Big Data For Contracting: Everything You Need To Know

Contracting's future is all about big data. Here's how big data for contracting plays a role in the industry, both now and as it continues to grow.

June 26, 2019
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The contracting industry is commonly viewed as an economy of hard workers and deal makers who mostly fall under a stereotype opposite to that of a techie or computer nerd. When thinking of construction, people seem to have this image of a rugged man in boots hauling mounds of supplies to a job site in a dirty pickup truck. While such characterizations are still fairly accurate for some of the employees in the industry, there’s always been an underlying layer of technical work that contractors have to perform, particularly during the planning phase of a project. Enter big data for contracting. With analytical software and sensor capabilities reaching new heights and big data having a growing impact on every industry, it’s not surprising that contractors are becoming increasingly data-savvy in their daily operations as well. More specifically, here’s a list of ways big data for contracting is quickly becoming an integral aspect in the management of contracting companies.

Determining Provisional Requirements Using Big Data

Contractors have traditionally used math, advanced diagrams, and other traditional tools and skill sets to calculate accurate estimates for costs, materials, and project requirements. Progressive contractors who manage large projects are becoming more reliant on machine usage data and geolocational logistics to create highly precise building plans that take every aspect of the job into consideration in advance. With the assistance of large data sets, contractors are able to better predict and accommodate the specific building and maintenance needs of upcoming and ongoing projects. Specialists in tailored electrician insurance at Next Insurance recommend having relevant data ready when speaking to an insurance agent to ensure that an adequate amount of coverage is obtained. Such guidance can help contractors create custom equipment leasing plans and site setup strategies, while also providing a basis for provisioning additional requirements such as insurance coverage needs.

Big Data’s Effect on Project Design

In addition to using localized data within architectural and design software, contractors are also compiling external data related to weather, surrounding business activities, community statistics, and traffic patterns to formulate ideal project schedules and agendas. Perhaps most importantly, contractors are analyzing big data for contracting to draw conclusions related to risk assessment and mitigation. By taking historical data sets into account, a contractor can identify patterns, consider probabilities, and plan accordingly to effectively reduce the likelihood of encountering potentially negative outcomes.

Using Statistical Analysis to Refine and Improve Job Processes

Companies are using sensor data from equipment, buildings, surveillance systems, bridges, traffic lights, and an array of other sources to continually optimize procedural operations. With the ability to hone in on virtually any kind of information to arrive at a solution, contractors are cutting costs, improving efficiency, and providing higher quality work than ever before. As technology makes the push towards the advent of the first general artificial intelligence (AI) – software that can “think for itself” – and with focused AI already being widely used, contractors may soon be able to able to completely automate project planning processes that would’ve previously required the input of a qualified engineer. We’re still in the stage of having to compile and analyze big data manually, inferring what we can using the aid of credentialed data analysts and other professionals, but many software developers have begun creating programs designed to streamline and automate tasks for contractors. The implementation of such futuristic uses for big data could eventually limit the need for extensive efforts from human employees.

Devising Better Building Information Modeling Systems

Business information modeling (BIM) — the practice of creating digital schematics and representations of the functional and physical characteristics of a building – is a form of intelligent 3D modeling that architects, construction companies, and demolition providers rely on when making project planning and management decisions. This information is used to help service providers and contractors construct and maintain the building more effectively throughout its lifecycle. Big data analysis is leading to the development of BIM systems that take an overwhelming number of factors into consideration, allowing for greater accuracy and more useful conclusions for contractors involved in the construction, landscaping, civil engineering, maintenance, and demolition of large-scale structures or complexes.

The Role of Analytics in Next Generation Contracting Techniques

As new sensors and data collection methods are invented and installed each year, we can expect to see the reach of big data stretch into every facet of everyday life. This data may seem unrelated and irrelevant to the untrained eye, but when fed into advanced software algorithms and assessed by experienced analysts, it becomes the ultimate assistant in devising an optimal blueprint and schedule. With the rapid evolution of technology causing construction projects to become increasingly advanced and demanding, only the most precise and proficient contractors will be able to compete in the decades to come. To remain present in that competition, contractors will need to have a thorough understanding of big data and how it can be used to improve the quality of their services and finished work.