The Benefits of Digital Construction
News | 29.03.21 | 0 comments
The relationship between a developer and a construction contractor has always been built on trust. As construction professionals, we are not only responsible for delivering a high-quality built asset, but also for doing so on time and on budget.
At Edgeley Construction, we know we deserve our clients’ trust, but we’re also committed to taking every opportunity to be more efficient and more transparent. That’s why investment in digital systems has become such an important part of our commercial strategy and our service commitment. We’re maximising the opportunities technology offers to help us lead the way in our marketplace, drive positive change in our industry, and deliver benefits to our clients through improved performance.
What do we mean by digital construction?
Construction is inherently manual; materials and techniques may have changed and continue to develop but it remains a physical process. It’s in managing that process that we can leverage value from advances in digital technology, however, and, at Edgeley Construction, we are doing just that with a software system called Procore.
The Procore system is proven and widely used amongst larger main contractors, but is less often in place for contractors of our size. However, we believe in punching above our weight, adopting best practice and finding better ways of doing things. Implementing digital management systems using Procore is better for us and better for our clients because it:
- Enhances efficiency
- Ensures consistency
- Enables real-time reporting
- Streamlines communication
- Provides full visibility of progress and cost management for the client
- Automates reporting
- Supports quality assurance processes
- Encourages collaboration across the delivery team
- Prompts opportunities for us to improve our processes aligned to the software
- Contributes to our environmental goals with paperless reporting
Our Digital Journey
It has now been a year since we first invested in the Procore system and began integrating our existing processes with the software. The change provided a range of opportunities to examine our processes and systems and refine them, contributing to continuous improvement beyond the areas that have become digitized.
Unlike the limited ways in which construction companies have used digital technologies to aid project management in the past, our Procore system is not the preserve of office-based teams but is specifically designed to connect the physical work done on site with the project management process. Our teams use digital devices on site to track progress, record quality assurance checks and upload images in real time. This means that our clients can log in securely to see updates and view data on the programme or the budget at any time to suit them. It also means that information can be shared more effectively across our team and our delivery partners’ teams, such as the architect for example, and that information is logged accurately as progress happens. This improves efficiency for us and our client, and also reduces the risk of errors.
Reducing the potential for errors is one of the most important ways that digitizing processes and reporting helps to improve the outcome for the project; both at completion and throughout the lifecycle of the development. Traditionally, construction projects have involved working from paper drawings on site and accuracy has required the right drawings being used at any given time – opening up the potential for mistakes to be made. By implementing digital systems, we can ensure our team is always using the correct drawing and information, underpinning quality and accuracy.
Where to next for Edgeley Construction and digital systems?
We have already integrated our digital project management systems with our accounting software, which means that budgets are live in Procore. In this way, clients can see the financial status of their project, along with programme progress, whenever they choose, in addition to agreed reporting intervals. It also enables us to pay our supply chain more promptly, providing suppliers submit the correct information in a timely fashion.
The real time reporting and quality assurance checks supported by our digital systems have built on our culture of taking pride in our work and ensuring every element of the project is delivered to the highest possible standards. Our digital systems have also built on our commitment to working openly and honestly with our clients and delivery chain partners, paving the way for us to offer open book project delivery.
Procore is designed for ease of use – by the construction team, our supply chain and our clients – and this year we will be rolling out a full training and on-boarding process, for our team, our clients and our supply chain. This will encourage everyone involved in our projects to use the system and equip them with the knowledge to do so as we continue to work towards a lean construction model and paperless systems.
Fundamentally, we are making the transition to a new way of working. Our team understands that digital systems are now part of the way we operate and the service we offer to clients so, as innovation happens, we are digital natives ready to embrace it. Ultimately, use of this technology makes everyone’s life that little bit easier, freeing them resources from administration so we can concentrate on delivering excellence in everything we do.