How a Tech-Connected Worksite Can Help You Lower Your Overhead
CEG blogger Megan Wild examines whether new advances in construction technology can help lower business costs.
📅 Tue February 21, 2017 - Edition
By Megan Wild
Drones can capture high-quality imagery of the terrain. and some are even equipped with real-time streaming.
There was a time when the latest technological innovations were too expensive to be of any real use to the average construction company. Given the rapid advancement of software and hardware as of late, the price of next-gen systems and devices has plummeted. In fact, business owners are now using technology to cut costs from elsewhere in their operations.
One of the latest innovations in IT, cloud computing provides enhanced data security, file sharing and collaboration between remote workers and resources. Its benefits are being enjoyed in nearly every professional industry, including construction.
Architects, engineers and team leaders are able to check and verify blueprints from anywhere in the world and even share ideas regarding the initial layout or design of their next project. Customers can inspect floor plans, features and even different finishes and textures from their laptop computer. Supervisors can also use the cloud to increase accessibility to safety literature, training documentation and other important information.
Cloud computing can strengthen other areas of your business, too. Your human resources department will enjoy an increased sense of innovation as well as simplified access to employee records, and your entire company will benefit from greater transparency and improved industry competitiveness.
The modern global positioning system, or GPS, is far more advanced than the models of just five or 10 years ago. Not only are these devices great for planning your next family vacation, but they can be incredibly useful — and even cut down on some of the overhead expense — when working on a full-scale construction project. Some GPS units even are able to record and transmit data that will also help you identify holes and gaps in your productivity.
Company owners who operate and maintain a fleet of vehicles should equip every single one with its own GPS device. This includes common automobiles and trucks as well as heavy-duty equipment such as excavators, backhoes, cranes and dump trucks. Not only does this let you monitor the location of your assets in real-time, but it can cut down on fuel costs and unnecessary time on the road by planning the ideal route to the construction site.
Today's mobile devices are a boon for construction professionals. Instead of personally traveling to and from multiple construction sites on a daily basis, remote connectivity hardware gives you the option of checking in with your teams from the comfort of your office.
You can also use remote monitoring hardware to verify project completion, perform rudimentary inspections or assessments and hold group meetings with staff members that are located all around the world. Not only does this technology cut down on travel expenses, but it also saves the time of organizing such activities and ensuring everyone can attend.
Most telecom providers and many IT developers offer various hardware that will generate a Wi-Fi hotspot nearly anywhere, including on construction sites that haven't yet been connected to the grid. Certain smartphones and devices can transform into temporary hotspots as well.
Playing with remote-controlled drones may be fun, but the technology has real value on and around the construction site. They can help with the initial phases of construction, including surveying and project planning, and they're capable of accessing areas that are difficult for humans or modern construction vehicles. Moreover, drones are able to complete large-scale tasks much quicker than humans, which make them even more cost-effective.
Drones can also capture high-quality imagery of the terrain. Some are even equipped with real-time streaming — thereby letting them transmit images and, in some cases, live video, to a remote viewing screen. These devices have become so popular that some analysts predict drone industry will exceed $5 billion on in just a few short years from now.
Reducing Overhead Costs Year-Over-Year
Apart from saving you money on your next construction project, most next-gen software and hardware has the potential to reduce overhead costs year-over-year. Cloud-based servers cut the amount you'll pay for data storage, document management and recordkeeping, while today's GPS systems can result in significant fuel savings. Connecting to your jobsites through a remote connection lowers overall travel costs while simultaneously saving time, and aerial drones can survey a property in a fraction of the time when compared to a human with hand tools. —CEG Blogger
*Megan writes in the residential and commercial construction industries. She is passionate about sustainable design and the adoption of technology in construction. When she's not writing or reading, you can find her in cafe somewhere, drinking too much coffee.