Construction is one of the oldest industries around. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most labor-intensive ones with more obligations than just hammering nails and pouring concrete.
However, all that hard work is about to become easier. The uprise of cloud computing and smart technology is beginning to change everything about how construction is done, from beginning to end.
What is cloud computing?
The term “cloud computing” might sound complicated, but it’s likely already a big piece of your life – whether you’re using it for work or not. It just means storing and accessing information over the internet rather than being tied to a computer’s physical hard drive.
Let’s break it down a little further. Here are some ways we use cloud computing in our everyday lives:
- Sending a file to your crew via email
- Downloading an image that was sent to you from your friend
- Binging the latest season of “Ozarks” on Netflix
All these services are stored in the cloud – which is nothing more than a digital space, really – and exist there for us to access from wherever, whenever.
While it’s not strictly a new technology, cloud computing has finally reached a point where people can use it to significantly improve efficiency. It can also increase collaboration while reducing costs for both the construction company and the customer.
This article will explore seven ways that cloud computing in construction is changing the industry and improving processes for everyone involved.
1. Increased efficiency and communication
Cloud storage enables construction professionals to access files and data anywhere, at any time. This increased flexibility and mobility allows for faster, more seamless communication between team members. That’s important because construction is often a complex effort involving lots of subs, crew members and office staff.
The cloud makes it possible for everyone to be on the same page, no matter where they are. The office and job site are in perfect lockstep. Cloud-based software allows construction pros to work more efficiently, too, reducing the amount of time and money wasted on tasks they can automate.
Clients benefit from these extra day and dollars given back to you, too. With your company working faster, clients can expect a decrease in overall project costs and feel better about the timeline for their build.
For example, Buildertrend’s construction management software can connect entire teams while improving project efficiency and increasing profits. With powerful communication tools like Messages or Daily Logs, no details get lost in the shuffle and everyone stays connected in one spot.
2. Real-time updates
Traditional construction methods rely on physical blueprints that workers must update manually as the project progresses. Frequent updating can lead to costly delays and mistakes. With a cloud-based quality management system, team members make updates in real time, so everyone involved in the project has access to the most up-to-date information.
Real-time updates help avoid confusion and ensure everyone is working toward the same goal. In addition, clients can track the project’s progress in real-time from anywhere in the world, helping them feel more connected to the process and alleviating some of the stress that can come with construction projects.
All a client has to do to know where their project stands at a moment’s notice is log in to the cloud-based quality management system and check the latest updates without need to contact the construction company. Say “see ya!” to late-night phone calls.
3. Safer workplaces
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous in the world. Even among the best run businesses, the chance for injury is around every corner. Cloud computing helps make workplaces safer by providing instant access to safety protocols and emergency procedures.
Additionally, cloud-based tracking systems can help contractors comply with safety regulations and improve workplace efficiency. For example, if a worker injures themselves on the job, their co-workers will be able to see where they are and what they’re doing. Then, they can assist while also helping to reduce the risk of further injury by instantly documenting what happened.
A safer workplace saves lives and reduces workers’ compensation costs. Cloud computing’s hidden cost could be a great way to reduce overall spending while showing safety is a top priority.
4. Reduced waste and environmental impact
The construction industry can have a negative impact on the environment, with a staggering amount of materials and resources going to waste. Cloud-based software helps reduce waste by making it easier for contractors to find and use recycled materials in a central system. Product is digitally tracked – that way you know how much of any given supply you currently have or was left over from a previous job. Nothing goes to waste, and your team becomes more environmentally sustainable.
Here’s another example: Construction companies can utilize cloud-based tools to track their carbon footprint and find ways to reduce it. In addition, renewable energy powers many tech solutions, helping to offset the environmental impact of construction.
This makes it so that both the customer and the contractor can feel good about their project’s environmental impact without sacrificing efficiency or quality. Which leads right into our next point …
5. Improved quality
The quality of construction projects has come under scrutiny in recent years, with some high-profile failures leading to costly lawsuits. Cloud computing can help improve the quality of your jobs by making it easier to track and compare data.
This more modern way of working empowers builders to identify issues early on in the process before they become costly or time-consuming to fix. In addition, cloud-based quality assurance tools ensure that companies build projects to the correct specifications. In the past, teams have had to rely on paper-based systems to track quality data.
This reliance on paper tracking has led to errors and inconsistencies that employees have a difficult time correcting. With the cloud, all data is stored in a single, easily accessible location, making it easier to spot and fix any problems.
One really cool thing the cloud does to give your quality an upgrade? It allows construction companies to use tech like 3D printing for onsite prototyping. With these models created early on in the building journey, there’s no doubt the final product will meet a client’s expectations.
6. Easier collaboration
Building and remodeling is a collaborative process – meaning a team can achieve the best results when everyone involved is working together. However, traditional construction processes have made collaboration difficult.
Paper-based systems require a lot of manual input, causing mistakes and delays. In addition, it can be challenging to track who’s responsible for which task, leading to confusion and conflict.
Cloud-based collaboration tools solve these problems by allowing teams to share information and tasks securely and efficiently. This helps streamline process and reduces the chances of your company making a mistake.
Collaboration via the cloud works by having the team log in to a project, put their name down for a task and then begin inputting information. The great thing about this is that every person is inputting live data into the cloud, so there’s no need for multiple revisions, and you can be sure that everyone is on the same page. When everyone is working from the same data set, it leads to a more efficient and cohesive team.
7. Time savings – and lots of it
Every cent and second count – so the savings offered to builders by the cloud is often its biggest benefit. With construction software, those savings roll in from the very start. The number of hours it takes to plan projects is slashed nearly in half. Then, once the job kicks off, contractors are better able to track their expenses, helping them stay within budget.
Clients can also save time by using cloud-based tools to find contractors and suppliers, so they don’t have to search through multiple websites or waste time contacting various companies. That means they can get started on their project sooner and avoid delays.
For instance, let’s say a customer needs to find a contractor who can install solar panels on their roof. They can use a cloud-based search engine to find local contractors who offer that service. The customer can then contact the contractor to get a quote and start the project. All it takes is a few clicks.
Get your business off the ground and into the clouds with Buildertrend construction software
The cloud has had a significant impact on the construction industry, helping teams just like yours work more efficiently and produce higher-quality projects.
As construction tech evolves, businesses will likely see even more changes. These changes are likely to include more use of cloud-based tools for tasks like design, planning and quality assurance.
But you don’t have to wait for these emerging systems to get started using the cloud. The leading software for home builders and remodelers can be yours today. Give Buildertrend a risk-free try now.
With tech in your corner, who knows where your business will go? The sky – or more accurately – the clouds are the limit.