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The Cost of Bad Data in Construction—And How to Improve Data Quality


Posted on November 12th, 2021

Messy desk covered in papers.

A recent report by AutoDesk showed that bad data cost the global construction industry $1.8 trillion in 2020. AutoDesk defines bad data as “inaccurate, incomplete, inconsistent, or untimely” data.

The report also revealed that many companies are increasingly given minimal time to make impactful decisions. The result? Decision-makers rarely have time to access the resources that could help them make informed decisions.

With all of this in mind, how do construction companies move forward? Is it possible to collect accurate data in a timely manner, so teams can improve decisions in real time? This blog will cover not only the negative impact of bad data, but also how to improve data collection and usage processes—so you save time and money.

How common is bad data?

While many construction companies reported an increase in data, over 80% of those surveyed said that 25% or more of that data is unusable. The majority of respondents said that half their data is usable.

What is the cost of bad data?

AutoDesk estimates that a contractor with a revenue of $1 billion could lose as much as $165 million—all because of a lack of quality data. A significant amount of this, at $7.1 million, would be spent on rework that could have been avoided with better data.

How to improve data collection and usage

So how do you collect data that is useful? Here are a few things every construction company should consider:

Train your team in data literacy

Employees that need to use data to inform decisions rarely graduate with degrees in statistics. Project managers and other leaders in the field understand the importance of data—but being able to quickly identify the significance of seemingly random data is a hard task.

Provide training on how to use data to gain insights on how to meet project goals. In this training, ensure that your team knows how to practically use all the data they receive.

Improve data presentation

Unfortunately, no matter how much training your team receives, the construction industry simply does not allow a lot of time to calculate numbers. This means that all data received must be relevant and to the point.

To do this well:

  • Use technology that calculates the importance of data for you.

  • Use technology that creates visuals to help anyone quickly understand the impact of data.

  • Use technology that makes it easy to file, sort, and find relevant data.

  • Only collect necessary data.

As you can see, the right technology can prove incredibly helpful when it comes to understanding data. The right tech serves as a readily-available resource that helps your team make informed decisions—while also saving them time.

Make data collection easy for field teams

A major reason data isn’t used is because there’s missing or inaccurate information. It’s easy to understand how this happens—field crews are working in a busy, active environment. They don’t work at desks with pen, paper, and a computer readily available. On the jobsite, documentation means pausing projects, or quickly (and messily) scribbling numbers on paper.

Some crews are given access to technology that helps them record data, and while this may improve legibility, a lot of construction tech is not designed to be used in the field. This can cause a lot of frustration for field crews.

To ensure that field crews are always recording (legible) data, find a construction app that is meant to be used on the jobsite. An easy-to-use tool makes data collection easy—which means it’s more likely to happen.

Share real-time data and insights

Some crews collect all the right data, but when it comes time to make impactful decisions, up-to-date data is unavailable. This means that all the work done to make sure accurate data is collected is not being used.

To give your teams access to real-time data, look for technology that connects field crews with the office. By storing data on the cloud, your entire team will be able to view the right data at the right time.

How Raken improves data usage

Raken's construction software and app makes it easy to collect field data—then sends all that relevant data to the office. From there, graphs, charts, and well-organized data make it easy to make informed decisions—all in real time.

With Raken, you can collect:

  • Daily reports, with time-stamped photos and videos

  • Time cards

  • Production data, including time, materials, and equipment

  • Cost code information

  • Safety and quality checklists

Learn how Raken can save your company time—and avoid costly mistakes caused by bad data—by scheduling a demo.

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