Recent report findings point out that the average time U.S. construction professionals spend on rework, conflict resolution and looking for project data is costing the industry more than $177 billion annually, urging once more, the adoption of technology.
According to a recent, comprehensive report, surveying almost 600 construction leaders across the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, the average time that U.S. construction professionals spend on rework, conflict resolution and looking for project data is costing the industry more than $177 billion annually.
The number of professionals surveyed for the large report included 336 working in commercial construction, with 49% being general contractors, 36% working in the specialty trades and 15% being owners or developers. Amongst the respondents, 65% spend their time on “optimal” activities, including keeping project execution on track, while the remaining 35% is spent on what the report calls “non-optimal” tasks.
Those include hunting down project information, resolving conflicts, and dealing with mistakes that require rework. According to the report, that translates to more than 14 hours lost per person each week or almost two full working days. Minimising time spent on those non-optimal tasks, could improve overall efficiency and time spent accomplishing “optimal” tasks.
As pointed out by another recent study, the construction industry is among the least digitised, thus challenging the adoption of software, technology and computing power becomes key in relation to boosting productivity and improving efficiency in the industry, especially as construction projects are becoming increasingly complex and expensive, putting managers under greater pressure to improve costs and timelines.
From 2007 through 2017 construction-technology firms have secured $10 billion in investment funding. Those start-ups are trying to mitigate some of the most pressing problems by developing tools and solutions for the construction phase in particular. According to McKinsey, use cases in during construction fall into “one of three clusters: on-site execution, digital collaboration, or back-office integration”, within which start-ups aim to enhance field productivity, safety monitoring, quality control, design and performance management and much more.
Alongside other start-ups, Sensat are successfully making a name for themselves in the UK’s construction tech scene, developing solutions cross-cluster by creating highly detailed simulated realities, to learn how things work and to change the way we make decisions. They do this by creating digital replicas of real world construction sites, which are exact virtual copies of what is actually on site, then infusing real time spatial data-sets with a high degree of statistical accuracy from both open and proprietary sources.
Sensat’s digital twin platform Mapp allows companies such as infrastructure construction, to make more informed decisions, using a range of live and historical information about their construction site, and the environment their teams are operating in. In doing so, time spent on non-optimal tasks can be reduced and major challenges in the industry can be tackled, making it easy for construction teams to share what happens, wherever it happens.
Location-based messaging and tagging features make it easy for anyone to share information, whether they are on site, or joining a collaborative planning session from miles away. The platform is able to collate all information into one place and acts as a secure central repository, where project teams can add notes and documents based on the location they represent, making it easy to access any project information and handover to the client at the end of the project.
The cloud-based platform also serves as a powerful 3D visualisation tool - it can host, combine, visualise and share all types of survey and design data, associated with a project such as point clouds, 3D design models, 2D CAD and more. This provides the simplest way to share models and designs with team members, clients and non-technical users, preventing conflicts emerging through miscommunication. Designing from an accurate digital canvas also reduces the risks of making mistakes, that require rework.
Of course, improving productivity involves a variety of approaches, not just technology, but the adoption of technology can and will help to challenge and minimise the time spent on non-optimal tasks, improving the overall performance in the industry.