A few months ago, The Economist referred to data as the oil of the modern times, underlining its immense importance for every aspect of society both on a professional and personal level.
It goes without saying that the construction industry is no exception to that. The advent of digital tools has enabled the generation, collection, and analysis of valuable bits of information which can play a substantial role in optimizing the sector as a whole.
Nevertheless, construction seems to have serious difficulties in making use of the compiled data at its full potential. The lack of digitalization is undoubtedly one of the main factors behind it.
Good news is that construction stakeholders have started realizing the true power that data holds for the entire industry. In the course of the last years, we have started to witness a more intense dialogue around data and the ways in which they can contribute to construction.
Taking that into account, we present below five essential reasons why data is construction’s most valuable resource:
1. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics is perceived by many in the industry as the Holy Grail of construction. This comes as no surprise if we take into account the remarkable possibilities that predictive analytics unlock for the sector.
First and foremost, this type of data can provide construction stakeholders with valuable project wisdom. For instance, predictive analytics could let construction managers know beforehand about the weather conditions in the project location and allow them to adjust their building program accordingly.
What is even greater, though, is the ability to use these precious bits of information on future projects. Replicating tasks or even entire projects can help decisively in accelerating the building process and contribute to significant cost and time savings.
Simply put, predictive analytics equals money.
2. The rising of an open data ecosystem
The emergence of an open and collaborative space where numerous, mainly small and medium, innovative construction technology players can digitally meet each other and exchange knowledge and expertise is gradually becoming reality.
This could signify that enterprises might have to take a step back and that a more democratized approach will be introduced in construction. But more important, it will enable the rising of a more data-driven industry where everyone is specialized on particular aspects of the building process and can play its role in boosting productivity and minimizing delays on the sector.
It doesn’t take much to understand that data is going to play a fundamental role in this effort. The big bet for the different construction tech innovators is to come up with a functional way of integrating their systems and processes. This would provide stakeholders with a complete overview of the ongoing and present project and would allow them to invest further in the collected feedback both in terms of budget and expertise.
3. Construction software
A data ecosystem is almost impossible to exist and thrive without some reliable digital tools in place. In the same sense, construction software solutions can’t go far without being able to collect and analyze properly substantial project data.
Good news is that construction software is considered by more and more stakeholders as an essential component of the project management process. That is because it can facilitate the progress of the numerous tasks in many distinct ways.
Either we are focusing on real-time collaboration or mobile field report and document management, there are many solid options in the market which would allow construction managers to take full control over their project.
But a digital tool is only as good as the data being fed to it. That being said, the importance of data is again of paramount importance for taking the most out of implementing construction software in your building project.
4. Dispute resolution
It is no exaggeration to say that disputes are one of the biggest sources of concern and pain for the industry. Construction projects are constantly becoming more and more complicated and as a result mistakes or misunderstandings around a task can emerge at any point. Especially if the progress of a project isn’t monitored as it should be.
This is where data can come to a project’s rescue again. The more data collected the easier it can become for the parties in dispute to shed light on the disagreement and come to a compromisation or find the side who is truly responsible for the generation of this dispute.
In other words, data with the help of a reliable digital tool can function as the objective third-party observer and settle any differences on and off-site.
On top of that, it can be the reason that this conflict doesn’t emerge at all in the first place. The more information each party has the easier it is to be fully aware of the project obligations and expectations.
5. Workforce revolution
Last but certainly not least, the workforce transformation that is on the way due to the arrival of data. Thanks to the rapid evolution and expansion of digital technologies, knowledge workers are anticipated to be the construction workers of tomorrow.
This vital paradigm shift provides the building sector with the unique opportunity of attracting a new type of tech-savvy workforce. Like that, the construction industry can be turned into a promising field for highly skilled professionals who are after a long-term ambitious career in a technology-related field.
Through this fresh and innovative profile, the sector can come one step closer in resolving the serious issue of skills shortage. With the help and beauty of data, a significant amount of newly-educated talent can be attracted in order to transform and automate the construction industry.
To sum up, it is clear that data holds a multi-level significance for the construction’s future. It can be the answer to a plethora of issues and can facilitate substantially the way we design, build and collaborate in the sector. With that in mind, it is safe to claim that the future of the construction industry will eventually be as bright as the quality of its data.
Anastasios Koutsogiannis is the Content Marketing Manager of GenieBelt, a real-time collaboration software and mobile app for construction.