Construction technology is changing the way people work, from the back office to the field. Technologies have progressed massively and rapidly within just the past decade.

One technology challenge the construction industry faces is how to improve communication among project stakeholders. The lack of communication is one of the greatest and most common inefficiencies in construction companies worldwide. It is important to focus on better communication to break down the information silos that exist on projects.

Some industry hurdles that impede this progress include: companies still working from pen and paper; getting everyone in the industry to use the same methodologies; establishing industry-wide standards; ensuring competencies.

In addition, there is a fear factor around technology, making some people hesitant to buy into change. At its most basic foundation, change involves the mindset of each person among the wide range of individuals on a project. Some are enthusiastic about new ways of doing things. Some are hesitant. If you can convince a “dinosaur” of the value of the change you want to implement, they could become your biggest advocate. Beyond buy-in, training and support need to be tailored to individuals. People learn in different ways and at different tempos.

Another challenge is tracking information throughout a project’s lifecycle. For each aspect of a project – fire safety, for example – there is a thread of information that can and should be captured. It is important to track some key data:

  • Is the installer qualified?
  • Do the materials that are used meet the project specifications?
  • Are the materials installed to the manufacturer’s recommendations?
  • Are the appropriate details transferred to facilities management at handover?

Connecting information on a construction project gives a company a competitive edge. Even though we enjoy connected information in our personal lives, we may not benefit from the same level of interoperability on a project.

It is crucial to have a data strategy in place. Part of that strategy involves deciding what data you need to collect and why. What are you going to use the data for after you have collected it? Once that is determined, decide how you are going to collect it and where it will reside.

Connected construction involves digital platforms that provide a single source of truth for the data on a project. All the project information can be pieced together and stored in one place. Teams need to be able to access the right information at the right time without having to rifle through a storage room filled with documents. The best outcomes can result when information is accessible from the cloud nearly instantaneously using a mobile device.

So, how does a company create buy-in? A primary focus needs to be on the individual onsite doing the work. The technology needs to be simple, easy to use and beneficial to the individual. They need to see how it supports the project and enhances their work. The more it benefits them, the more likely it will be widely adopted. Word gets around.

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 207 with guest Rob Norton "Construction's Golden Thread of Information"
Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 207 with guest Rob Norton “Construction’s Golden Thread of Information”

Learn more about technology, connected construction and the Golden Thread of information in the Bridging the Gap Podcast episode 207 with Rob Norton.

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