Decision Support on Construction Projects
On the eighteenth-century battlefield, communication was done via trumpet, flag, courier, and on horseback. Decisions were often made with outdated or incomplete information. In modern warfare, satellite communications give commanders a 360-degree view of the battlefield with instantaneous information. It’s hard to imagine fighting a war without this level of communication.
In many ways, informed decision making on the construction site has been limited to outdated communication like paper blueprints and telephones. While the evolution in war fighting communication took more than a century to evolve, in the construction space it’s happening much more rapidly. The use of digital blueprints in the form of building information models, real-time progress tracking using LIDAR scanning, and cloud-based ERP systems that track change orders are empowering better decision making.
Successful construction projects require making sound decisions from pre-construction through completion based on accurate, real-time data. Capturing accurate data starts with construction site connectivity and a robust network extending your technology infrastructure across the field of work.
The number of apps being used across construction sites is growing rapidly. From building information modelling (BIM) and all its applications to geo-fencing, technology is helping stakeholders better collaborate no matter where they are. Data capture comes from IoT-connected equipment, drones, and field workers – all of which improves data-driven decision making.
Construction Site Connectivity Challenges
With owners, general contractors, and trade subcontractors all operating at varying levels of digital maturity, communication challenges persist on most jobsites. Properly managed jobsite connectivity solutions can address such challenges as:
- Unreliable network equipment on the jobsite. Unreliable connectivity can limit communication between project manager and field teams, especially on larger jobsites that span multiple acres of land or rise vertically.
- Poor connectivity between headquarters and the jobsite. Project managers need accurate data on construction progress, schedule delays, and change orders. Finance teams need to connect with jobsites to capture cost inputs like labor and building material. Design teams/architects need to stay updated in case the build is going differently than planned. Estimators need connectivity to be able to prepare cost estimates, manage and coordinate projects, and assemble expenditure statements regularly to assess whether the project is on course.
- Harsh construction environments are rough on network equipment. Specially fabricated, ruggedized hardware can be used on the jobsite to ensure reliable connectivity.
- Time-sensitive trailer setups. Often, you’ll want the jobsite connection in place before work begins so that initial construction site data can be collected. Setting up a permanent network can provide stability but may take a long time to put in place. When time is of the essence, temporary solutions can bridge the gap and offer jobsite connectivity so that field teams can work more effectively.
- Network Security. A properly managed jobsite connectivity solution will include multiple SSIDs and the use of firewalls to keep information secure.
- Scalability. Construction site connectivity solutions need to grow as the jobsite grows. A good solution accounts for moving trailers or equipment, walls going up, and floors being added.
Conclusion: Better Decisions Through Better Connectivity
Successful construction projects require making sound decisions from pre-construction and design through completion. When you add in all the contributors like owners, architects, estimators, contractors, and subcontractors, construction project management communication can be a difficult task. Construction sites are complex and always evolving. Thus, the access to accurate and up-to-date information supports design teams and architects during pre-construction and in turn provides estimators with information to provide accurate cost projections. Project managers require accurate data to ensure that projects are delivered on time and are profitable.
Capturing accurate data starts with construction site connectivity that extends your technology infrastructure across the field of work. Project management, financial updates, change order management, and scheduling data must all be accurately captured to make sound decisions.