Using Big Data to Boost Construction Productivity
November 20, 2019

There’s a lot of talk in the industry about why businesses should leverage big data, but what’s the best way to approach the process?


What is Big Data?

You’ve seen it everywhere – big data is a big buzzword in the construction industry (among others). But what is it?

Big data refers to massive data sets that require powerful programs to analyze the information in order to reveal patterns and trends.

How is Big Data Used in Construction?

According to Construction Executive, big data has tremendous opportunities for construction. “…as much as 35 percent of the total cost on a construction project goes to material waste and remedial work…” meaning big data can reduce this waste by revealing areas to improve efficiency.

The Balance Small Business suggests that big data can alleviate many of the main complaints construction companies have, including:

  • Updated financial information
  • Updated project information
  • Warnings of issues
  • More accurate forecasting
  • Real-time analytics to resolve on-site issues

Currently, construction companies leverage their data insights to improve budgeting, manage resources, track time, and make better real-time decisions.

Benefits of Big Data

Big data is useful when looking to reduce cost and boost efficiency. It:

  • Aids in decision making by clearly revealing which parts of the project need priority
  • Benefits planning by taking previous strategies, time to complete tasks, and areas of waste and summarizing them into meaningful insights
  • Assists in resolving issues by gathering common problems from previous jobs
  • Reduces risk by revealing which parts of the job tend to pose the most danger

So how does a business go about implementing big data?

Digitize Your Data

For starters, big data is a great tool… when you have the data to mine. It takes a large volume of data to glean valuable insights and to do that, you have to have the data digitized.

How long have you been digitizing? If not long, you’ll want to start creating a backlog of data for your business from the technological assets you use. We’re in the digital age, and if your construction company hasn’t started implementing tech, you’re already behind.

If your data isn’t digitized, it has no value for providing insights.

Centralize Your Data

It’s important to centralize the data where data programs can compile and create insights. And more importantly, once centralized, back up your data to multiple locations so that if something happens, you have more than one place to rely on.

Things to store and track:

  • Wearables
  • GPS
  • Timesheets
  • Processes
  • Delays
  • Payments
  • BIM and CAD
  • Estimates
  • Schedules


Simply collecting data is not enough. You need to take the compiled data and examine it for insights. There are a few ways to do this: manually, hiring an analyst, or leveraging AI capabilities.

If you’re looking to go the automated route, programs like InfoSys Nia, Infrrd, Ayasdi (and more), do the heavy analysis for you. To get the most from your data, you need to be able to read and understand the information it provides. Get a data translator on your team ASAP.


Once you understand the value of your data and the insights it provides, your team needs to generate actionable insights to boost productivity, reduce your costs, mitigate risks, and improve efficiencies. Big data is all about creating a lean model of business that boosts the bottom line.

Which Big Data Phase Are You In?

Every business can benefit from big data, from running leaner operations to improving efficiency. Think about how your business can ensure a swift, smooth transition into big data, and share with us on social media!

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