If you had to think of a single most “offline” industry today, construction would probably the first word that comes to your mind. High-tech innovations are reserved for the IT sector and online marketing, not construction sites, right. Well, wrong!
The construction industry hadn’t changed much over the past half a century but today there is strive for innovation like never before. In fact, more and more digital tools are finding their way into construction sited and into construction companies’ daily operations. We have compiled a list of the 7 best digital tools that can help your construction business improve.
Keeping Track of Crew Members
One of the most tedious aspects of a construction company is keeping track of work hours of crew members. It goes without saying that they want to be paid for every hour they worked and that you want to pay them as much as possible but sometimes it can be hard tracking the exact amount of work hours. The old punch-in card system had become obsolete a long time ago.
What you need are apps that can accurately keep track of workers. The apps will record when do workers arrive and when do they leave work, determining g the cumulative number of hours each crew member puts in over the week. Furthermore, GPS technology can help keep track of the location every excavator or a pickup are. This way, you’ll know if you can accept a job that includes emergency repairs. Finally, you can use online payment systems to pay the workers automatically, without the need for invoicing and receipts.
Using VR in Workers’ Training
One of the benefits of virtual reality (VR) is that allows people to see things in 3D without actually venturing to the site. It is obvious why VR has a wide range of applications in the construction industry. Workers can for the first time ever see the whole construction site and get a spatial feel of it even if they are hundreds of kilometers away. This is quite useful if you’ve got a build-in Arizona and you’re hauling from upstate New York, for example.
Furthermore, general training sessions are made easier using 3D models and excellent graphics. In this sense, investing in technology is actually an investment in human resources. Your average crewman is still the heart of the construction industry even as we enter the third decade of the 21st century.
A digital drawing board
Nowadays, there is hardly an architect, engineer, or a drafter that does use computer-aided design, better known as CAD. 3D models have become the standard in the construction industry, as they are incomparable more accurate than 2D drawings. The market is bombarded with ever better programs like Autodesk Fusion 360 which reinvent 3D CAD. They connect the entire product development process in a single cloud-based platform compatible with PCs and Macs alike.
Improved construction site safety
Although the number of fatalities and construction site accidents are constantly dropping, sitting on top of a framework for a skyscraper is much more dangerous than an office job. That’s why one of AI’s main tasks is to improve construction site safety. You can now install a security system that will keep track of workers’ conduct regarding safety equipment. For instance, special software can use video surveillance to detect workers who aren’t wearing a protective helmet.
In other instances, digital tools can help improve the safety of the storage of hazardous materials. By using various sensors, a computer program can react faster than a worker in case ammoniac leaks out, for example. As we have said earlier. GPS tracking in heavy-duty machines and vehicles can help prevent possible collisions.
Artificial intelligence has more than one application in construction. It can even be of use before the building process commences. Grueling surveying of the plot of land is made much easier with the help of AI that gathers information about the site, helping get a better understanding of all the factors important for construction. Furthermore, all this info is gathered faster than before so project leads can make decisions on the spot.
Better rapport with clients
Since construction involves the simultaneous use of several building techniques, good communication is essential. The same goes for the communication you as the contractor establish with a client. They often find it impossible to explain what it is that they exactly want and vice versa; you cannot explain to them why a certain design solution better or why are some of their ideas impossible to execute.
Digital tools to the rescue! 3D modeling and rendering are ideal for visually demonstrating to clients what they can expect. Once they see the finished structure in the virtual world, they can ask for alterations before it isn’t too late to execute them on the site. By using high-tech solutions in the construction industry, you can be sure that you and the client see eye to eye, at least in terms of design.
Speaking of communication or the lack of it, workers also need to be able to communicate in an efficient manner. We are not referring to shouting louder but using apps to communicate. These don’t have to be the usual messaging apps but special teamwork apps that allow workers to group chat, share files, and input data in timetables. As the pinnacle of technology, you can allow clients to have access to some parts of such an app so they can keep track of the build.
High-tech solutions still haven’t become the standard in the construction industry. However, more and more digital tools are helping contractors run their respective businesses more efficiently.