The State of Construction Data Management
It’s no secret that the construction data management industry favors general contractors (GCs) as many of the software solutions on the market today are built specifically to address their needs. This should come as no surprise given that GCs are often the ones who own the project data. Many times, they are the only ones who collect data in the field and update information throughout the project lifecycle.
However, this causes an issue for subcontractors who need to stay up to date with what’s going on in the field and document their own progress on the job. Though subcontractors can (and often do) create their own set of manual data, it’s not the most effective way to manage information on the job site. Working in silos can cause issues when teams try to communicate with one another, which can lead to costly delays. It is vital that there is a single source of accurate and timely data for all project teams to access.
The best way for subcontractors to have more control over their data is to own it themselves. Keeping accurate real-time data in a digital data management platform that is accessible by the entire team allows subcontractors to ensure everyone is on the same page and working from the same set of information.
The Value of Construction Project Data
When it comes to data in construction, ultimately, this equation is key: Quality of Construction Data = Quality of Project.
Quality projects run off quality data. Data informs smart decisions, makes a project more efficient, and provides projections going forward. When key information is missing, that’s when mistakes–and ultimately costly and time-consuming rework–are increasingly likely to occur.
Data can streamline your projects and improve your processes. To make sure you get all the information you need, it’s essential to have a strategy and the right tools that will help you collect and use data that contributes to the quality of a project–and even improves safety.
“The benefit of capturing data lies in the ability to make proactive changes that affect the bottom line of the job in progress. The last thing you want is to look back and say, ‘If I’d only known that a month ago,’” says Scott Jennings, P.E., principal of SJ Construction Consulting, LLC, who has worked across the U.S. with hundreds of contractors for more than 25 years.
The 3 Pillars of Construction Data Management for Subcontractors
When it comes to construction project data, it is only helpful to subcontractors if they can use it to support their work. In order to be valuable to subcontractors, project data needs to be:
- Accurate – This means that all data is correct, precise, and up to date. The best way to ensure that project data is accurate is to work with a single source of truth for all teams with each group working to add or update data as it is generated.
- Portable – Subcontractors need to be able to see and update project information while on the job site. Data should be stored in a way that is easy for all involved parties to access and update it on all mobile devices used in the field.
- Accessible – In addition to being able to take your data right to the job site, you also need to make sure that everyone can access it. When everyone on the team leverages different data management tools, it can be difficult to share data between teams without data loss.
Accurate, portable, and accessible data helps subcontractors ensure that there are no surprises on the job site. It improves communication between team members and across teams, helping to avoid miscommunications or errors that are the result of outdated or lack of information. By having the ability to update this data on the job site, subcontractors can ensure that their work has been documented.
Benefits of Increased Data to the Construction Industry
1. Increases Productivity
Lacking data or having poor data has resulted in mistakes and projects getting off track. But when a construction team has access to the correct data when they need it through digital technology, it can boost productivity and save on labor hours.
2. Fosters Transparent Collaboration
Real-time data has brought different parts of a project together so there is more teamwork instead of disconnected pieces. Through data, different contractors and the owners can work together better and see every piece of the project and how the different pieces are interrelated.
3. Streamlines Analysis
Technology specialized to the needs of the industry allows construction companies to gain more access to high-quality data in real-time. This allows them to look at all of the separate parts of a project at once, analyze and make any adjustments that need to be made to improve outcomes.
Get Serious About Collecting Construction Project Data
Data collection is more important than ever in society and in the construction industry. It can help teams bring the different parts of a project together, make a job more efficient, and give real-time information that helps with project planning and progress. Want to learn more about how specialty contractors can use data and technology to improve project outcomes? To learn more, download the ebook today.