Construction is a logistically challenging industry. Thankfully, construction information technology exists to help construction managers track data efficiently. Keep reading to learn more about information technology in construction and how it is shaping the industry.
How information technology in construction is changing the industry
1. Improved data tracking
Any sizable construction company has potentially thousands of data points worth tracking related to projects and resources (i.e. personnel and equipment). A valuable application of information technology in the construction industry entails using software to track that data and maintain a single source of truth.
This is considerably more efficient than the traditional means of tracking data using manually-tabulated spreadsheets (or worse, pen and paper).
Construction managers can also use software to link data sources and have information flow seamlessly (again, maintaining a single source of truth and automatically updating systems of record to match it).
2. More accurate (and readily accessible) analytics
Organizing data is only half the battle. Construction management professionals also benefit from applications that aggregate that data and provide useful analytics.
Therein lies the benefit of using software purpose-built for the construction industry. Applications such as Bridgit Bench can help you conduct industry-specific analysis and planning such as pursuit tracking, labor scheduling, project database management, and more.
Software based in the cloud offers the added benefit of making this purpose-built analysis accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
3. Reduced financial and safety risks
Information technology in construction can also be helpful from a safety and compliance tracking standpoint. Human resource databases, for example, help construction managers keep track of scheduling and workload management to ensure no one is being over (or under) utilized to the detriment of their safety.
Information technology can also help construction managers mitigate financial risks, such as those brought on by poor scheduling and resource management (or even equipment and time theft).
4. Improved resource tracking
Construction is a very resource-intensive industry, relying on everything from personnel to equipment and time. Tracking the usage and maintenance of those resources is important for any construction company’s wellbeing (and, in the case of personnel, that of theirs also).
Information technology in construction streamlines the resource tracking process by placing powerful management techniques (such as Gantt charts) at your fingertips.
These applications also help construction management professionals understand the consequences of various resource management decisions (i.e. in the case of Gantt charts, making it very easy to visualize dependencies).
5. Improved designs
Construction information systems are useful for more than just organizing data. Building information modeling systems also help professionals design better structures through the intelligent use of data.
Building information modeling systems are increasingly accessible and have become a staple of design in the construction industry – evidence of just how integral construction information systems are.
6. Streamlined workflows
By making data easier to capture and access, construction information technology systems streamline workflows, helping professionals accomplish more in less time.
Examples of construction information technology
Now that you know more about the benefits of construction information technology, let’s explore a few examples of these applications.
Construction management software
Construction management applications such as Bridgit Bench help professionals coordinate and optimize resource allocations. Benefits of using these applications include:
- better organization
- improved resource management decisions backed by data
- more efficient construction management meetings (aided by everyone utilizing the same data)
- easily-generated (and accessed) reports
Computer-aided design software
Computer-aided design (CAD) applications give engineers the tools they need to design and evaluate structures in a more efficient and accurate manner than analog design techniques. Popular examples of computer-aided design software include AutoCAD and Procore. Recent times have also seen the emergence of virtual reality applications that let designers offer other stakeholders virtual tours of their work.
Drones fulfill a variety of use cases in construction. Many companies have begun using drones to survey sites faster and more accurately. Drones are now so advanced they can also capture topographical data for use by engineers.
Internet of things
The term “internet of things” describes physical devices that connect to the internet and capture real-world data. Construction professionals increasingly rely on internet of things devices for purposes such as:
- monitoring site attendance
- ensuring compliance with safety protocols
- monitoring job site security
- automating reporting (i.e. billable hours, time spent on specific tasks, etc)
Computer-aided facility management
The term “computer-aided facility management” describes tools such as access control systems that help professionals monitor facilities more effectively. These systems are a key component of capital project, asset management, and similar contracts.
Gone are the days when one could reliably assume construction management professionals would always work out of the same office and therefore have access to data stored on a single computing network.
These days (especially in light of COVID-19), construction management teams tend to be spread out geographically, which necessitates cloud computing.
Cloud computing isn’t a type of construction management system, mind you, but rather a means of making such systems available from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Construction management software that lives in the cloud is a great example of this.
Construction information systems: Conclusion
We hope this article has helped you understand the significance and value of construction information systems. In conclusion, these applications provide several key benefits, among them:
- improved data tracking
- more accurate analysis of said data
- reduced risks
- improved resource management
- improved design and engineering capabilities
- streamlined workflows
For more articles on the topic of construction management and technology, visit our blog.
Frequently asked questions about construction information systems
What is construction information management?
Construction information management is the process of coordinating and analyzing data as it relates to construction projects.
What is construction information used for?
Construction information is utilized across organizations for purposes that include:
- managing resources (from equipment to personnel)
- informing operational and financial decisions
- designing structures
- managing safety and other forms of compliance on job sites
Is construction technology a good career?
Construction technology is a rapidly growing industry that provides many career paths and opportunities for growth. According to a report from McKinsey & Company, the construction industry lags behind other sectors when it comes to productivity. Technology is increasingly seen as an avenue for rectifying that, which gives construction technologists plenty of reason to be optimistic career-wise.