By Chad Schafer, Director Product Management, Info Tech, Inc.
Traditionally, construction projects have been managed largely through paper-based document delivery methods. With the large number of project stakeholders and complexities associated with construction projects, keeping accurate records, having everyone on the same page, and working from the same set of information often proves difficult and is neither efficient nor cost effective.
Technological advances have revolutionized both our business and personal lives. Such as my two year old daughter who, on her own, can play the Frozen soundtrack on an iPhone and take selfies. Not only is technology being embraced by many new advances such as the cloud, mobile, sensors, etc., it has changed the landscape dramatically from the days of the Orange field books.
Two trends are riding these technological advances to the forefront in the construction industry: Civil Integrated Management (CIM) and e-Construction. Although different, these initiatives essentially promote procedures and tools for the collection, organization, sharing and management of project data in a digital, or electronic format. So, why are these initiatives and the tools important?
First, project transparency for all stakeholders. By using the same set of data, all project stakeholders can work better together. Working better together with the same set of data encourages better decision making during the project, and also in the future. Additionally, these initiatives are important due to increased pressure for accelerated project delivery and for everyone to do more with less. Without adoption of some of these technologies, an accelerated project schedule wouldn’t be possible. Finally, to make these initiatives work, better accessibility to the data is needed by all, as well as ensuring that the data is “good” data.
FHWA indicates that “the proposed e-Construction system is supported by many tools and practices that currently exist to improve communication and make construction management practices more efficient.”
Your agency may use many systems and varying practices in order to advance these initiatives. They may even vary from project to project. Ultimately, to be successful in adopting and adapting to the trends and the technology advances, the agency needs an internal champion, and needs to stress collaboration; both within your agency and with your external partners. Also, don’t forget the needs of good and transparent data and documentation that is easily accessible for all phases of a construction project and beyond.
The technologies available today allow for increased access to data, improved collaboration, automation of many manual processes, with much more being done directly in the field. Info Tech has been providing technological solutions and services to the construction industry for more than 30 years. During that time, we have seen significant changes in the industry with many of these technological advances changing the ways business is conducted.
We’re really talking about a system of systems. With this, it’s important to keep in mind there are many elements, and there will be varying business needs for different projects. So, how do you get started?
For more information, or if you would like to discuss how we can work together in this area, please visit www.infotechfl.com