Automated Construction Sites: How Mobile Technology is Moving Construction into the Future
Mobile technology has changed the way we live. Individuals can now access a wealth of information at any time and communicate with others no matter where they are, all from their mobile devices. This same technology, which has improved information access and increased communication across the globe, is also changing the way construction teams work. As the new year approaches, leveraging mobile technology will continue to be a focus for many companies in the construction industry. The key to making the most of these proven and emerging trends is understanding what they are, how they work, and why they may be beneficial to construction.
Top Emerging Mobile Technologies for Automated Construction
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine which technologies will be most beneficial for your construction team. That’s why we have put together a list of some of the top emerging mobile technologies for automated construction in 2017:
1. Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Though design data used to be confined to paper, there are now mobile apps that allow project teams to access and alter design plans no matter where they may be. This mobile technology for BIM also allows project teams to record important information about the project materials and other aspects of the design, making it easier for teams on the job site to collaborate with architects and owners on any changes or adjustments that need to be made. With 5D modeling, the combining of individual 3D CAD components with the elements of schedule and cost, teams can even see in real time how changes to the design will affect cost and labor. This allows project teams to make more informed decisions early in the pre-construction process to avoid bigger issues once construction finally starts.
2. Field Data Collection
Mobile technology is also changing the way that construction teams collect field data. Contractors can now use their mobile devices to record project documentation and capture other important information more quickly and with higher accuracy. Rather than hand writing notes, which can be illegible and lead to inconsistent data or information gaps, contractors can now type notes into their mobile devices and store them in a shared database where other key players can access the information. In addition, photos, GPS coordinates, time stamps, signatures and other data can also be collected on mobile devices to ensure accuracy and compliance.
3. Project Management
About 80 percent of construction professionals are currently using mobile devices to help them manage projects. In addition to collecting field data and recording important project information with mobile devices, project managers can also access a wealth of information, including drawings, schedules, photos and other documents that are pertinent to the project. Mobile applications can also be used to request equipment repairs or new equipment, delegate work to different members of the construction team, and inform other departments of any changes that may have an impact on the project. This helps streamline the workflow and opens the lines of communication, which can help teams avoid any major project delays and reduce costly mistakes.
4. Project Scheduling
Project managers can also use mobile applications to help with project scheduling. Mobile technology allows contractors to conveniently create schedules from their tablet or smartphone. In addition to creating project milestones and deadlines, contractors can assign tasks, record notes for each task, and set important reminders. Project managers can also instantly analyze daily production and make adjustments as necessary to avoid project delays and ensure that production is on schedule.
5. Time Tracking
Mobile technology has also helped to automate the time tracking process. With mobile time-tracking software, companies can more accurately track time for each employee on each job site and streamline the approval and payment process. Mobile time tracking allows workers to clock in and out from their mobile devices, and supervisors can verify that workers were on location for the hours tracked via GPS. This eliminates payroll mistakes and ensures that companies are not paying for undelivered labor. Not only is this more efficient for the construction team, but also for bookkeepers as they can open the software on their computers to see tracked time rather than having to process hand-written payroll.
6. Cloud File Storage and Electronic Sharing
Cloud-based mobile technology allows construction teams to save important data such as blueprints, contracts and other documents in a location where others can quickly and conveniently access them, no matter where they are. This improves communication and collaboration by making it easier to share notes, ask questions, and discuss revisions easily and securely in real time. Cloud-based file storage and sharing makes construction teams more efficient and less likely to make costly mistakes as they are able to access everything they need right from their mobile devices.
There are a variety of mobile technologies that are changing the way construction teams work and automating important job site processes that can have a direct impact on project budget and timeline. By utilizing some of the top mobile solutions for field management, construction companies can improve efficiency and reduce costs to complete more building projects on time and under budget.
To get more information like this, download our FREE guide, “Field Notes: A 2017 Guide to Construction Technology.” Inside you’ll find the information you need to stay up-to-date on the emerging technologies of 2017.