfront costs of implementing new technologies and processes, the impact on the learning curve for employees as they adapt to different ways of working, and the ongoing costs associated with maintaining and updating the new framework.
Many construction companies struggle with a host of challenges related to legacy systems, field equipment, siloed departments, and business processes. These difficulties include disjointed communication, inefficient paper records, and other forms of manual processing, data islands, poor project visibility, outdated bidding, and project estimating, and an inability to make accurate predictions about future project costs, timelines, and profitability. GlobalData Plc. Drake, C. , Williams, D., and Armengol, S. 2022. Connected Construction: A new technology mindset for a new era. (p.06)
Here are three proven ways connected construction can help construction companies to be more profitable.
1. Better-managed projects and more streamlined processes
Connected construction technologies – such as cloud-based software and communication tools – enable real-time collaboration and communication between project stakeholders. This translates into better-managed projects where everyone works together effectively – reducing costly delays, errors and rework.
When real-time data is available, project owners and other stakeholders can quickly make better-informed decisions. For example, data collected by sensors, drones or other technology can be used to monitor progress, track equipment and material usage, and identify potential issues before they become costly problems. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets enable workers to access data in real-time, reducing the time spent searching for information or waiting for approvals.
In summary, connected construction helps to reduce errors and speeds up many processes, ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.
2. Minimise risk and avoid additional costs.
Connected construction practices can help in optimising resource usage during the different stages of the construction project, as well as through the lifecycle management phase. For example, Building Information Modelling (BIM) lets various stakeholders visualise building scenarios as early as the planning stage. In this way decision-makers and other stakeholders can clearly see the cost and environmental impact of the materials they use.
Making the most of the data from different connected technologies clearly impacts the cost and profit of a project. For example, collecting real-time data and monitoring project execution or building performance helps in optimising resource allocation. It also helps in minimising the waste related to over-ordering, inefficient logistics or warehouse planning, and the underperformance of the building or its components.
Real-time collaboration tools used for planning, designing or onsite execution enable more efficient communication and decision-making among stakeholders. This all helps to reduce the costs associated with project delays. Connected construction technologies can help in identifying potential safety issues, too, by enabling proactive measures for preventing accidents or injuries. This, in turn, reduces the hardships and costs associated with workplace incidents.
3. Boost worker performance and morale while generating additional business opportunities
As explained earlier, connected construction technologies enable stakeholders to access information and data in real-time, streamlining their work and reducing the time spent on searching for information or waiting for approvals. This can lead to faster task completion, which increases overall productivity and profitability. Workers are then readily available to start new projects, or can focus on those activities with more value-add potential.
By providing real-time data on project progress, resource usage, and any potential issues, connected construction allows project stakeholders to make more informed decisions and quickly respond to changing circumstances. Connected construction can also positively impact employee morale by reducing manual and tedious work, ensuring a safe work environment, and exposing workers to opportunities for learning how to use the latest cutting-edge technology. This all helps in attracting and retaining top talent.
Connected construction technologies can help to improve communication and collaboration with clients too, so that project owners can ensure the needs and expectations of these stakeholders are met. This can help construction companies to build strong client relationships and win repeat business.
Connected Construction: A new technology mindset for more profitable projects
The impact of connected construction on profitability depends on various factors, including the size and complexity of projects, the specific technologies and processes being used, and the ability of companies to effectively integrate these practices into their existing workflows. Connected construction technologies will not generate money in and of themselves; it’s essential to make the most of the data they provide, using it to enhance collaboration with the project's stakeholders, and make more informed and aligned decisions.
The GlobalData whitepaper explores some key pain points and challenges construction companies face that are impacting their profitability. The paper provides insights into how connected construction technologies are being used to help reduce mistakes, inefficiencies and costs.