"Time is money", and this old saying certainly applies on construction job sites. The faster the work can get done, the more quickly firms can move on to other projects. And of course, if an aspect of a project isn't done correctly in the first place, time and money are lost making corrections. There are lots of reasons why time is important on a job site, and now new technologies can help construction firms to make the best use of that time.
There are an ever increasing number of software applications on the market that are designed specifically for the construction industry. In the past, much time was lost by project managers and site superintendents having to move between firm offices, site trailers, and other locations to examine and approve paperwork, fill out reports, or check lists. Even when computers were on site, power and technology issues were not uncommon. But as a Texas A&M study indicates, almost 80% of all construction workers are now carrying internet ready personal computers on them in the form of smartphones and other mobile devices. These new devices are app-ready and can serve as mobile offices, meaning that managers can spend entire days on site, without losing productivity while traveling. Many of these apps also allow for collaborative real-time sharing of information as well. This means that meetings and reviews can be held without other parties having to travel to the site.
Take Raken's app for daily reporting, for example. Using Raken can save up to ninety minutes a day. This daily log app, which works on many different types of smart phones, can issue reminders to make sure that reports are filed on time. The reports are synced in real time, allowing for collaboration with people not currently on the job site and enabling reports to be reviewed faster.
And in addition to Raken, there are now construction specific apps that can:
- allow bid requests, contracts and modifications to be reviewed
- bring up floor and site plans for viewing
- create purchase orders
- schedule appointments and make payroll changes
- create supply lists and track inventory
- make calculations, calculate weights, and take measurements
- track and allocate vehicle use, a practice that has already been shown to save up to 20% in fuel costs
- get weather information as well as get other information useful to site work like building codes and environmental regulations
Unfortunately, due to the industry's traditional resistance to technology, not all construction firms are taking advantage of these apps as they could be. Industry experts hope that this changes, as the latest technology in construction is helping to create a more productive, streamlined, and safer industry.