When you want to talk construction tech, you should include people from the teams writing the code. With that in mind, we asked Patrick Hogan the CEO of Handle for his thoughts on how construction technology saves time on the jobsite. Here are his thoughts:
Time is money and there’s probably no one who knows this better than construction business owners and contractors.
According to McKinsey, over 98% of construction projects face delays and cost overruns, with an average slippage of 20 months behind schedule. Contractors know that these delays only yield more expenses and prevent the allocation of resources to other tasks that need attention. Minimizing delays and mitigating the reasons that cause it are some of the key goals of construction project management.
Fortunately, there are tech solutions that help contractors save time in their projects. Here are a few examples:
1. Using software to aid the estimation process
One of the first steps in the construction process is estimating the total time, money, and resources needed for a construction project. It involves analyzing the project plan and taking the measurements from the blueprint to determine the amount of labor and materials and their corresponding cost. This process is simple, but depending on the size and complexity of the project, estimation can take a lot of time and resources. When done manually, data entry errors happen, and those errors cost money.
To aid the cost estimation process, construction businesses should use specialized takeoff software that utilizes digital blueprints to automatically calculate the material costs. This type of software minimizes human errors and significantly reduces the length of the estimation process.
2. Using drones to conduct site inspections
Site inspections are an important part of the pre-construction phase. This process is vital to ensuring that everything proceeds smoothly and safely. Site inspectors have the crucial job of pointing out safety hazards that may be present on the site before giving the go-signal to contractors. Consequently, site inspections can be dangerous to humans as some terrains can be difficult to access or contain dangerous structures.
With the use of drone technology, site inspectors can conduct site surveys safely without venturing into hazardous locations. Human-led site surveys take weeks, especially for large construction sites, but with drones, these inspections can be done by a single person offsite in a significantly shorter time.
In addition to saving time, drones can also be used to monitor the progress of construction projects. If used with 3D mapping software, drones provide precise measurements that are useful for accurate modeling and detailing.
3. Using data management software to manage customer data
Managing customer data is essential to keeping track of client accounts and this is doubly important in the construction industry. Payment delays and even nonpayment can be quite common, thus it is important that construction businesses vet clients before closing a deal.
Customer data management and research can be time-consuming. With software solutions, however, businesses can compile customer data for easy reference, including project histories, financial status, and credit scores. This data can be used to pre-qualify potential clients before bidding.
4. Using automation to manage receivables
As mentioned, payment issues happen often in the industry. The billing cycle can be lengthy, putting construction businesses at risk of falling into cash flow issues. It is in the best interest of construction companies to optimize the collection process to improve their financial standing.
Construction companies can use dedicated software that analyzes their accounting data to point out customer accounts that are at risk of delinquency. This type of software automates the sending of invoices and issues pre-lien notices which could otherwise take a lot of time if done manually.
These applications listed here are just a few ways technology is slowly but surely improving the construction industry. As new innovations rise, it is imperative that construction businesses adopt these technologies to stay competitive, or else they will inevitably lag behind.
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers secure their lien rights and get paid faster by automating the collection process for unpaid construction invoices.