Hannah Cheshire | Head of Marketing
There’s no doubt that the construction industry has been slow to digitise, but these days we’re seeing a wave of new technological advances within the industry.
These leaps in technology are aimed at improving quality, health and safety, compliance, efficiency, health and safety, productivity, and, of course, the bottom line.
3D & Virtual Reality
Due to the advancements we’ve already touched upon, the companies that have embraced the digital age, now find themselves at the very forefront of the industry.
One prominent example is that of 3D printing, which one in ten construction companies are now using regularly. Many professionals in the industry, from architects and site planners to project managers and contractors are all reaping the rewards of being able to create three-dimensional models from a CAD drawing at the mere click of a mouse.
Another development that is also beginning to gain traction in the industry is the adoption of virtual reality.
Virtual reality builds a complete walk-through simulation which allows a user to visualise a building, room or other structure. This will enable professionals to spot any flaws and allow for adjustments to the overall structure. It can also allow customers, owners, planners and contractors to view the proposed project in its entirety before it is built.
Construction in the UK makes up 7% of the economy, which works out at about £110 billion every year. With the ever-increasing population and need for homes and infrastructure to accommodate a growing number of people, this trend will only continue.
It’s because of this expansion that businesses have grown to understand the importance of communication and sharing information effectively, not only within the organisation itself but also with their customers and partners. Traditionally construction has never been associated with those traits until now.
The use of web and audio conferencing has become part and parcel of daily routine for many, and the use of mobile devices onsite helps to monitor employee working hours, thereby limiting the need for further manual process. This will also enable those onsite to access plans, schedules and any other important documentation they may need to access from the building site, but we’ll cover that in more detail in the point below.
With cloud computing emerging as the preferential option for many business activities across the globe, many construction companies are also enhancing their business management and operations with a cloud environment.
These days, pretty much all mobile devices are capable of using cloud technology, at any time in any place.
Because of this, we’ve seen a gradual increase in construction firms shedding their costly IT infrastructures, to instead access the power of cloud servers.
The cloud also allows contractors the chance to work from the same sets of data. This means projects are run with real-time, accurate data while also eliminating the mistakes from manual tasks; saving time and money while providing a higher degree of flexibility, which improves profitability and productivity.
When key project participants are widely dispersed, it can make a project far more complicated, which is why team collaboration is so important.
Having access to the same sets of data means data it be shared, inventory tracked, and logistics managed more efficiently.
BIM (Building Information Modelling)
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is another construction tech trend which has grown in popularity over recent years. BIM is used to produce a computer representation of a project, including roads, buildings and utilities.
These models can be utilised by engineers and architects to inspect how building materials may hold up over time. These models can then be shared throughout project members to deliver a virtual sandbox, which the team can use to suggest any range of changes.
BIM is far more than just 3D modelling; it can also include 4D, 5D and 6D. It can also bring numerous direct benefits to a construction company itself, such as simplifying resource management, encouraging in-depth collaboration and keeping people connected throughout the project.
Along with increased cooperation, BIM can also minimise construction costs by ensuring a faster and safer construction process.
Taking Financials Online
By moving from a manual invoicing process to a digitised one, companies in the construction sector stand to save thousands of pounds every year, as a digital process can reduce invoice handling costs by 50%.
Once digital payments are rolled out within a business, everyone can enjoy the benefits. Electronic invoicing increases accuracy, efficiency and it will free up a great deal of time for the accounts team, while simultaneously providing data sets which can be used to reduce spend.
This can also help to improve internal controls, reducing the potential for fraudulent behaviour and human-error.
From your supplier’s point of view, they will have full visibility of the invoice through whatever software is chosen. This means they can check the status of an invoice, all the way from delivery to the final payment, meaning they no longer need to chase for payment, which saves time on both sides.
This can also strengthen the transparency of the relationships you have along your supply chain since you no longer have to deal with any late payments.
The truth is, if a business within the construction industry resists the tides of change, there’s a good chance it could be impacting their bottom line.
For any business to thrive, it must be adequately prepared with modern tools and technology that increases efficiency, establishes accountability, reduces uncertainty, and solidifies current relationships.
Productivity and late payments are two of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry, and if a company is to thrive, they will need to look ahead to embrace the changes before them.
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