Contractor

Avoiding the disconnected jobsite

The future of the construction industry is not only dependent on developments in large construction equipment but also digital technologies. By James French, Construction Industry Specialist, Teletrac Navman.

This is a theme that shone through in the recently released technology section of the Construction Industry Survey 2018, conducted by Teletrac Navman and CCNZ.

The aim of this section was to uncover the types of technologies that construction firms are using, and understand how and what they are measuring to gain a holistic view of their jobsites.

Top of the charts

Nine out of ten businesses (89 percent) are using some type of jobsite and measurement technology – and many are combining several on-site technologies. The top three in use are GPS-based fleet management/telematics, plant, machine and asset monitoring, and project performance and management tools.

Most businesses are also seriously investigating new technologies. Integrated mobile technologies, such as smartphone-based apps are one of the hottest tech areas. The key benefit with mobile apps, is that much of the information is collected on-site and in real time – and not recorded after the fact.

Moving paperwork such as forms and checklists, to electronic format is one of the easiest ways to boost productivity, which results in faster information transfer, more accurate info (no messy handwriting), and collation of information such as GPS location data, signatures, images, and timestamps.

Around one in four large businesses are investigating Building Information Modelling and drones. Data analytics and predictive analytics also featured, with one in five large businesses looking at predictive analytics.

The technology value gap

There’s no doubt that the construction industry is fast adopting an array of technology; however, only one in 10 businesses (nine percent) feel they are getting the full value from the jobsite and measurement technology they use.

The three major obstacles to reaching the full value of these technologies are staff education, systems integration, and staff uptake. Well over half (59 percent) of respondents say they would get more value if the staff better understood the capabilities of the technology.

A similar number (57 percent) would get more value if the technology was better integrated with other systems, followed by those saying they would if more staff used the technology (46 percent).

This opens up an opportunity for businesses who can bridge that value gap to make sure they are getting maximum business value from the technology on site and the vast amounts of data that is being fed back through asset monitoring, mobile technology, drones, laser scanners and wearable technology such as Radio Frequency Identification RFID tags.

Chief technology officer

Large amounts of data that you can mine from jobsite monitoring technology is just white noise if you can’t interpret and action it.

This is where a Chief Technology Officer role can help construction businesses make sound, data-based business decisions. Job site and measurement technology can play a large part in understanding the total cost of a project and communicating this to clients. Over time firms can develop rich historical data, build accurately priced proposals and stay on track during the project.

Many roles, such as your fleet and assets manager, are already working with real-time site data, but businesses run the risk of siloing these systems.

It’s time to maximise the technology through integrating the systems in place and finding the right human resource to interpret the data.

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