Big Data in construction is the industry’s newest frontier. Regarded as one of the fastest growing segments of the IT industry, big data analytics involves the usage of advanced techniques to analyze data for practical purposes. As per reports, the Big Data market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 14.4 percent and hit $92.2 billion by 2026. If employed properly, the technology can improve almost every phase of a construction company’s business, including risk forecasting, contractor management, predictive modeling, and safety training. In addition, it can help the industry improve marketing, machine maintenance, scheduling, and return on construction asset. Forthcoming technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning are bringing in substantial changes in the field of big data analytics. Efficient management of big data has become much easier with data entry outsourcing services that help process high quality and accurate data within short turnaround times.
Generally, the construction industry has to deal with a huge volume of data. These include data related to design and building information modeling (BIM) data right from the planning stages of a project, jobsite data collected by wearables, mobile devices and sensors on equipment/materials, accounting and job progress data from the office, project management data and much more. Many contractors are practically drowning in data and don’t have the right tools to analyze the data in ways that would make significant impact on their projects. However, that trend is changing slowly. Data analytics and business intelligence have become hot topics in construction as firms are witnessing the benefits other industries are realizing. The industry as a whole is looking for new ways to help contractors gather smart data.
Significance of Big Data in the Construction Industry
In simple terms, big data in the construction industry refers to the huge quantities of information stored in cloud-based systems that select people can access from any location at any time, from general contractors and developers to subcontractors and individual tradespeople. For instance, a general contractor sources data from the project timeline, materials used, and the subcontractors on the job. If any materials are backordered, the analytics software will note the backorder and suggest relative alterations to the project timeline. In short, having a better understanding of the project data can significantly help boost productivity and profitability on current projects, as well as better plan future ones. Here discussed are some of the key benefits of big data analytics in the construction industry –
- Planning and Budgeting – Big data may help project teams in the initial stages of the construction process. Big data tools enable more precise material, labor, and machinery cost estimations, reducing the chances of exceeding the budget later in the construction process.
- Project Design – Big data plays a crucial role in transforming the construction industry right from the early phases of the design process. It is estimated that about 97.2 percent of businesses are making an investment in big data and artificial intelligence (AI). The technology makes it easy to collect data and use it to facilitate the design process. Businesses can generate digital models during the design stage and forecast any potential issues before construction begins by employing data-driven techniques like BIM and AI. In addition, historical big data can be evaluated to identify trends and probabilities of construction risks, allowing new projects to be guided toward profitability while avoiding pitfalls.
- Improve Jobsite Processes and Productivity – By streamlining and analyzing data collection from jobsites, contractors can improve workflows, find ways to automate tasks, find efficiencies, cut costs and much more. Data analytics perform much more than just tracking traditional job costs and cash flow. For instance, by analyzing data about employees’ movements (either collected from wearables or smartphones), you can witness how much extra movement takes place in the course of a day. Data analytics can be used to place materials and equipment in the most logical locations to cut down on all this movement, saving a considerable amount of time.
- More Accurate Quoting and Bidding – Big data can help a construction company generate more accurate quotes, bids, and estimates. Closely tracking certain things like job costs, change orders, material and equipment usage and worker productivity from projects can help better forecast future work and lead to smarter bidding. Analytics software can easily find data from previous projects and take into account the current prices for materials and bids from subcontractors. A full platform can even fill in standard forms necessary to complete a full bid, saving your planning team time and money when competing for projects.
- Reducing Risk and Increasing Safety – Big data, when utilized from the planning phase on construction projects, can help teams identify potential risks and safety issues at the site. Injuries, safety inspections and other information must be recorded and in some cases submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For instance, the platform analyzes productivity of labor and equipment and then informs project leaders of potential delays, possible fatigue, or too much equipment on the site.
- Reduces Human Errors – It is estimated that material wastes and correcting errors on construction sites accounts for about 35 percent of construction costs. According to Transparency Market Research, construction waste worldwide will total 2.2 billion tons by 2025. Big data will not only reduce costs, but can also increase your profits by reducing these costly errors. Digital tools, used right from the beginning phase in planning combined with lean construction and manufacturing, can reduce waste by giving suppliers plenty of advance notice to have materials and equipment on-site when required. In addition, big data can align architectural plans and engineering diagrams with site studies and necessary materials to alleviate potential problems before they occur. This in turn helps project managers and site superintendents to make informed decisions about potential issues that may occur during the project timeline.
- Improves Timelines and Hits Deadlines – Meeting deadlines is an important aspect when it comes to moving forward with a construction project. When utilized by crews on- and off-site, project management software can alert teams to potential delays, complications, and schedule changes. In fact, teams can automatically upload data that the software can use to assess the situation at hand. For instance, if a truck delivering precast concrete beams breaks down on its way to the site, and even if the beams remain undamaged, it will take crews 36 hours to safely get another truck to the breakdown site, transfer the beams using a special crane, and then get the new truck to the site. In such cases, a project management platform fed by big data will notice this problem and adjust timelines and deadlines while informing the concerned parties of the relative change.
- Fosters Predictability throughout a Project – Big data systems in construction use advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to provide crucial information and insights from the beginning of the planning phase. These technology platforms can identify potential issues with coordination of resources, labor, equipment, potential problems on the site and seasonal weather changes that teams can address even before issues cause delays and cost overruns.
The application of Big Data analytics in the field of construction has revolutionized the sector by transforming the way several key functions are performed. As the construction process becomes more digitized, its prominence will continue to expand. Construction businesses of all sizes can benefit from the potential of big data as data analytics tools evolve and become more accessible. Incorporation of advanced technologies and the ability to streamline operations by utilizing big data paves the way for the next generation of technology and its truly disruptive potential in the construction industry. Managing “Big Data” can be much easier with business process outsourcing services that help process high quality and accurate data within short turnaround times.
Combining deep industry knowledge, operational excellence and a professional approach, MOS provides comprehensive services to meet the client requirements. Whether your concern is high volume data entry, RPA services, data extraction or data conversion, our team can work as an extension to your business and provide the necessary support in fast turnaround time.
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