Digital Solutions Are Changing How Construction Teams Operate


By Evelyn Long

Technology is revolutionizing the operations strategies of construction teams around the world. The last couple of years have seen a rise in the popularity of digital transformation in construction, and for good reason. Digital solutions are helping construction companies reduce costs, improve safety, and work with unparalleled efficiency.

The benefits of technology are even creating a more collaborative work environment while allowing more freedom for many team members. Digital solutions are transforming the way that construction teams operate, work, and communicate. Here’s how.

Operational Efficiency

With the industry’s persistent staffing shortage, construction companies need to make the most of every employee they have by working as efficiently as possible. Digital solutions are the key to making this happen. In the past, construction has remained among the least digitized fields in the world. However, this is changing in the face of new challenges and benefits brought about by advancements in technology. Nowadays, civil engineers and architects are increasingly relying on a variety of specialized tools and software to enhance their work processes and deliver more accurate results. Among these tools are moment of inertia calculators, truss calculators, and energy modelling applications, which have significantly improved the design, analysis, and execution of construction projects. By incorporating these advanced digital resources, construction professionals can ensure that their projects are structurally sound, energy-efficient, and in compliance with modern building standards.

For example, choosing to digitize the office and move from paper documents to digital will allow employees to work more productively on the job. A secretary can locate any file they need with a few simple clicks. Payroll and employee time tracking are much more manageable and can even be automated.

In the field, a variety of digital solutions, such as AI, virtual reality, drones, and digitization, can help site workers do their jobs more efficiently. A subcontractor can easily pull up any digital equipment manual they need from a tablet. Maintenance is easier and more cost-effective with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on equipment and machinery.

Increased Financial Savings

An estimated 80% of construction projects go over budget every year. Financial constraints in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic are making it less acceptable for construction projects to exceed their budgets. Construction companies need a solution that will reduce costs without sacrificing work quality. Digital solutions are the key.

One of the largest areas where technology is helping construction companies operate more affordably is fleet maintenance and management. It’s no secret that construction equipment is expensive, whether it is owned or rented. Maintenance costs can pile up quickly, especially when something has a major breakdown. Digital solutions are helping construction companies prevent such costly repairs and operate their fleets more effectively.

For example, fleet management software is helping teams monitor equipment performance, save on fuel, and improve operator handling. All of these benefits help reduce costs by keeping construction teams closely connected with the gear they work with.

With fewer breakdowns, efficient routes, and optimized fuel consumption, equipment maintenance costs can drop significantly with the help of digital solutions like this. Even simple digitization measures like a paperless office will save thousands of dollars in the long term.

Better Safety Standards

Health and safety is top of mind in the construction industry, considering its ranking as one of the riskier fields for worker safety. Fortunately, digital solutions are improving site safety on countless projects, making a difference in risk management and employee safety tracking.

One of the best benefits of digital safety solutions is their sheer versatility. There is immense room for customization in construction safety technology, so individual construction teams can create a unique system that works for them.

For example, AI can be used to analyze a site for things like fall hazards quickly and in greater detail than a traditional risk assessment. AI can also be used to monitor site security feeds around the clock, keeping workers and project resources safe from theft or damage even when no one is on-site. Individual safety devices are becoming more popular as well.

There are numerous wearable construction safety devices available today, from a smartwatch that detects falls to smart work vests that detect environmental hazards. These devices help ensure that each individual employee is staying safe and make it easy for them to alert others in the event of an emergency.

Unlocked Opportunities For Collaboration

Digital solutions unlock a whole new level of connectivity and communication between construction team members, whether in the office or the field. Finding ways to use technology to improve collaboration is a great place to start for construction teams that are new to digitization.

Many teams have already been using digital solutions for things like video conferencing ever since the COVID-19 pandemic kept in-person meetings to a minimum. Even after work stoppages due to the pandemic subsided, construction teams are finding that digital solutions like this allow them to stay more connected with one another.

For example, a team of planners, designers, and stakeholders can have a meeting from completely different locations. A project manager can give a tour of the site without anyone else having to take the time and money to travel. Designers can share drawings and BIM projects with one another quickly and easily through the cloud.

This level of collaboration and unrivaled digital tools has made BIM software incredibly popular within the industry recently. Even something as simple as digital communication channels can help improve collaboration between the office and field teams.

Digitizing Construction for the Future

The construction industry is facing numerous challenges today, but digital solutions are quickly proving themselves the key to moving the industry forward. Digitization is changing operations for the better for countless construction teams, keeping them safer and allowing them to work smarter.

With incredible potential for collaboration and total control of budget optimization, teams all over the world are realizing the benefits technology has to offer. Digital solutions are moving the construction industry into an era where the building process is connected, collaborative, and cutting-edge.

About the Author

Evelyn Long is a construction writer and the founder of Renovated. Her work on construction training and management has been featured by the Building Performance Association, Training Journal and other industry publications.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.