With 2014 right around the corner, there is no better time to look at some of the new trends in commercial construction. Not surprisingly, technology, particularly cloud-based tech, is poised to figure extensively into construction management in 2014.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Also known as software on demand, SaaS allows the user to gain access to the cloud by using an application service provider. All information and software for a project can be stored in the cloud. A key advantage to this system is that a construction manager only pays for access when it is being used. This system also reduces the overall costs of IT support as the maintenance of the software and hardware are outsourced to the SaaS provider.
Today, people expect a response to questions or concerns immediately. This is no different on a construction site. With tablets and smart phones, construction managers can respond to inquiries sooner.
Deciding who on your team should have access to mobile data is another factor. There are costs involved, and they go up as your network expands. Start with the major stakeholders in the project and others that may be impacted by the construction. It’s reasonable to expect subcontractors to have the same connectivity and respond quickly. With the surge of mobile devices, it’s best to respond to inquiries and issues within one business day — immediately when possible.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) uses the cloud to store data and job information. Everyone on the team will be able to access the information when they need it. This way, they will always have access to the most up to date project information. Construction managers will be able to edit and update the information any time of day from anywhere. This will increase collaboration, accessibility, and computing power.
Big Data, simply put, is an extremely large assemblage of data that is too big and complex for typical management tools to handle. On a commercial construction site, data is constantly expanding — even during the construction phase. Traditional software applications have difficulty in processing this amount of data. This is where the cloud comes in once again. New cloud-based tools are making it possible to crunch Big Data and gain new intelligence on building dynamics, design changes and more.
As construction continues to evolve, keeping on top of the latest project management tools can help you maximize project efficiency, retain valued customers and stay ahead of the competition.