The construction industry may sound remotely related to information technology but it actually has an affinity to IT solutions, especially in recent years. In 2014 a report was released by JBKnowledge, in partnership with Texas A&M University’s Construction Science Department and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), indicated that over a thousand contractors have been funding, implementing, and using information technology. The trend for more IT spending in the construction industry is expected to continue in the succeeding years.
There’s no doubt that information technology is becoming part of many aspects of modern life. Its role is no longer limited to fields where computers and other IT equipment are more prominently used. In the construction industry, in particular, IT is having a greater presence especially when it comes to the following roles.
Facilitating Cheaper & More Efficient Communication
Communication in the construction industry has certainly advanced; no longer limited to phone calls and text messages. Now, messaging involves the use of apps and the internet since it can be cheaper using the Internet especially when there are multimedia content that need to be sent or shared. Also, doing video calls is cheaper through the Internet instead of using the usual communications services of telecommunications companies. It’s also important to realize that communication in construction project management is not limited to text and voice communications. There’s also the need to communicate project data accurately and in a timely manner. Information technology definitely plays a role here.
More Efficient Project Management
Construction companies can benefit from the use of special software for handling or managing construction projects of all types and sizes. There are construction project management software available that make it easy to handle almost all aspects of the construction process. These software are not only useful in dealing with core project management tasks. They may also include a variety of other features including seamless time billing, collaboration tools, invoicing options, custom reporting, and a host of business tools that will make the operations of a construction firm significantly more efficient. Construction project managers should consider IT solutions as they go about with their projects, especially when there are many people involved and the processes that need to completed are more complicated.
Enabling More Productive & Convenient Collaboration
Yes, collaboration has already been mentioned in the Project Management section of this post but for the sake of emphasis, it’s worth discussing further how collaboration tools are benefitting construction companies. Collaboration tools, especially the cloud-based ones, make construction management more efficient and effective, and is bound to make the job easier for everyone involved, from the architects to the staff, electricians, surveyors, as well as the clients and subcontractors.
Improved Information Recording, Access & Reporting
Additionally, IT solutions create the undeniable advantage of better data or information recording and presentation. With the help of information technology solutions, both hardware and software, all of those involved in project management can have access to real-time information and can record all useful details of the project conveniently and with better ease and organisation. With this more efficient information recording system, reporting becomes easier and can even be automated. This also makes for greater transparency without necessarily compromising the security of project data. Various IT tools or solutions can be used to make it easier for stakeholders to get updates on a project.
Automation in construction projects is not limited to project data reporting. There are other aspects of construction project management that can also be automated. The communication or transmission of key data pertaining to decision points or project time frames can be automated using a system that is triggered by the generation of certain information from the project. Invoicing or billing and other related tasks can likewise be automated.
These are just some of the many roles information technology is playing in the construction business. Those involved in construction project management should not assume that information technology and the construction industry are unrelated or remotely related. It would be wise to consider the many benefits IT can bring to the management of construction projects, especially when efficiency is a must and it is inevitable working with various stakeholders and project members or collaborators.