Construction work isn’t just field work, there are teams of office and field workers using cloud based collaboration to complete projects. Cloud based collaboration in construction works to connect the field and office as well as general contractors with subcontractors. Cloud storage and software is no longer a new concept and has many benefits to it. These benefits are some of the big reasons for using cloud base software and collaboration in construction.
Ease of Access
One of the benefits of cloud based software is the ease of access to files and information. Teams in the field and the office can easily collaborate on documents to stay up to date. This increases cloud based collaboration in construction since people can easily access documents. If there is a specific plan the foreman needs, they can easily find it. Since the document is in the cloud, they can search their project files from the field on their phone or tablet. While before, it would be dependent on whether the document was stored on the device.
While it might seem out of place, the cloud based software offers easier document control. Now, people in the field and the office can have both access and editing rights to a document. If certain people aren’t supposed to be able to edit it, an administrator can change the settings. However, if something needs to be modified in a field note or RFI, people both in the back office and in the field can make those changes. This is cloud based collaboration. Since the documents are saved in the cloud, it allows for access and editing to both parties.
Cloud based collaboration also improves communication. Many systems allow for users to receive notifications or track who made edits last. Frequently users can also make comments on the documents themselves, or better yet send the document with those comments. By submitting the document along in an email or another form of communication, typically the recipient opens up their copy and must send their copy back. While this ensures that everyone can work on the same text, it isn’t the most effective, and it leaves a lot of room for error. By using cloud based communication and project sharing, it reduces errors.
One of the best benefits of cloud based collaboration is the ease of communication. Many platforms have ways of integrating communication into their system. So now emails and texts are available to see within project folders rather than just on a phone. One of the best benefits to this is verifying information. Having all of the communication in one place that can be accessed from other devices is one way to ensure that everyone knows what is happening. It also is an excellent way to verify information. If one person has emails stating one thing and someone has other information, they can see it and correct it.
Improved Check List
Cloud based collaboration is a great way to improve project checklists. Since many programs have systems in place to create checklists, using a cloud based collaboration system to share and update tasks is best. This ensures that everyone with access has real-time data. So the back office knows when a certain step on a project is complete even without a phone call. Once they can verify the information they can send out either payment or request payment to a vendor or the general contractor. This helps ensure that subcontractors are paid for the work on their list.
When the checklist is shared with the general contractor or project manager, they can suggest changes and verify steps. When they know the exact work a subcontractor is planning on doing, they can ensure that the scope is completely understood. It’s also a good way to get confirmation on needed information. If a subcontractor’s checklist now has a task for the general contractor they can see what is needed and complete it. Checklists and shared communication are two of the strong pillars and reasons for using cloud based collaboration. These reasons are especially strong in construction where communication is so incredibly crucial.
Eliminate Data Silos
Cloud based collaboration in construction is a way to eliminate silos between the back office and field, estimating and design, and everyone in between. Using a cloud based system ensures that documents are stored in one place. Having one storage location also increases the knowledge shared within one office. When the accounting and estimators can work with the most accurate drawings and designs they can ensure the most accurate estimates. Then the Foreman can see the drawings and budget they can make the best decisions based on their schedule. Then the subcontractor is connected to the designer or architect they have better tools.
Often times a design is submitted to the owner and general contractor in 3D but by the time the subcontractor receives it the design is now 2D. Designs are compressed into 2D drawings which don’t always allow subcontractors the opportunity to verify their constructability. Subcontractors are the best people to determine whether the design can be worked. However, that is easier to determine based on the 3D and 2D models rather than just on the 2D models alone. By using cloud based collaboration, project managers, designers and general contractors can easily share project files with subcontractors to ensure the most accurate information.
There are many reasons to consider using cloud based collaboration. Not only are these reasons compelling, but they are for the best of the construction industry. A recent McKinsey Institute study showed that one of the big issues facing construction is a lack of communication. The lack of communication and information withholding makes projects overall less efficient. 22% of companies surveyed found poor or old information to cause their rework. By increasing cloud based collaboration on projects many companies can see a decrease in the rework, delays, and other common issues in construction.