Construction superintendents have an unbelievable workload. General contractors have hundreds of project workers onsite every day. There are thousands of elements. This kind of information can’t be handled well manually. So more and more companies are looking to artificial intelligence and other innovations to help with construction management.
The construction industry is data heavy. If a company is not using the right technology, it’s impossible to manage a construction project without going onsite to actually see what’s happening, how tasks are progressing. If a manager doesn’t know the status of tasks, they can’t set priorities. Real truth and accuracy are critical.
Yet, during weekly meetings, different teams can spend time arguing over what’s been accomplished and trying to explain what they did or did not do, including whose fault it is when things don’t get accomplished and deadlines are not met. Connecting information and getting people to work well together is a challenge, as opposed to blaming each other when things don’t get done.
Information and people are both part of a company’s vision. The number of software solutions is increasing every year – document management, design management, quality management, project management. No solution will ever do everything, so integrating with other solutions is key. In practical terms, connected construction can unite data and people, resulting in one source of information and transparency on a project.
Since it’s human nature for people to protect themselves and defend their work, transparency can make them uncomfortable. Once the truth is out there, they know they will have to answer for it. Showing weekly progress that everyone can see keeps people accountable.
Some of the benefits of artificial intelligence include:
- Doing repetitive, boring tasks that are not human tasks.
- Automating the tracking of numerous details, parts and elements.
- Freeing up people to be creative in problem solving.
- Freeing up humans to apply judgement, logic and critical thinking on project challenges.
At their core, projects are not that different from each other. All follow basic rules. So standardization can serve to improve quality and efficiency on a project. This is a value software can provide. Technology enables control by knowing what’s happening with the project. Software can keep track of the myriad little details and whether they get finished or instead create a logjam that slows progress.
Different teams on a project have their own “language,” their own perspective and ways they use project information. Progress reports need to be “translated” into these different perspectives. With connected construction, software can perform that function, showing progress to each stakeholder in their unique language. This can bring them value; it makes the benefit personal. When someone sees a tool’s value to them, then they can more easily buy into its implementation and use. This brings about partnerships, rather than a blame game, and improves a project’s outcome.
Tune in to episode 174 of Bridging the Gap Podcast to hear more about how innovation is helping lighten the workload of general contractors and project superintendents and improving construction management.