Data Intelligence for Smarter Construction

The game of data intelligence is everywhere and now slowly invading the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. The power of data and its collaboration with artificial intelligence (AI) took profound shape amidst the apocalypse of Covid-19.

Data Intelligence for Smarter Construction

Data intelligence in construction involves leveraging existing data and resources for efficient business management. Not all, but most forward-thinking firms have found data intelligence as one of the elicit techniques to improve business processes and profit.

Big data in construction refers to vast quantities of information stored in cloud-based systems. General contractors, developers, subcontractors, and individual tradespeople can access big data. Big data can come from people, computers, and other software.

This article is structured based on a few real-time examples of organizations implementing data intelligence and how they have made their construction works smarter and more efficient.

Challenges of Conventional Data Analysis

The construction industry faces challenges at both industry and operational levels. Different from any other industry, the possibility of schedule slippage is challenging to avoid; budget blowouts often occur, thereby leaving with tight project margins. All these stages involve an enormous data flow that is often siloed and without data integration.

Data collected needs to be cleaned and updated to maintain its value, or its value will decrease over time. For example, a site photo of an active work site on Monday will no longer be accurate on Tuesday.

The projects that rely on retrospective analysis of historical activities limit the ability to address the issue before they impact the project results. This inefficiency hampers the process of leveraging meaningful data insights leading to suboptimal decision-making and risks in time, cost, quality, and safety.

Unlock the Power of Data

When we unlock the power of data using AI technology and analytical solutions, we can access active intelligence to make proactive decisions and continuously improve project outcomes. Several business intelligence tools help to generate accurate and actionable insights for project management. One such example is Oracle Construction Intelligence Cloud (CIC) Advisor.

An efficient data intelligence tool warns about what can happen and the underlying causes. In a field like construction, the more focus is on what ought to occur than what has happened.

Data Intelligence for Contractors

Construction and project management distributes among contractors and sub-contractors at various levels. Each contractor has their style of contract, manpower, and site management, which involves all sizes of data. “We see contractors of all sizes using data to be safer and more profitable and to win more work,” said Matt Abeles, vice president of construction technology and innovation at Associated Builders and Contractors.“Data intelligence allows contractors to make decisions using real insights that maximize the potential for growth and improvement.”

The average AEC firm with 100 projects is adding 1PB of data every year. Unfortunately, much of this data is unstructured, making it difficult and expensive to capture, clean, and integrate.

HITT is a construction management firm with a 2000-person firm with one data analyst on staff. The company uses Toric, a data analytics workspace, to harness data and automate thousands of projects.

Prevost Construction, a California-based general contractor, adopted a data-first mindset to overcome the contingencies faced during the pandemic period. The data intelligence technology adopted is a Safe Site Check-In, a smartphone app for tracking the employee check-in, check-out, and move across different areas within the job site.

As the infections spread, the app helped the company immediately provide data sets for accountability and contact tracing, which allowed the projects to stay active. “When the apocalypse of COVID hit, our aptitude, and interest in data collection pointed us to solutions that could manage data to keep operations running,” said Zach Hoffman, Prevost’s director of field operations.

PCL Construction created an innovative construction platform aggregating disparate data sets like delivery times and location, real-time machine and workforce telemetry, and job site environmental conditions to gain productivity and quality benefits. “We are leveraging those data sets to build models for our job sites that can be put into the digital twin and leveraged within a BIM environment,” said Andrew Ahrendt, director of integrated construction services at PCL’s U.S. headquarters in Denver [Ref].

The idea of data and analytics is to bring data into a format that can convey plans, strategies, and outcomes. It gives an idea of setting our goals and reaching them.

Benefits of Data Intelligence in Construction

  • Increase Building Efficiency
  • Improve Working Conditions
  • Reduce Environmental Impact
  • Promotes Collaboration

The construction industry is undergoing massive changes by implementing new technologies like drones, 3D laser scanning, and virtual reality to increase productivity and deliver projects with fewer errors and higher-quality results. According to IBM, 80% of the data value has been created in the last 12 months. Organizations can manage this tremendous data accumulation by developing strategies to not only store data efficiently but use it more effectively and efficiently.

The concept of data intelligence is a broad area that is only complete by fully explaining the working of big data and construction data analytics (CDA). This will be explained in future articles published by prodyogi.


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