When the Construction Playbook was published in December 2020 it set out the vision for an industry that delivers ‘better, faster and greener solutions’.
Productivity in the construction industry was a core theme, with standardisation across components, processes and procurement highlighted, alongside the need to embrace new technology.
It is easy to see why the Playbook, and many other construction sector reports in recent years, keep focusing on the benefits of improving construction productivity. Construction is an industry with high risk and low margins that’s in need of modernisation.
The potential benefits are huge. Research from the World Economic Forum estimates that a 1% increase in productivity could lead to US$100 billion in savings for the construction industry.
Software improves construction productivity: One of the biggest opportunities for the sector is to adopt new technologies and construction productivity software. With construction well positioned to drive the post-COVID recovery, investment in digital tools and workforce competency will be essential.
Much has already changed in design, engineering and planning. But, while digital tools and improved workflows are more common, there is still progress to be made. Having a clear understanding of the potential Return on Investment (ROI), how to make existing processes digital and what a successful deployment looks like will all help the sector to change.
Here are four ways software can improve productivity in the construction industry:
- Bring the people together
Software like Bluebeam Revu makes sharing documents simpler and easier. People can collaborate in real time across multiple locations, connecting sites and offices. By bringing the whole team together in one shared space you can speed up projects, access the right skills and expertise more easily and develop better relationships between the project team members. It’s also great from an audit trail perspective, with changes and comments logged.
- Reduce costs through improved processes
Efficient working practices make for better margins. As well as making processes faster, software can be used to improve the visibility of the whole project. This makes it more likely to spot potential risks and issues, avoiding costly delays or mistakes. For example, at design stage collaborative software allows architects, engineers and contractors to work on a single drawing via the cloud. RFIs can be easily shared among the team and comparisons can be quickly made between drawings, making it obvious if there is a design issue. With an audit trail created automatically as drawings are updated and feedback is shared, it makes keeping on top of projects much simpler.
- Understand buildings better
One of the key recommendations of the Hackitt Review was having a golden thread of building information. In practice, this means an accurate, up-to-date digital record of a building from design stage through to construction, operation and maintenance. Shared tools such as BIM software and Document Management Systems will be essential. This will significantly improve safety, quality and value.
- Pathway to Net Zero
The UK government has set a target for the elimination of emissions in domestic and commercial buildings by 2050. Tracking lifecycle information via operational dashboards and regular reporting, which compares the original brief, design approach and ‘in-use’ performance, will provide building operators with a greater understanding of their assets. This should lead to better decisions about our built environment, reduce both the financial and carbon cost, and see more innovation in materials and processes.
If the construction industry is to become more efficient as part of the recovery from COVID-19, software has an important role to play. Whether making it easier to work together during the design stage, helping with quality control during construction or providing everything the building owner will need to operate and maintain their asset, software can bridge the gap between people and the information that is most important.
Click here to find out how Bluebeam can help bring your teams together.