It’s time to fix information management in construction
Regardless of asset type, there are three key challenges when managing information across construction projects:
- High fragmentation: Beyond the client, architect and main contractor, projects often involve hundreds of subcontractors with specialised expertise. As the scope of the project increases, coordination among parties becomes increasingly challenging, and decision-making slows.
- Poor communication: With so many different parties in the field and the office, it is often difficult to relay information. Miscommunication and poor project data accounts for 48% of all rework on U.S. construction job sites, costing the industry over $31 billion annually, as mentioned by FMI research.
- Lack of data transparency: Manual data collection and data entry are still common on construction sites. On top of being laborious and error-prone, real-time data is limited, so decision-making is often based on outdated information.
The cost of poor information management (for the United States):
- Construction workers lose almost two full working days each week solving avoidable issues and searching for project information ($177.5 billion a year).
- Almost half of all rework is due to poor communication among project stakeholders and inaccurate project information.
- FMI estimates poor communication represents a potential cost to the U.S. construction industry of $17 billion a year, and inaccurate project data represents a cost of $14.3 billion, collectively accounting for a potential cost of $31.3 billion annually.
- Workers are not taking full advantage of mobile devices and IT investments. The expectation is that technology will improve data management and increase productivity over the coming years.
How do we get construction information under control?
We have seen a proliferation of tools to address various problems in the industry, but tools won’t be enough. The construction industry is worth $11.6 trillion, with a lot of digital sceptics. People are at the heart of the industry, and a collective shift in mindset is required to unlock the benefits of information buried in projects.
Additionally, 80-90% of information on construction projects is unstructured and often in text-based formats, such as contracts, diaries or emails. Existing tools also have some ground to make up to close the gap. We cannot expect site teams to re-invent themselves to make information more structured and accurate. Instead, we need an ecosystem of tools to bridge the divide to make relevant information accessible when required.
Emerging construction information management technologies
There is an ecosystem forming around solving the industries biggest challenges
Regardless of your tool suite, you will need a carefully planned and executed change management strategy to solve information management. It will be hard and painful, but the rewards are great for those who dare to jump in so don’t be afraid of the challenge. Starting small can help you de-risk change early and validate whether a tool could be a fit. Many organisations are still procuring tools like enterprise solutions when in reality, many start-ups and organisations are willing to walk the path with you to solve the industry’s challenges because the possible rewards will benefit everyone in the supply chain.
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