The construction industry hasn’t digitised as quickly as other sectors. But it’s catching up. Day on day, month on month, year on year, new technology is being introduced that improves compliance, health and safety, productivity – and, of course, profitability.
But why is digital transformation so important to the construction sector? Why this sudden focus – and investment in – technology? In this guide, we’ll look at the rationale behind these changes – and why they’re essential survival tools in an economy changed forever by the recent global pandemic.
Businesses are no longer limited by the hardware on their computer. The internet is a supercharged highway that allows companies and organisations to share data and documents at lightning-fast speeds.
Cloud computing isn’t new. But it has only recently been appropriated by the construction industry – partly because its processes and workflows weren’t optimised to suit the industry’s specific needs.
Here are a few reasons the construction industry is making cloud computing part of its digital transformation strategy.
The recent global pandemic made physical site visits challenging. And yet the only way to check the statuses of projects was to travel to the relevant location – a process that was time-consuming, expensive, and which jeopardised employees health.
The cloud removes the need for site visits. Using powerful SaaS platforms, construction companies can view sites in real-time – whenever and wherever they want to.
As far back as 2019, 85% of construction companies in the U.S alone were using (or planning to use) cloud-based solutions to manage their projects. Meanwhile, the global market is set to grow to $832.1 billion globally by 2025.
Construction companies that fail to implement cloud-based solutions will become the minority, fall behind, and become unprofitable.
Some construction companies still cling to archaic methods of document storage – retaining physical versions only. In the event of fire or theft, this data would be lost forever – jeopardising projects, profits, and customer relationships.
Tech-savvy companies back up their data to the cloud instead. They can store as much information as they like – and take comfort from the fact it’s secure and can be accessed 24/7 from any global location.
Many construction companies are making BIM part of their digital transformation planning strategy. But what is BIM and why has it grown in popularity in recent years?
BIM creates virtual replicas of projects that can be used as theoretical models by engineers – who can then anticipate how well building materials will fare over time.
The benefits of implementing BIM for construction companies are numerous. The most obvious is cost. Problems can be spotted before they become expensive issues to fix, improving the longevity of building materials.
Information can be shared faster too, speeding up the decision-making process, and ensuring everyone who matters is kept in the loop.
With something in the region of 70% of construction companies using BIM within Europe, this technology will soon become an industry norm.
Those companies that fail – or refuse – to implement it will fall behind and lose contracts to their more technically-minded competitors.
Project management software
Although digital transformation is changing how constructors manage projects, not all are implementing the right software solutions. Instead of using a single application, many are using a handful of programs for different tasks – such as time management, job costing, or work orders.
That’s fine if apps link together seamlessly. But if they’re poorly integrated, operational errors and inefficiencies will creep in. That’s why leading construction companies are shifting their gaze to all-in-one modularised systems.
Constructors that implement all-in-one project management software as part of their digital transformation strategy benefit from technology that centralises their data – without the need to worry about integration. You can even choose which modules you want to include and add more later when required.
Paper-based systems are becoming obsolete in the construction industry. Creating and managing a physical library of documents is time-consuming, inefficient, and expensive – tying up vital human resources that could be better deployed elsewhere.
There’s also a risk, that physical documents can be stolen, damaged, or lost. Even then, finding information quickly is next to impossible, with team members having to hunt through boxes of indexed files to find what they’re looking for.
Constructors are catching on to the benefits of cloud-based digital systems and making them part of their digital transformation strategies. Using a program like Dokkit, they can start working toward paper completion from the moment a project begins.
Digital document tools are cloud-based and template-driven – empowering customers to create digital O&M manuals, health and safety files, user guides, and much more – quickly and in just a few steps. They can also be professionally branded, creating better first impressions with clients.
The construction industry is rapidly modernising through the appropriation of pivotal digital technologies. In part, these changes are driven by fear: constructors are keen to ‘pandemic proof’ their business models – in part to safeguard their workforce, but also to ensure continuation in the event of another lockdown.
There’s also the fear of missing out. Digital transformation is placing pressure on constructors to adapt to keep pace with their competitors. Those that fail to invest in the latest digital technology will struggle to win new clients and could even go out of business.
And let’s not forget the bottom line. There’s a clear correlation between efficiency and profit. It’s in the best interest of constructors to modernise – because it will make their businesses profitable.
If you want to digitally transform your business, talk to us today. We’d love to help with your next project.