Construction tech in 2018: where to next?

“Gone are the days when the construction industry can ignore the burgeoning set of technology solutions across the asset life cycle. We expect investment, competition, and consolidation to continue to accelerate as use cases and start-ups serving the industry proliferate.”

So concludes McKinsey & Company’s 2018 report on the status quo of construction technology. The report, Seizing opportunity in today’s construction technology ecosystem, offers new analysis of the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) technology landscape now, and predicts where it needs to go in future.

The report is based on extensive research of more than 2,400 tech solutions companies across the entire asset life cycle (concept and feasibility, design and engineering, preconstruction, construction, and operations and maintenance).

Report highlights

We’ve summarised some of the report’s key findings for you here.

Investment in construction technology is growing – fast

In 2017, McKinsey & Company reported that construction technology companies had attracted $10 billion in investment between 2011 and early 2017. Their updated figures show that investments are accelerating. In fact, they’ve doubled in the past decade:

“Between 2008 and 2012, construction technology received $9 billion in cumulative investment. Between 2013 and February 2018, that number doubled to $18 billion, largely driven by mergers and acquisitions.”

The construction phase is attracting the most investment

While preconstruction and construction back-office phases of the asset life cycle are garnering large investments, the construction phase leads the ecosystem with “both the highest number of use cases and the highest number of transactions”. Virtual learning, 3D printing, design simulation, machine learning and deep learning technologies are also gaining momentum: “the number of companies founded in this space over the past five years exceeds any other category”.

Fragmentation remains a problem

Fragmented approaches to tech solutions is still a problem. Most companies are engaging solutions that address “a very specific, narrow application, rather than more integrated solutions”.

This fragmentation is one of the biggest challenges we’ve heard from companies that want to engage with technology solutions. Many are older, venerable companies using legacy systems and various information-collection methods.

“For these companies, integration may sound more like it’s yet another solution to layer in on the top of all the other processes and solutions on hand—when in fact, technology can be used to cut down on the number of solutions and methods being used.”

The report goes on to note that tech providers should find ways to evolve towards integrated solutions that cover multiple use cases (such as on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration).

Tech providers need to listen to user needs

Another pertinent point is that tech start-ups should be listening carefully to the needs of AEC firms and adapting their products accordingly – especially if start-up teams aren’t native to the AEC industry. Rather than thinking up a novel idea and searching for an application in industry, solutions should always be developed in response to real problems. Focus on “validated customer needs” because “in this fragmented landscape, it is imperative to validate the real need (versus a ‘nice-to-have’ application)”.

Where does siteoffice.mobi fit in?

As a tech company that’s created a tailored solution for the construction phase, siteoffice.mobi is part of the fastest-growing and most heavily invested area of today’s construction technology ecosystem. We are also one of a very small number of start-ups whose products address on-site execution, digital collaboration and back-office integration simultaneously.

Our cloud-based, real-time construction management solution includes:

  • daily operational performance tracking
  • live cost tracking and forecasting
  • document management
  • quality control applications
  • contract management
  • safety and environment monitoring.

Siteoffice.mobi’s software streamlines all of these elements in one comprehensive system, giving management teams the oversight they need to increase efficiency, optimise safety and improve their bottom line.

Our products have been developed by a team of builders, engineers and software developers who have genuine insight into the most pressing problems facing AEC today. We understand the importance of offering an integrated solution that’s simple, efficient and sustainable, and our experienced construction engineers have helped implement our software with Australian construction companies on major civil engineering and building projects.

Get in touch with us to find out more.

Shaping Queensland’s Infrastructure Future – siteoffice.mobi at IAQ Infrastructure Summit 2018

On Friday 14 September 2018, the siteoffice.mobi team will attend and exhibit at the 4th Annual Queensland Infrastructure Summit, hosted by The Infrastructure Association of Queensland at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Come and see the siteoffice.mobi team (Co-Founder and Construction Manager Kalil Zeitoun (far left), Software Engineer Frani Hallett (second from left), and Business Development Manager Stacey Steinberg (far right)) at IAQ Infrastructure Summit 2018

Queensland requires significant infrastructure investment to meet the demands of its growing population and expanding regional markets.

Through the core theme of building consensus, the Summit will address pertinent issues on achieving an economic vision for Queensland. For instance:

  • How should the state fund its most important projects?
  • How can a pipeline of investable projects be grown and attract the private sector?
  • What do changes in Federal priorities mean for Queensland?

This year’s future-focused Summit also features the interactive IAQ Infrastructure Innovation Challenge, which siteoffice.mobi Software Engineer Frances Hallett will compete in.

Infrastructure contractors, planners, policy makers and advisers are all invited to attend, contribute to the conversation, share big ideas and witness the possibilities that targeted, determined action can achieve in one big day at what is Queensland’s premier knowledge and networking event for infrastructure.

Come and visit the siteoffice.mobi team to get a live demo of our real-time cloud-based construction management focused CPMS solution that is saving infrastructure engineers and managers valuable time, money and energy, while providing superior transparency and control of their projects.

We hope to see you there!

For more information on the IAQ Queensland Infrastructure Summit, download the agenda.

Book tickets here.

Paperless construction projects – everyone’s a winner

The construction industry generates a significant proportion of the world’s waste. With worldwide digitisation in full swing, going paperless is not only achievable for construction projects, it’s the least we can do to join the quest for a more sustainable future.

Consider this example:

A $200m project runs for two years.

This is how much paper is generated each day of the project:

  • 8 site engineers: 80 sheets
  • 4 project engineers: 20 sheets
  • 8 supervisors: 40 sheets
  • 2 safety reps: 40 sheets
  • 2 quality reps: 40 sheets
  • 1 environmental rep: 10 sheets
  • 1 project manager: 5 sheets
  • 4 administrative/accounts personnel: 100 sheets
  • resources: 100 paper dockets

Based on these estimates, this project will amass a whopping 208,800 sheets – 1 tonne of paper – by the end of its two-year lifespan.

Time to talk about digitisation? We think so.

Going paperless: who are the losers?

No one! Literally everyone benefits from paperless construction projects. Beyond the obvious environmental wins, all stakeholders stand to gain from digitisation.

Construction teams win

Useful, real-time data. Mobile and electronic forms allow you to capture data on site and instantly make it available to everyone on the project.

No more double handling. Pen and paper are time-consuming and prone to human error, and written documentation and photographs have to be typed, scanned and collated in spreadsheets or Word documents later at the office.

No more lost documents. Pieces of paper get lost, particularly when they have to travel between locations. If documents such as permits disappear, work has to stop until they’re found or replaced. Store them digitally and this risk no longer exists.

Better storage and searchability. Filing paperwork is a headache, and scanned files take up much more storage space than electronic documents. In a digitised system, data can be stored and sorted in multiple ways (e.g. by discipline, sub-discipline, status, etc.) and documents can be found in a matter of seconds. The value of this is crystal clear if we consider these stats, published by Construction Business Owner:

  • It takes an average of 18 minutes to find a paper document.
  • 70% of businesses would fail in three weeks if they had a catastrophic loss of paper due to a fire or flood.

Clients win

At the end of a project, rather than receiving a truckload of paperwork (which then requires additional resources to sift through, scan and organise it), clients can be handed a digital record that is already organised, coherent and useful.

Future projects win

Related future projects benefit from easily searchable, high-quality historical data. This saves both clients and construction companies significant amounts of time and money.

Talk to the experts

The global imperative to reduce, reuse and recycle grows each day. At siteoffice.mobi, we’ve made it our business to improve data management and real-time communication, boosting efficiency, increasing transparency and saving you money – while working responsibly to reduce our industry’s environmental footprint. Talk to us today to find out more.

Silos aren’t the problem, systems are: tech to better connect construction teams

In the construction industry, projects typically involve multiple teams from different disciplines carrying out complex pieces of work. Success relies on these teams integrating and communicating with each other to get the job done.

The idea of the “siloed workplace” is commonly blamed for woes including:

  • poor productivity
  • ineffective coordination
  • wasted resources
  • frustrated teams.

To an extent, siloed work practices deserve their reputation as project saboteurs, but leaders need to be realistic in diagnosing the true source of workplace inefficiencies.

Are inefficient systems contributing to poor productivity?

Silos can make sense

Silos make sense in that they’re teams of skilled specialists who work closely together on a common goal. They’re a reality for most large operations. The point is not to try and destroy silos (and thereby nullify their benefits) but to connect them better.

Systems are the problem

The real cause of silo-related difficulties is the fact that teams are poorly connected. Teams that fail to synergise with the wider project have their work devalued and compromised.

The secret to connecting teams better lies in integrating the systems they use to carry out and track their work. Excel spreadsheets are commonly used as a tool to pull information from disparate systems and communicate it across project teams. There are obvious inefficiencies in this approach, including the time it takes for teams to meet, talk through and hand over spreadsheets, which are liable to change as the project progresses.

Solving the problem

Doing away with the downsides of multiple disconnected systems involves moving to a single system that accommodates everyone’s needs.

Mobile and cloud-based technology, such as siteoffice.mobi, is helping drive improvements in productivity across the construction industry. The siteoffice.mobi software and app covers all aspects of the construction phase of a project, giving managers and engineers access to:

  • real-time cost capturing
  • cost forecasting
  • a fully integrated program
  • document management (Safety, Quality, Design etc.)
  • intuitive dashboards
  • data-driven reports.

Benefits of a single system

Key benefits of this technology include:

  • Real-time project tracking. Far better than spreadsheets and paper-based systems, real-time tracking enables managers to predict and avoid major cost blowouts before they happen, and to improve production rates.
  • Everyone already has a mobile or tablet and knows how to operate it. All teams can have up-to-date project information, including documentation like sketches and plans, in their pockets wherever they go.
  • An integrated digital system captures and analyses data in ways that have not been possible before now. Using this data to make future decisions builds unprecedented value into construction projects.

Want to increase efficiency, accuracy and sustainability on your construction projects?

Cloud-based software and mobile apps enable construction professionals to swiftly and accurately capture data in real-time on site, saving valuable time, money and effort, while drastically reducing or eliminating paper usage, and ensuring superior quality data and documentation for client handover at the end of the project.

Do these construction project problems sound familiar?

Double handling data

  • On site data capture = pen and paper + mobile phone photos
  • Data is typed and collated into an electronic format later at the office
  • Data is not real time – only becomes visible & useful hours later

Lost documentation

  • Documents are manually transported between office and site
  • Some documentation is required on site to continue operation. If lost – work stops until the document has returned

What a waste!

  • Construction projects generate a massive amount of paper (around 435 sheets per day on average)
  • Becomes a nightmare to organise and store – scanned paperwork takes up much more storage room than digital documents

Client handover

  • At the end of the project, clients literally receive a truck load of paper work
  • Clients often commit substantial resources to organise, scan & arrange documentation
  • When an adjoining or extension project comes along, investigation into what previously happened means spending money, time and effort

There is a better way!

Mobile and cloud-based technology, such as siteoffice.mobi offers an environmentally sustainable option that saves construction teams time, money and effort, while providing clients with good quality data and documentation at project handover.

Keep track to stay ahead: why cost tracking apps are giving construction companies the edge

Construction projects rely on accurate cost and quantity forecasts using up-to-date financial data. Get this part right and you can take control of your commercial position.

Each day, paper-based financial documentation such as dockets and invoices accumulate on site. What’s the best way to wrestle this information into a system in order to track costs and enable useful forecasting for a construction project?

Spreadsheet

Typically, paper documentation is collected, taken to an office, and then the data is typed into spreadsheets. There are downsides to this type of system:

  • It’s cumbersome and time-consuming.
  • Useful information only becomes available to managers hours later.
  • It’s easy for spreadsheets to become unwieldy and difficult to interpret.
  • Double-handling from site to office can lead to errors and incomplete data.

Mobile app

Spreadsheets begin to look feeble and inefficient when compared with the benefits of recording and processing financial data via a mobile app.

Our siteoffice.mobi app does the work of cost tracking and forecasting for you:

  • Daily costs and production quantities can be captured instantly on site using mobile devices.
  • Data entry takes minutes rather than hours, and doesn’t have to happen in an office.
  • Managers can see activity costs in real time, with live information being captured from the field.
  • Costs and quantity forecasts are updated automatically in real time.
  • The cost register can be filtered by date, resource type, business, docket number or keywords. The full approval history can be viewed for each cost item.
  • Forecasts can be updated daily or weekly, rather than monthly, allowing for more control and proactive management.
  • Cost tracking and forecasting happens on the same integrated platform.
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Embracing digital transformation in the construction sector

Over the last two decades, we have seen technological innovations unfolding at an astounding pace. All industries have been affected, both by the advantages of new technologies and by the drawbacks of not adapting swiftly or well enough.

The challenge is clear:

Thriving in a digital future involves embracing change and adapting to the new landscape.

This white paper:

  • Explores the areas where the construction sector has so far lagged behind other sectors in its adoption of digital technologies.
  • Examines the benefits and importance of embracing digital transformation for the future of the industry.

Download the siteoffice.mobi white paper entitled: Embracing digital transformation in the construction sector

Data takes centre stage: trends in infrastructure 2018

KPMG’s 2018 report on emerging trends in infrastructure identifies key issues facing the sector worldwide. Unsurprisingly, the report acknowledges the role of technology as a driver of enormous change, opportunity and risk in a socio-political landscape that’s characterised by disruption and uncertainty.

“Data is rapidly becoming the backbone of the infrastructure sector”.

The quality of data curation, and how effectively it is shared and analysed, is central to a successful future for the sector.

KPMG stresses the need for government, policy-makers and planners to think differently. There is huge potential for great value to be unlocked, if we respond with vision and purpose.

Trends snapshot

Here’s a snapshot of some of KPMG’s predictions for infrastructure in 2018 and beyond.

The clash of competing forces

A divisive climate has prevailed over the past decade, with young and old, ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, left and right, East and West increasingly pitted against each other. As such, policy-makers and politicians will need to focus on building bridges between opposing viewpoints and finding ways to balance the needs of all stakeholders if they hope to get anything done.

The challenge? Making smart investment decisions for a shared future. While this guarantees some tough decisions ahead, one thing is clear:

“Making sound decisions in this environment will require better data, more sophisticated analytics and much more reliable projections”.

Sustainability – in all its forms – rises up the agenda

The report asserts that the concept of sustainability needs to be expanded beyond environmental sustainability to include financial, operational, funding, technological and social sustainability.

“Those responsible for our infrastructure will need to improve the way they measure and assess their development and construction metrics.”

The pace of development comes under the microscope

Rethinking how fast or slowly assets are being built is another key consideration in 2018. In mature markets, this means streamlining planning, approval and delivery in order to speed up developments that might otherwise be bogged down in slow consultative processes. In developing markets, it may mean taking a slower, more considered approach.

In both cases, what’s needed is more careful assessment of the future needs of the population, so that the infrastructure is relevant and optimal by the time it begins operating.

The benefits of sharing data become more evident

According to the report, data is rapidly becoming the backbone of the infrastructure sector.

Data ownership is currently a complex issue because no one party owns all of the data required for smart decision-making.

It’s expected that 2018 will see governments improve on the management, sharing and use of data across departments and jurisdictions. In the longer term, the report suggests, data ownership will become less important globally, and the focus will shift to sharing data across multiple platforms while protecting the privacy of individuals.

“High quality data curation will be key to creating value potential”.

siteoffice.mobi: a construction-phase solution

It’s clear that data is the key to optimising:

  • production efficiency
  • communication
  • mobility
  • tracking, reporting and predicting
  • transparency and accountability

That’s why we created our fully integrated project management software, siteoffice.mobi. As a group of builders, engineers and software developers with a passion for improving our industry, we recognise the extraordinary value of real-time data and analysis in the construction phase of infrastructure projects.

siteoffice.mobi is simple, efficient and sustainable – perfectly in step with the priorities of the infrastructure for 2018 and beyond.

 

To download the full KPMG Emerging Trends in Infrastructure 2018 report, visit: https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2018/02/emerging-trends-in-infrastructure.pdf

No internet connection? No problem

Offline capability lifts productivity on site

Mobile apps that provide full functionality when offline or disconnected are offering construction projects the ability to maintain accurate cost, quantity and financial data and documentation, while avoiding lost time and frustration due to interruptions in workflow. This allows managers and engineers to improve their production rates and avoid major cost blowouts before they happen.

Internet access issues can be common in construction

  • Rural projects may not have any reception on site
  • Large infrastructure projects tend to have mobile black spots
  • Building projects can have black spots due to large amounts of steel reinforcement

Offline capability to the rescue

Mobile and cloud-based technology, such as siteoffice.mobi® is helping drive improvements in productivity across the construction industry, by allowing project teams to track costs and achieved quantities in real-time, even without internet connectivity.

  • Data can be captured anywhere at any time
  • The offline app has minimal loading time
  • Updates can be synchronised or merged from multiple users
  • Allows faster access – sync only when convenient
  • Issues logged and captured immediately – as you see them

siteoffice.mobi® is a real-time cloud-based construction project management focused solution that covers all aspects of the construction phase of a project, giving managers and engineers real-time cost capturing, cost forecasting, a fully integrated program, document management, as well as dashboards and reports.

Keen to take your projects to a whole new level? Access our no implementation fee offer* today – email: info@siteoffice.mobi.
*Sign up before 31 May 2018 to qualify for our no implementation fee offer.

How can civil construction use technology to improve productivity?

The siteoffice.mobi team will be exhibiting and demonstrating our real-time cloud-based construction project management software solution at Civil Contractors Federation NSW State Technology Exhibition, CivilTech 2018, which will take place from 20-21 June 2018 at the Sydney Showground in Exhibition Hall 4B.

CivilTech 2018 will showcase innovative technologies that will improve productivity and give civil construction businesses a competitive edge.

If you purchase plant, equipment, management systems or safety initiatives, CivilTech 2018 is the exhibition for you to get up to speed with the latest innovations in plant, engineering, management systems and safety.

siteoffice.mobi Co-Founder Kalil Zeitoun

With over 38 exhibitors and presentations from over 20 leading experts, including siteoffice.mobi Co-Founder and Construction Manager Kalil Zeitoun, plus hands-on demonstrations, exhibitors and delegates alike can access and explore the latest in civil construction technology at CivilTech 2018.

The NSW civil contracting industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom. Research has confirmed the activity in our industry will stay at its peak level for some years to come providing a unique opportunity for civil contractors. The industry is, however, facing chronic labour and skills shortages. This is only going to get worse as the volume of work entering the pipeline increases over the next three years. As a consequence, projects are at risk and labour costs are skyrocketing.

Smart companies are realising that to survive and remain profitable they must turn to technology to improve productivity.

Are you attending CivilTech 2018? Come and visit us in Booth 3 to catch up with the team, grab some sweet merch and a mentos and enter our business card competition. And make sure you don’t miss Kalil’s presentation on Wednesday 20 June at 2:10pm.

Would you like a live demo and the opportunity to talk to our team? Learn more or register now for CivilTech 2018: http://www.ccfnsw.com/CivilTech2018.