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article imageImproving data collection for construction

By Tim Sandle     Jun 28, 2018 in Business
Construction sites generate considerable amounts of data. Much of this data is still dependent upon manual collection and this creates inefficiencies. A new report highlights how technology can improve this.
The report comes from TrackVia and it is titled “Manual Processes in Construction and Engineering: Industry Survey and Report.” The objective is with improving the accuracy of data for construction and engineering projects, especially where such data is used to track information related to quality, safety, efficiency, and productivity. TrackVia is an operational workflow platform designed to help companies to digitize their business.
Construction companies, as with other businesses, are reliant upon metrics and the production of key performance indicators, albeit those that are specific to the sector. Given the usefulness of such data, the collection of many key metrics is too often based on manual methods, including the use of spreadsheets or paper documents. Recording data in this way invariable leads to errors; moreover, it creates problems in terms of data compatibility and communication. There are also limitations in terms of what ca be achieved in relation to data analysis.
Construction workers at a site in Hertfordshire  U.K.
Construction workers at a site in Hertfordshire, U.K.
To assess how improvements can be implemented and what newer technologies can deliver, TrackVia surveyed some 500 executives and managers working in construction and engineering.
Key findings
The main findings from the report were:
47 percent of managers use manual systems for data collection
59 of respondents said that when data is collected manually, the top issue they face as a result is incomplete data about work quality.
65 percent of managers said manual processes cause change and work orders to get missed some to all of the time.
88 percent of executives who use four or more data systems spend at least 1,300 hours per year trying to assemble data into usable reports of managers still use manual data entry to capture critical data.
The report also contains some recommendations. Three of these are discussed below.
Need to digitalize data collection
By replacing paper and spreadsheets with dynamic mobile apps enables construction firms to capture information from any device — online or offline. As examples, job site teams can use standardized forms to enter data, scan barcodes, geotag locations, attach photos, and document weather conditions using any iOS or Android device.
By digitizing data collection, this can significantly improve the completeness and accuracy of daily reports, safety observations, and quality inspections.
Construction site in Hertfordshire  U.K.
Construction site in Hertfordshire, U.K.
Use of automation
In construction, where work and change orders are manual this can lead to work slowing down. By automating work and change order processes, construction companies can eliminate manual steps and this frees employees to take immediate action. Firms can automate tasks, work orders, notifications, alerts, and validation using event- or data-based triggers, based on firms specific processes.
Need for one platform
A key finding from the report is the need for one central platform. This can generate considerable efficiencies. For example, the survey found that executives who rely on four or more systems to manage their data spend four hundred percent more time trying to use these data for decision-making, when compared to managers who have adopted a single system.
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