You might think that construction is one area where the ever-changing digital landscape would have little or no effect, but that is not the case. As the owner of a construction business, you face several daily challenges, and there is technology that can help with many of them. This does not just mean giving each of your employees a smartphone to aid communication and download updates to schedules (although this is very useful), but rather, finding solutions that make the whole process easier.
Use Software to Create Construction Blueprints
If there is one thing you can be sure of in the construction industry, it is change. This can be enforced changes due to a material or budget shortage, or the client changes their mind halfway through the project. This means you need to create blueprints to reflect those changes and get them approved and out to your team in double quick time.
Finding the right software to do this might not be easy, but the benefits of this quick turnaround can’t be underestimated. As a bonus, the client will be impressed that you got this turned around so quickly, although it might tempt them into doing it again.
Data Collection and Analysis
Even construction businesses create a lot of data, and it can be analysed to highlight ways to improve how your business runs. It will indicate what is going well and show you in detail all the factors that led to any overruns on time or budget. This might be the time spent on certain tasks you had not done before and could only estimate, but not have concrete data you can use to plan more effectively in the future.
Drones are useful to a construction business in many ways:
- They can give you a birds-eye view of the project to allow you to make decisions faster, instead of having to walk all around the site.
- They can get to hard-to-reach places to inspect work or places with limited access to complete site surveys in double quick time.
- They can be fitted with cameras that can create a 3D render of the site, so both you and the client can see the terrain without having to visit the site, and spot hard-to-move objects, like tree stumps and boulders.
In short, they give you an insight into many areas where you would have previously had to do extensive research to reveal or find out the hard way.
3D Printing to Create Out-of-Stock Materials
Nothing holds up a job like a material shortage, especially if the object in question is very small and hard to get. Rather than wait days or even weeks for one to turn up, you could use a 3D printer to create one for you in half the time.
This might seem like an expensive solution. However, you need to weigh this up against the cost of the delay, with employees standing around idle and penalty clauses looming. It also cuts down on transport costs, which if you are having the part express couriered from the other side of the world, will be considerable.
IoT (The Internet of Things)
You might already have something like this in place, except most of the work might be being done manually. Despite the fancy title, in the context of construction, this means equipment like sensors feeding information into computers to act with minimal human intervention. For instance, it could monitor air quality on the site, and turn on extractors if fumes or dust reach a certain level.
It can also monitor the performance of any machinery you happen to be using and automatically order a service or repair for a vital piece of equipment that is about to break down. This turns an expensive repair into a cheaper one and mitigates the amount of downtime caused by the machine being out of action. This not only decreases the number of delays, but it can also make your site a safer place to work by cutting down on accidents caused by faulty equipment and machinery, which can only be a good thing.
Technology has its part to play in the construction industry, and the benefits can be seen in several places. Creating blueprints and plans quickly can increase the agility of your business, cutting down potential delays. Using drones and the IoT to take up some of the slack when it comes to surveys and monitoring, and 3D printing can cut down the wait for key items that might be out of stock elsewhere. Finally, collecting all the data around these activities can help you plan for next time and improve your business even further.