How to Improve Construction Team Efficiency with Technology
Articles Construction Technology Editor's Picks Technology Trends

How to Improve Construction Team Efficiency with Technology

Last Updated on

According to an article by McKinsey & Company, overall labor productivity in Germany and Britain has risen by almost 30% since 1995. However, construction labor productivity is up by only 7%.

It’s not so much the lack of solutions that cause slow growth; it’s the rate at which construction teams adopt these solutions. These include digital tools that are specifically designed to help teams handle tedious tasks with ease.

The problem is due in part to the construction sector’s resistance to emerging technology. If construction teams can integrate these tools into their workflow, they can save time and handle their tasks more easily and be more productive overall.

But how exactly are these digital tools helpful to construction companies? For what reasons are they instrumental in creating a better way to keep jobs on time and on a budget?

Let’s discuss the common obstacles to a more efficient workflow in construction teams, and how digital tools can help overcome them.

Avoid future inconveniences with more in-depth project planning

The importance of project planning cannot be stressed enough—it involves all important aspects of the project, from cost estimations to geographic information. Poor execution of this phase will result in delays and complications down the road.

Construction teams can count on building information modeling, or BIM, software to ward off the consequences of bad planning. BIM software helps teams work together by keeping project information constantly updated and accessible to everyone involved.

The key feature of BIM apps is 3D modeling. BIM apps can create 3D renderings of the project output, which is primarily used to detect structural collisions and defects early on. 3D modeling greatly aids sub-contractors, such as electrical engineers and plumbers, in working together to avoid reworks in the future.

BIM software options also have useful features like scheduling and cost estimating. These can be integrated into the 3D models, ensuring a streamlined work cycle and a better-performing team.

The Parkland Hospital in Dallas, a newer high-end building, greatly benefited from building information modeling. This goes to show the reliability of BIM apps, and how useful it can be to construction teams.

Simplify team management with time and location tracking

Managing teams is no easy task, especially when it comes to construction crews who are on various job sites. Managers face challenges in monitoring the exact time worked and keeping an eye out for the team members themselves.

The problem lies in the way the construction team handles management: specifically, it comes down to a reliance on outdated methods. Most construction teams still use paper-based time cards to keep track of their hours.

This method is ineffective for two primary reasons: they are prone to inaccuracies, and they simply can’t offer any proof of work. Investigating where missing time goes and whether work has actually been done is a huge time killer. It can also result in frustrated clients or missed completion dates.

Project managers have to deal with overseeing where the team members have worked, as well. There is no solid proof that the crew has worked where they have been assigned, and it would be a huge waste of time if managers spent their hours tracking down each team member.

What construction teams need are accurate time tracking, GPS location monitoring, and a simple yet effective means of building team schedules.

A construction time tracker automatically records the time worked by your crew, ensuring that they have worked the hours assigned to them. This eliminates the need to spend time and effort on going through individual timesheets and manually computing for the total time worked by team members.

With GPS location monitoring, managers can get a good idea of where their crew is at any time of the workday. The sites they have visited can be seen by team leaders and business owners. The information is stored in the cloud and updated in real time.

Integrated scheduling is a necessity for modern time tracking software. A scheduling tool prevents confusion and keeps everyone updated with their assignments for the current and following weeks. Further, managers can get alerts if scheduled shifts are started late, missed, or abandoned.

Virtual reality: Improve work output with better training and understand project goals better

Per Risk & Insurance, 21 percent of construction industry employees are 55 and over, and 9 percent are 24 and younger. This means that a significant portion of the workforce will be retiring soon. The construction knowledge they have gained throughout the years retires with them, as well. Construction companies are hoping to train in the less experienced and newer generation.

And in any team, inexperienced workers often lead to a less effective overall performance.

What the next generation of contractors need is realistic training and onboarding that can provide them with a complete understanding of the job site. Virtual reality is the ideal technology for this purpose. Virtual reality gives team members a full 3D experience of the work area, which is much more in-depth than looking solely at blueprints and floor plans. It allows them to learn faster, understand the project more clearly, and work around construction sites with higher efficiency.

Improved client communications

According to emerging research, poor communication between client and contractor can lead to drastic effects like total project failure. And in construction projects, it’s vital that both parties understand each other to the maximum extent.

Virtual reality allows clients to see the actual project output. Clients can inform contractors if things aren’t going exactly as expected before they enter the critical stages of the project. Teams won’t have to be bothered with the inefficiencies of going back and forth with the client. Everyone can get on the same page thanks to more accurate roadmaps.

Construction technology in the future

Construction teams can look forward to new technologies that can completely change the way they work, such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and modular construction. Not to mention that the tools mentioned above are constantly being developed, and new features are always on the way.

With the help of technology, construction teams can work together seamlessly and finish projects with better accuracy and efficiency. New discoveries and advancements are being made day by day, and it is only a matter of time before utilizing construction technologies becomes the norm.

About the author:

Dave Nevogt
CEO and co-founder, Hubstaff

Dave Nevogt has created several million-dollar companies and is currently the co-founder and CEO of Hubstaff, a time tracking software for construction crews with mobile GPS time tracking, scheduling, billing, and invoicing. He writes about growing businesses and leading remote teams.