Increasing Efficiency — Automation in Construction Management
The phrase “automation in construction” typically conjures up images of autonomous robots, drones, and virtual reality. But, outside of these exciting new developments for the ‘field,’ there are many opportunities for automating workflows in the office too!
In construction technology today — a lot of the tools that exist aim to provide project teams with readily available data to enable them to make better decisions. But with all of this readily available information, a new problem emerges — information overload. By strategically implementing automated workflows, we can reap the benefits of all of this new data without the additional processing time. Data analysis and basic communication are two important areas that our industry will need to constantly revisit with the introduction of new technology.
Imagine if all Yelp did was provide you with 1000’s reviews of a restaurant. You could not search the data, sort it, or even look to see what the average review rating was. No matter how robust the data is, it’s simply not a very good use of your time to review this information. You would be better off walking around the area to find a restaurant that looks good.
And yet, in construction, off-site teams are provided with 1000’s of photos and expected to make use of that information. If you’re lucky, the photos are tagged to a plan and/or sorted into a meaningful file structure. It’s no wonder it’s easier and more efficient to just go to the job site for a few hours.
Without proper context, progress photos, videos, and even point cloud scans provide little value. Reality capture generates so much data that inspecting it is simply too big of a lift. This is an example where Avvir can help. Through AI and machine learning, we automate the analysis of your reality capture data so that project teams can glean meaningful insights without having to comb through terabytes of data.
Every day, new software solutions are released that provide more and more opportunities to streamline communication. From social media platforms to chatting apps — there is no shortage of venues to connect with others. At the onset of a project, it is important to define preferred methods of communication in order to ensure consistency and documentation of information.
Project management tools can help to organize and automate communication in construction. Documentation that would have previously required meticulous oversight such as RFI’s, submittals, change orders, and invoices—can now be automatically routed to the proper parties for faster resolution and approvals.
In addition — by committing to a centralized place for communication, we inadvertently automate the organization of data. Having structured data helps us to solve critical compliance issues such as documentation of approvals and the organization of “paper trails.”
AEC professionals all over the world are realizing the potential of automation to simplify processes by utilizing real-time data in a collaborative environment. When a repetitive task is automated, it leads to a more efficient use of time and fewer errors.
While technology will never be able to fully replace human critical thought, the automation of repetitive tasks can free us up to focus more on the critical pieces.