Is your jobsite ready to support digital workflows?
April 12, 2022
Construction site Wi-Fi solution for digital workflows.

Why are Project Owners leading the way in engaging digital workflows?

Digital workflows are taking root across the construction industry and impacting the entire project lifecycle from design through construction. In the pre-construction arena, the Bid/Procurement, Design Review, Project Intake, Estimating, and Permitting processes are improved. During construction, the RFI, Field Inspection, Progress Tracking, Change Order, and Project Closeout workflows benefit from online tools. Improvements in these workflows benefit project owners with both their internal business processes as well as in communication with general contractors. 

With so much to gain, it’s no surprise that project owners are leading the adoption of digital workflows. If you follow the money, it’s easy to see that greater transparency and improved project delivery directly impact the bottom line.

In a recent Dodge Data SmartMarket Brief on Connected Construction: The Owners’ Perspective, 69% of project owners contractually require the use of digital documentation. 

In their SmartMarket Brief – Connected Construction: The Owners’ Perspective, Dodge Data and Analytics found that 54% of owners engaged in technology to improve workflows as compared with 42% of designers and contractors.

Project Owners cite these top benefits in adopting digital workflows:

  • Increased efficiency of internal processes
  • More informed decision making
  • On-time project delivery

The same Dodge Data Brief reported 69% of project owners stated that they contractually require the use of digital documentation. While the benefits from digital workflows are recognized by most project owners, a commonly overlooked issue is ensuring reliable construction Wi-Fi access to fully enable these digital tools. This is an important consideration for jobsites to support digital workflows and is often addressed with little advance planning. This can leave the owner and the general contractor wondering who will be responsible for the jobsite network, and asking the question, “what does the jobsite require to support digital workflows?”

Ensuring your jobsite is ready (3 things to consider in construction site Wi-Fi solutions).

With the emphasis on using cloud-based tools to manage projects, owners need to plan for construction Wi-Fi to ensure that jobsites are ready to support digital workflows. Wi-Fi networks need to expand beyond the trailer so that field teams can upload data to apps anywhere on the jobsite. For example, when high-rise jobsites grow vertically or when renewable energy and data center projects expand over many acres, networks must also scale. Basic considerations for equipment, network setup, security, and management will help shape budgets. For more insights, read our article 4 Items to Consider when Budgeting for Construction Wi-Fi Solutions. In short, owners who contractually require the use of digital workflows on their projects need to address the following issues:

  • Who will set up and manage the network?
  • What equipment is needed?
  • Is there a “Plan B” for hard-to-reach and remote sites?

In the same way that digitizing workflows improves communication, advance planning on who will be responsible for the management of construction site Wi-Fi networks will improve the relationship between owners and contractors. 

Conclusions: Owners who contractually require digital workflows need to ensure their jobsites are ready for them.

Project owners who invest in technology to digitize workflows realize many benefits, including improved project outcomes for the quality of construction and faster project delivery. Receiving more collaboration in pre-construction supports better results from a design/build approach. During construction, improving the way change orders are managed and how project status gets tracked benefit the bottom line. However, in order to realize these savings, one important consideration is ensuring that jobsites have adequate internet coverage. This isn’t always as easy as it seems because jobsites represent a chaotic, continually evolving environment. For example, running underground conduit to bring fiber to the trailer isn’t practical when subsequent excavation is planned. 

While the benefits from digital workflows are recognized by most project owners, a commonly overlooked issue is ensuring a reliable construction site Wi-Fi solution.

Advanced planning between owners and their general contractor partners will help ensure that jobsites are ready to support digital workflows. Allocating adequate resources and budgets are mission critical to help realize the ROI of investing in technology. After all, if it doesn’t work on the jobsite…it doesn’t work at all. For more reading on how the construction industry is embracing cloud-based software and best practices in jobsite connectivity, visit the ConstructEdge Resource Center.