No part of a construction project is done in isolation. On the contrary, each project has many moving parts that come together in the end. But because of the increasing complexity of modern construction projects, one small mistake can set back the entire construction process. A wrong piece of information can create a true snowball effect and cost your company time, money, and workers’ motivation.
One way to prevent that from happening, which more and more construction managers are introducing to their teams, is connected construction. In general, connected construction, as its name suggests, connects teams across all parts of a project (even across industries). The companies who are already on board with connected construction report a boost in productivity and employee morale.
Jim Stephen is an Account Executive for Construction Solutions at Microsol Resources, an autodesk reseller. He will teach you the basics of connected construction and its place in the AEC industry.
What Is Connected Construction?
We can think of connected construction as a network that provides a continuous flow of data and analytics. It connects job sites, machines, and workers, which makes everyone’s job easier and improves productivity. By integrating workflows, you make sure that all stakeholders have the visibility they need to work together more efficiently. And when all the stakeholders are connected, there are no delays, and errors are much less likely to happen.
In the simplest terms possible, connected construction enables open communication between all the teams working on one project. It helps you to make sure that everyone has the information they need when they need it, which leads to more efficient project management.
Some of the key options that connected construction offers are:
- data analytics
- real-time project visibility
- dynamic work planning
- worker safety
Benefits of Using Connected Construction
1. Real-time Updates That Minimize Risks
This might be the greatest benefit of connected construction. With connected construction, you have one source of information for the entire project, and all the complex data needed for construction in one place. That means that if one part of the team realizes they made a mistake and makes a change, that change will appear everywhere. So, everyone has updated, relevant information at all times, which prevents further mistakes. This can also make the construction process much faster, as there are no delays to get everyone up to date on the latest adjustments.
2. Interoperability of the Systems
Connected construction also includes software that works well with other programs. That means that information is shared automatically across different programs, which in turn helps avoid the duplication of one and the same task. So instead of transferring information from one system to another, it’s all updated at once.
3. Connected Assets
With modern sensors becoming smaller and smarter, they can be put almost anywhere across the construction site. Using sensors, companies can get information about soil conditions, temperature, humidity, etc. That way, they save time and money, as obtaining such data would otherwise require weeks and a team of professionals. What’s more, having all that information available at a couple of clicks makes it easier to prevent accidents like fire or water damage.
4. Worker Safety
At any construction site, the health and safety of workers are a priority. And connected construction is a great way to reduce workplace hazards and make sure no accidents happen onsite. Construction managers and operators can plan work and identify potential risks through real-time visuals. That way, they can take safety measures as soon as they think there is a potential danger on the construction site.
How Connected Construction Will Shape the Future of AEC Industry
AEC is the industry that has always been influenced and improved by technological advancements. With connected construction, that is more true than ever. So, using connected construction in AEC could transform the industry by introducing, for the first time ever, a comprehensive view of ongoing projects.
And with a full view of a project in progress, a company can make the best of its time and resources. Putting that into numbers means that a company could reduce engineering hours by 10‒30%, build costs by 5‒10%, and operating costs by 10‒20%. Those are pretty incredible numbers, which in the long haul mean more time and money for additional projects and company growth.
Connected construction could (and will) improve how AEC companies deliver projects, allowing them to imagine, create, and build structures that were unimaginable just a decade ago.
Where to Begin With Connected Construction
With so many advantages to it, it’s hard to imagine the future of AEC without connected construction. When you consider that teamwork is crucial in these industries, it becomes clear that smooth communication and transfer of data are necessary for the projects of the future.
So, make sure your team has the right tools for their next big project. But if you’re not sure where to start, you can’t go wrong with Autodesk Construction Cloud. A priority of this software is to reduce time and increase clarity. What's more, it’s easy to use which means your team will get on board with it right away.
If you want to get more work and deliver better projects more quickly, you need smart, innovative solutions. And connected construction is a solution that has the potential to shape the future of the AEC industry. It can help your company every step of the way — from planning a project to its execution. Once you introduce connected construction to your team, it will be hard to imagine you’ve ever worked differently.
So, waste no time — with technology such as connected construction, there’s really no excuse for that!
Jim Stephen is an Account Executive for Construction Solutions at Microsol Resources based in New York. He is focused on delivering the Autodesk Construction Cloud portfolio to help general contractors, subcontractors, and construction management firms across the U.S. help refine their workflows, reduce risks, and maximize their profit margins. He has over five years of experience delivering software solutions to international and award-winning architecture, engineering and construction firms. He is an avid reader, a lifelong learner, and is passionate about the built environments.