How the Construction Industry is Using Mobile Data Collection

Michael Clark
Wed, Aug 5, 2015
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Mobile devices allow for data collection from construction sites.

Information is key to a successful construction project. Managers and architects want workers to have access to the data necessary to follow blueprints and schematics. People working the site should be aware of safety concerns and equipment specifications. Every member of the project must communicate changes as soon as they happen so time and resources are not wasted.

Data collection through mobile devices is a strategy utilized by the modern construction site. Information reported and accessed using handheld equipment is a valuable resource for professionals that need to stay competitive in the digital age.

Adaptable Blueprints
Paper blueprints just won't cut it anymore. Printouts could be lost or damaged. Changes to the plans will either require additional pages to work materials or all reference documents have to be reprinted. Delivery of updates relies on travel between head office and construction site.

Informationweek stated construction sites are doing away with paper document obstacles by implementing a digital blueprint solution. Changes delivered to the construction area from the head office are instantly readable and incorporated into digital plans. Instead of waiting days or even weeks, projects are updated in minutes.

Mobile devices make these process improvements even more practical. Worksite managers and supervisors don't have to keep revisiting a desktop unit; they have data visibility in their hands. Orders from above are referenced from any location. Construction workers can report project updates as soon as they occur. Mobile forms keep an open line of communication between all parties so everyone is working off the same blueprint. 

Accurate Bidding and Customer Satisfaction
Constant project reports create accurate pictures of how it is progressing. If materials start to run low, supplies are ordered. If tasks are completed ahead of schedule, then manpower is redistributed to other areas.

Accurate mobile data collection in the construction industry provides every member of a company the information they need about an ongoing project. Managers can check progress against projections. If the numbers vary wildly, the information is used to create future work orders and bids. Customers are charged based on the time and materials actually involved in the project as opposed to approximations.

The Construction Advisory Report suggested data collection is a great tool for maintaining schedules. Checkpoints created by data collection software tools let workers know where they should be according to the projections given to the clients. If there is an emergency or other major event stalling progress, clients are informed using information directly from the site. Managers or sales representatives can work with customers to determine what steps should be taken toward resolution, and their decisions are updated into the software.

Improved Safety
If a problem occurs endangering workers, accurate information reported from the incident could prevent it from happening again.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics advised companies to examine the events leading up to an incident and the interaction of circumstances surrounding it. Data reported from the site during the time of the accident creates visibility into environmental factors or employee actions that could lead to unsafe procedures. If a problem occurs consistently, information provided by the software tracks the times in which it took place and patterns are detected.

Mobile data collection software provides workers general safety information. Documents about material handling created by the company or by the Department of Labor are available using touchscreen devices. If an employee sees a behavior or environmental factor that doesn't comply with safety documents, he or she can report it instantly.

Things to Keep in Mind During Implementation
Real-time information promotes construction accuracy, speed and safety. Most benefits provided by data collection software yield immediate results when implemented correctly. Some jobs, however, may have very particular needs.

The data collection system adopted by a construction business should be adaptable. The RFgen White Paper "Mobile Application Customizations – The Hidden TCO Killer" argued designing a system with the proper interface and digital tools makes all the difference when integrating data procedures into a working environment.

A company needs to find a software partner with experience implementing tools for specific projects. The first step is to discover where the current construction information sharing strategies are lacking. Digital tools should be adopted to cover holes in current communication processes and improve procedures based on a company's daily needs.

Mobile Data Collection Guide white paper link

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