As exciting as it is, winning a bid is just the start of the process.
Before putting any shovels into the ground and turning any dirt, contractors have an opportunity to put in place a framework for success for the entire job.
Contractors face many potential pitfalls on a job, whether managing resources, documenting progress, or grappling with unforeseen challenges.
Contractors need unprecedented insights into every aspect of the job. They need real-time data to inform decisions to ensure it is profitable and avoid costly overruns.
As part of the process, contractors need to allocate financial and human capital resources and create a detailed plan before breaking ground. Adopting Advanced Digital Construction Management (ADCM) technologies can help minimize a project’s risks and increase the transparency of progress.
Empowering teams with ADCM will help boost productivity, manage the complex modern jobsite, enhance safety, and reduce project delays and cost overruns.
There are eight core elements of an ADCM: design; revisions and change requests; backup (IT, data, technical, components); terrain; resources; data management; as-built information; and team preparation.
ADCM is so powerful that Congress included it in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that President Biden signed into law in 2021, hoping to fast-track technology’s adoption throughout the construction lifecycle.
A PATH TO ADCM SUCCESS
While every project is unique and requires a different approach to advanced digital construction management, eight core elements of ADCM make up best practices and work from one jobsite to another.
Dodge Data & Analytics has consistently revealed that increasing the sophistication of data collection helps contractors improve productivity, safety, and profitability.
More than half (56%) said it would improve bid estimation, while a similar number (52%) said it would improve productivity and (51%) improve budget performance. Nearly half (48%) said it would improve safety.
It is, however, not always an easy task to prepare people, products, and precious resources. A lack of skilled workers, increased labor costs, and decreasing margins add to the difficulties in completing jobs on time and within budget.
Let’s evaluate the ways each of the eight core elements apply to the modern jobsite.
1. IT STARTS WITH A FIRM UNDERSTANDING OF THE LANDSCAPE
Before rolling equipment onto the jobsite, contractors need to understand the intricacies of the location. Doing so will help them make informed decisions and embrace the best approach to complete the project.
Missing or incomplete information is often the downfall of a project and can lead to incorrect decisions. Creating a digital twin by capturing and validating existing conditions on the front end helps prevent costly delays and incorrect bids.
2. BE BETTER PREPARED TO HANDLE CHANGES
Revisions are a part of the job. While there is no way to eliminate them, contractors can better prepare to make such adjustments in stride.
Technology enables supervisors to stay connected 24/7 and without the need to be on the jobsite. So, they can make decisions remotely in real time and share updated plans and information with stakeholders.
3. SECURELY BACKUP ALL CRITICAL DATA
Data security is a mission-critical imperative in a world filled with cyber threats, making it as critical as the project plans themselves.
Whether it’s backing up project plans, user guides, or spare components to complex methods such as cloud-enabled data recovery, the safeguarding of data is as important as collecting the data.
4. UNDERSTAND THE TERRAIN
Jobsites with hard-to-access areas and other challenges, such as no internet access or Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) availability, post a potentially significant problem. The key is to avoid and prepare for those challenges before they become time-consuming and costly. Technologies such as digital terrain modeling, 3D machine control, laser scanning, robotic total stations, advanced GNSS rovers, and underground detection solutions enable teams to work quicker and more safely.
5. SAFEGUARD VALUABLE RESOURCES
Rising material costs are one of the most significant threats to a contractor’s bottom line. Coupled with inflation and the ongoing labor shortage, contractors don’t have much wiggle room for unexpected cost increases.
Easy-to-use software solutions can help contractors expedite their estimates and ensure their accuracy. It also allows them to monitor the use of construction materials throughout the project.
6. DATA MANAGEMENT
Believe it or not, data is the most powerful tool on the jobsite today. Used correctly, it can help contractors inform decisions and drive productivity while keeping workers safe and safeguarding resources.
7. CAPTURE AS-BUILT INFO
Before breaking ground, it’s important to establish milestones to track throughout the project. Before the widespread use of technology, collecting and reporting data was cumbersome.However, digital as-builts have endless potential to enhance safety throughout the project and save time and money by ensuring projects are built according to specifications.
8. ENSURE TEAM PREPARATION
Combatting the ongoing labor shortage requires attracting younger workers and upskilling current ones. Both will complement the move toward a technology-centric jobsite.
Using digital technology throughout the project lengthens the asset’s lifespan. Reality capture technology may be used to document an asset throughout its construction to create a digital twin of the asset, which can be used as a baseline for predictive maintenance.
GET PROJECT READY
Ultimately, technology is about making sure the team is prepared for whatever challenges arise. It can help speed up workflow, avert costly mistakes and keep a project’s momentum moving in the right direction.
If efficiency is critical to mission success, ensuring that project stakeholders are aligned at every step of the process is the key to making that happen. With that in mind, are you ready to find out what technology solutions your project needs?
About the Author:
Matt Desmond is president of Agtek and vice president of heavy construction, Construction Management Solution at Hexagon. For more, visit heavyconstruction.hexagon.com. Connect with Matt on LinkedIn.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2022
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