How The Construction Industry Is Leveraging Big Data

Augmented reality in construction industry concept application for measuring dimension of steel structure.
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Big data is making its way into virtually every industry – and that includes construction. From safety to productivity and streamlining business processes, the construction industry is leveraging big data to improve the industry.

Big Data is Disrupting the Construction Industry in a Profound Way

The construction industry is one of the sectors of the economy that you wouldn’t expect to be touched heavily by digital technology. The same equipment that is used to build and renovate new structures has been around for decades. However, big data is having a significant impact on the industry.

Bernard Marr highlighted some of these changes. He points out that waste and remedial work account for 35% of all expenses. Since big data can help reduce these costs, it can help boost profit margins of construction companies around the world.

Here are some of the top changes that big data has created for the construction industry.

To Improve Productivity

One way the construction industry is using big data is to improve productivity. Let’s say that a supervisor wants to make the job site more efficient. One way to do that is to eliminate the time wasted moving around the construction site to retrieve equipment, materials and tools. Wearables, sensors and smartphones can be used to track how things are moving about the construction site.

Once enough data is collected, the supervisor can analyze how workers move and interact with the site. That analyzation can help the supervisor develop solutions to reorganize the site to make tools and materials more accessible to workers. The reorganization will reduce downtime and allow workers to get the job done more quickly.

Creating Accurate Budget Estimates

Big data provides construction companies with knowledge that can be used to improve planning. Better planning means more accurate budget estimates and a better understanding of timelines and costs.

Data analyzation can also mean more insight that can be valuable to managers and contractors.

Safety Management

Safety management is of the utmost importance on construction sites, and big data is helping in this area, too. Construction companies are using data to improve their best work practices.

Analyzing the data available to them, construction companies can predict the risk of future accidents. Companies can make changes ahead of time to eliminate safety risks, particularly for temporary employees and contract workers. These workers are often the weak links in company safety training programs.

So-called “red flag prediction software” identifies workplace environments, materials, equipment, processes and practices that may put workers at risk of injury.

Reducing Project Risks

Nothing is ever predictable in the construction industry. There are many variables that are completely out of managers’ and workers’ control, such as weather conditions, material quality and accidents.

Simulation can be used to project risks and help construction companies better mitigate them. Better risk mitigation leads to a reduced chance of accidents and injuries on the job. A report by CMIC shows that it can play a crucial role in risk management.

Making Better Business Decisions

Big data can also be used to help construction companies make better business decisions. The right data tools and the right people can bring new and better insight to projects. It also means that construction companies can make more information-driven decisions.

Big data has also played an integral role in the development of project management software. Programs that offer real-time project management allow contractors and managers to make quicker decisions and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Keep Everyone Connected

Thanks to the Internet and big data, managers, contractors and other team members can stay connected at all times – no matter where they are in the world. Projects can be updated in real-time. Virtual meeting rooms allow everyone to catch up at any time and no matter where everyone is located. People can also work remotely and stay up-to-date on the project. Problems can be resolved as soon as they are identified thanks to the real-time nature of these programs.

Big Data is the Key to Increasing the ROI of the Construction Industry

Big data is creating significant changes in the construction industry. It is key to improving productivity, aiding with risk management and maximizing ROI.

Andrej is also a dedicated writer and digital evangelist. He is pursuing an ongoing mission to share the benefits of his years of hard-won expertise with business leaders and marketing professionals everywhere. He is a contributor to a wide range of technology-focused publications, where he may be found discussing everything from neural networks and natural language processing to the latest in smart home IoT devices. If there's a new and exciting technology, there's a good chance Andrej is writing about it somewhere out there.