Construction project documentation is huge and construction data is complex.
If you were to print all of your project documents — your worksite photos and change orders and estimates and timesheets — you could probably fill a filing cabinet every week or two.
It’s more information than you can organize with filing cabinets, or with Excel sheets, or even with several hard drives in the office.
The only way to wrangle the chaos your construction data creates is with a cloud solution. Below are four reasons why.
Storage That Can Store Every Single Thing
Cloud storage is limitless. It’s not bound by hard drive size. It can scale to be as big as you need.
This has two major advantages.
First, your file sizes can be as big as you need them to be. Cloud storage accommodates high-resolution images and video. And as tech writer Amy Pritchett notes, storing those files in the cloud means you never have to worry that you’ve purchased hardware that will be obsolete in two or three years. Your files can stay there forever theoretically.
Second, it lets you save everything. Any receipt scanned, any document ever created. As we’ve written before, not being able to save and easily find files can cost trades businesses money when they’re threatened with litigation.
This is also useful in the event of a disaster, Adrianne Bibby writes at Remote.co: “Whether data has been deleted by accident or seemingly disappeared over time, a cloud storage system with automated backups can give virtual workers assurance that lost data can be brought back to life.”
Duplicate Work Gets Eliminated
When people have to create documents by hand on paper, they end up having to write the same things over and over again.
When trades businesses digitized their documentation, that helped solve some of the problem. Working from an office laptop, for example, lets you create templates that streamline document creation. But if you have to create new documentation outside of the office, you don’t have access to those templates. Again, duplicate work is necessary.
Over time, teams start to build these digital silos where some documents and some templates get stored, but they’re not accessible for everyone across the team.
This is a common problem. A lot of teams are “working with multiple systems and processes and creating these data silos and finding ways to streamline that I think is something that’s really… really important and getting everyone within the organization to communicate with each other,” former eSUB solutions engineer Jason Saunders tells Todd Weyandt at the Bridging the Gap podcast.
“So one of the biggest things I like to touch on from an operational efficiency standpoint, is just getting on the same page because there’s so many areas of the company that are operating that don’t know what’s happening from over here to over there.”
With the right cloud solution, construction teams can log and track changes to documents in real time. This prevents anyone from creating multiple versions of the same file. Instead, they can collaborate remotely on the same document, attach any supplemental information and send files to others.
Field Teams Can Access Files When and Where They Need
Closely tied to the point above: When your teams are working from a central cloud database, they’re able to grab documents whenever they need them, not only when they’re in the office.
In 2020, Sururah A. Bello and fellow researchers at the University of the West of England described what a benefit this is for construction businesses. “Cloud provides a central repository for construction data for-end-to-end solution that improves the productivity and organisation of the construction industry,” they wrote.
“Access to up-to-date project construction data enables the construction workers higher participation and [keeps] the project team organized and well-integrated.”
Put another way, having remote access to all construction project documents makes life easier for trades businesses.
Furthermore, investments in 5G infrastructure will only make it easier for field teams to manage construction project documents remotely. “Huge volumes of data are generated every day on a worksite, but it can be hours or days before people can access the construction data to measure progress and track where materials are on the site,” Oracle’s Margaret Lindquist writes.
“5G could change that by offering high bandwidth—10 to 100 times faster speeds compared with existing LTE networks—that lets people back in the office continuously access the very large datasets generated on location.”
It Helps to Expedite Submittals
Sending submittals to a GC and then receiving multiple rounds of revisions requests can be tedious and time-consuming.
Complex work creates multiple opportunities for miscommunication and confusion. That can translate to errors or oversights in a submittal. But when the work is organized in a single location that everyone can access and work from, then teams can put together submittals that are more likely to get approved faster — and give your company an added sense of professionalism.
Rick Tanner at Warco Construction Inc. in North Carolina says a cloud solution like eSUB “brings a unified appearance to everything we do. Everyone’s letterheads, field notes — everything that goes out looks the same.”
In our eBook “5 Secrets to Managing Construction Projects Productively,” the four points above overlap with one of the secrets we share about saving time when searching for documents. Having a central repository for all construction project documentation is a major step toward company-wide productivity gains.
Download our eBook to find out more.
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