big data

How Big Data and Analytics are Transforming the Construction Industry

Big data has become an integral part of all industries in recent years, and with the coming of the digital age, it shows no sign of slowing down. We’re looking at how big data and analytics are instrumental in transforming the construction industry: from management software to BIM and real-time data analytics; big data has forever changed the fundamental methodology of the construction industry for the better.


However, big data is only as useful as the people who wield it are knowledgable. What makes big data big is that it can be transformed and analyzed effectively and used to help the project managers make informed business decisions for their construction processes. Keep reading for a complete guide to how big data and analytics are transforming the construction industry.



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BIM and Big Data Integration

BIM technology is a tool to help make the construction industry more economically and environmentally sustainable, and it plays a massive role in improving energy efficiency in construction. BIM assists contractors in visualizing each stage in the construction process, which streamlines the process and reduces waste. 


BIM uses the predictive technology of big data to help create more sustainable construction. For example, a subcontractor can use data from past construction projects to make a prediction that accurately estimates how much of a specific material is needed for future projects based on a plethora of different variables. This visualization capability reduces the amount of wasted time, labor, and materials on a project.


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According to a study by The Boston Consulting Group, digitizing the building sector by using BIM to conduct a building-wide energy analysis can save up to 20% of energy costs. This number increases when looking at renovations of older buildings because of the traditionally energy-inefficient nature of the buildings. Using BIM energy analysis in these situations helps improve energy efficiency and reduce material waste, creating a more sustainable environment and benefitting everyone involved. 


how big data and analytics are transforming the construction industry
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How to use big data in the construction industry


1. More efficient management

-Make more accurate time estimations with stronger algorithms to reduce wasted time and improve project efficiency

-Using geolocation on machinery can help construction workers save lost time


2. More accurate budget estimates

-The more data that becomes available, the better predictions can be made for future budget estimates

-Trickle-down effect, helping better plan your schedule and optimize construction processes


3. Lower project risk

-Big data can also help you lower project risk by giving you more in-depth insights and better data

-With big data analytics, small changes can start to make a big difference in your construction firm


4. Helps make the correct choice

-Relevant data can help you make the right decisions faster and more accurately. 


Quote vs. Estimate
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Big data for Business

In today’s climate, data is the name of the game, but making it work well for you is one of the challenges. Collecting and using data to optimize performance is an essential part of almost all businesses’ current strategy. For example, mobile workforce management is a tool that many of these construction businesses are using to gather and analyze useful data from construction sites. 


An article by Forbes explains data-driven decision making can be made “…using sensors to track machine performance, to optimizing delivery routes, to better tracking employee performance and even recruiting top talent.” You may hear of big data. It offers “the potential to improve internal efficiency and operations for almost any type of business and in many different departments.” 


how big data and analytics are transforming the construction industry
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Workforce Management

Big data is becoming an essential part of workforce management as well. Now that mobile technology is beginning to have predictive capabilities using data-crunching tools helps subcontractors estimate when service or updates are needed to prevent a delay from occurring. 


Additionally, big data can help improve efficiency by predicting future needs based on past experiences to help make valuable resources and information readily available when it is needed. The mobility allows real-time updates to be made and implemented across the job site, improving efficiency and optimizing time management for the most effective product output. Mobile technology can help make real-time updates to schedules or project scope, manage technicians working on the job site, or even update and review essential documentation in real-time. 


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However, It’s essential to use the right data, the right way. Tools like construction workflows that use data can be extremely beneficial for project managers to oversee project delivery. They have many additional benefits, such as reducing the risk of errors and delays as well. Data holds the keys to helping a construction project succeed. Correctly analyzing data can help increase overall job site productivity by assisting managers in drawing conclusions and making necessary changes to the project. 


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Value of Big Data

Data has become an invaluable part of everyday life, and the construction industry is no different. More traditional systems, like paper invoices, are becoming more obsolete in favor of digital construction management systems that can use data to help project managers make effective, informed decisions. 


Big data and analytics especially have become an essential part of helping project managers gain valuable insight into the health of their project, keep the project organized and on track, and make accurate predictions to help the project succeed efficiently and effectively.  


However, the power of big data is in the skill of the people who wield it. Tons and tons of data by itself isn’t very helpful, but with the right programs, it can be turned into valuable information. 


how big data and analytics are transforming the construction industry
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Final Thoughts

It’s pretty clear by now that big data and analytics hold the key to the future, and having people who can understand and make valuable insights from big data is essential for any modern business to succeed. In the construction industry, big data is becoming instrumental in everything ranging from CMS to BIM and even mobile workforce management.


Big data and analytics are transforming the construction industry for the better. However, it’s essential to remember that big data is only as useful as the people who wield it are knowledgable. 


TL; DR: Leveraging the estimating power of big data and analytics is one of the most crucial factors to get ahead in the construction industry.