Turning a construction boom into profitable projects has never been more difficult.
With federal infrastructure investment increasing and a housing supply shortage at the forefront of development priorities, the construction industry is flush with projects. However, turning these opportunities into profit has become difficult due to rising material costs, supply chain issues, and a shortage in skilled labor. These factors can lead to costly disputes that eat away at profits and can even lead to a loss on completed projects. GC’s and owners alike are turning to construction site WI-Fi solutions to help leverage digital tools that help mitigate disputes.
In a recent report from HKA, the world’s leading construction claims and dispute resolution firm, the leading causes for project disputes include:
- Change in project scope
- Poor oversight of subcontractors and suppliers and/or their intermediaries
- Deficiencies in workmanship
- Incomplete project designs
- Delays in issuing critical design information
- Incorrect project design
To address these challenges, the industry has turned to technology. The primary focus is on improving communication between project owners, project executives, subcontractors, designers, and field teams. There are a variety of products available for each stage in the construction process, from design to construction. And with new projects commissioning all the time, there is a dearth of technology available to aid in project planning and documentation. The common thread for each of these tools is their dependency on a strong construction site Wi-Fi solution to help capture and share data.
5 Tech tools to help reduce project disputes.
The tools to help mitigate project disputes range in scope from tracking valuable equipment on the jobsite to providing security with web-enabled video cameras and performing remote walk-throughs using drones. Planning construction site Wi-Fi solutions to support these tech tools is an important consideration for contractors, company IT, and project teams. In the following, we discuss 5 ways that your jobsite network can help reduce project disputes.
Using private LTE networks to track valuable equipment on the jobsite.
Private LTE networks are privately-owned cellular networks made of multiple components, including radio hardware (both indoors and outdoors), mobile core software, SIM cards, and a network orchestration software that can be configured to support a jobsite’s specific requirements.
In addition to reliability, speed, and security, a private cellular network can support radio frequency identification (RFID) and IoT for tools, equipment, materials, hard hats, name badges, and more to track worker or asset movement. This provides visibility on project progress, the location of building materials, and important safety equipment.
Data is stored on an RFID tag, with a unique Electronic Asset Code (EAC), and is attached to an asset. An RFID reader is connected wirelessly to the antenna and receives the data that is stored on the RFID tag. Hosting this data on a private cellular jobsite network provides documentation that is valuable evidence in the event of a dispute. More importantly, the private network allows field workers to be connected throughout the field of work with no restrictions of power or the limitations of a Wi-Fi signal. This connectivity with mobility allows for real-time data flow and live communication.
Monitoring conditions through construction site Wi-Fi solutions.
Documenting weather conditions, construction progress, and increasing jobsite security provides valuable evidence when contract disputes arise. Web-enabled video cameras have long been a staple of security, but they also help project managers view projects remotely to track progress and further automate documentation by sending routine reports on jobsite conditions. For example, if a dispute arises over progress, video data could document if inclement weather shortened working hours.
Using clash detection to prevent subcontractor disputes.
Tracking the correct installation of structural and mechanical construction has perhaps the greatest potential to mitigate financial disputes. Digital twin technology and design review using BIM, also known as clash detection, can head off potential conflict. Capturing as-built construction for comparison against the building information model (BIM) gives all parties the ability to track projects digitally and identify potential conflicts between different trades, space concerns, and deviations as they occur in real-time. Often, providing a downstream trade contractor with advance notice to the impact on building plans is enough to prevent a major dispute.
Extending construction site Wi-Fi through the field of work to support drone technology.
Drones allow contractors and owners to monitor jobsites remotely; thus reducing travel costs and providing for putting eyes on the project with greater frequency. This means that inspections can happen in real-time so deviations can be flagged and addressed while field teams are still on the jobsite.
One of the challenges is getting data from drone camera footage connected to the jobsite network. This is most often problematic when jobsites sprawl across large areas. An important part of the construction site Wi-Fi solution is ensuring that the network extends across the field of work. Custom connectivity kits built with solar power and routers can create a mesh network with reliable dedicated coverage. The investment in extending jobsite networks throughout the field of work has an immediate payback in greater project visibility and reduces the risk of disputes between owners and contractors.
Improving project documentation with secure document storage.
Claims that have the best documentation tend to be the most successful. Securely storing documentation is an important tool to help keep project teams organized and ensure that owners have access to the information they need. Good data hygiene is important, and all parties should be reminded of their responsibility in maintaining data. This gets much easier when data can be uploaded or downloaded from any location on the project and is another advantage of investing in a solid Wi-Fi network on the construction site.
Financial statements, job cost reports, correspondence, blueprints, receipts, proposals, invoices, subcontracts, and change orders should all be maintained for at least three years after a project has been completed. Beyond what a contract stipulates, access to the right documentation can mean the difference between being able to prove a claim or defend against one.
ConstructEdge is an innovative technology services company that provides real-time data and live communications that enhance safety and productivity for the jobsite. To learn more about the construction site Wi-Fi solutions we offer, visit this page.