How Digitization Can Enhance Construction Industry?

The construction industry has been continuously evolving in different directions, especially since the dawn of the digital era. Its key parameters like cost, time and quality have been significantly improved when the industry started moving towards the digital patterns of work. This shift, going by the term Digitization, has upgraded different parts of the conventional construction process in a way that evidently accelerated the project performance.

Digitization in construction holds great relevance in today’s world because:

  • It enables transparency across different processes, giving a better standpoint for the client
  • It helps in maintaining accuracy in the data and gives better project insights
  • It takes forward a reliable, empirical process that is easy to follow for large teams
  • It keeps an in-depth track record of the work done that helps in identifying the risks
  • It gives a real-time look into the project and all of its processes

While digitization is undoubtedly seen as the path forward for the future of the construction industry, it calls for an appropriate execution to deliver the desired results. In the vast pool of digitization, it is important to understand how it can be employed, along with the different techniques and tips to be followed while taking this direction.

Here is a quick look into A-Z details of digitization in construction that can help you digitize your construction processes for the better:

1. Digitization in Construction Industry

2. Promoting Digital revolution at construction sites

3. Promoting sustainability by reducing rework and paperless documentation technique

4. COVID-19 Crisis accelerates Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry 

5. How Digital Technology in Construction Industry is Changing?

6. digiQC vs. Paper-based: Comparing prevalent quality control methods 

1. Digitization in Construction Industry

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Introduction

It is no longer the big beating the small; it is now the fast beating the slow. The digital revolution in today's world is far more significant than any other invention. For continuous success in the coming years, most companies are launching real digital strategies.

The construction industry is now entering a digital era. The digital transformation in the construction industry is accelerating. It is now the correct time for all the hesitant companies to adapt and adopt this digitalization to be in the race.

The positions of some construction companies can be compromised in the market by the highly evolving and digitized companies if they don't catch the ball on time.

Key Content

The rise of digitalization has created fear of losing their jobs. This is untrue. Such worries are growing daily in the industry. The hesitation and resistance to adopting digital tools result from these fears.

While people predict a decline in the employment rates, the actual highlight is the potentially increased need for skilled professionals with which digitalization may be associated.

The trust in the conventional methods is also a partial factor that can cause hesitance in accepting newer technologies. Some experienced professionals often feel more comfortable working with traditional technologies, as they have been using them for ages and are proven.

This is another reason for resisting or hesitating to adapt to digital technologies.

Before COVID-19, construction companies were experiencing high demand and increasing revenues, despite their slow adoption of the latest technologies and a scarcity of digital maturity. Once the pandemic hit, this changed rapidly.

Furthermore, inefficient on-site workflows that relied on paper trails and outdated communication methods became even more challenging to work with because of social distancing norms owing to COVID 19. As a result, businesses are being forced to look for digital solutions that can unlock new operational efficiencies while maintaining the project's quality standards.

Takeaways

Digitalization in the construction sector is in its very initial stage. Nonetheless, it is about to generate unimaginable usages and breakthroughs. The time is right to implement a real digital strategy.

We assess that starting another technique isn't generally an alternative; it has become unavoidable.

Digitalization is right now in a cycle of re-evaluating the development business, setting off a general worth movement from the value chain up to the designing and engineering capacity and down to the office, the executives, and the activities of administrations.

It's the right time to adopt a digital solution for the quality management of your construction project. We are here to help you develop this digital quality strategy and keep you updated on the changing and continuously evolving construction industry.

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2. Promoting Digital revolution at construction sites

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Introduction

Did you know that statistical analysis shows that on average a construction worker 40 hours a week works an average of 10-12 hours a week of overtime! Still, the slowest growth noted is in the construction industry. The reason behind this is a reduction in productivity rates of the construction industry. 

Although contributing 5% to the nation's GDP, the Indian construction industry has the slowest growth rate of any other sector in India. This growth rate has been slowly increasing over the last three decades but has faced setbacks due to the global pandemic. 

The reason behind this is many but one of the most critical factors is the minimal use of digital technologies on construction projects. The global pandemic boosted the use of digital technologies in the Indian construction industry. So let us see how construction productivity has increased with the use of digital technology.

Key Content

Productivity is calculated in terms of total work executed with respect to n.. of workers and average hours of work.  

Productivity = Total output / Total work hours 

                  = Total Output / (No. of labors*Average work hours)

Construction productivity is generally in cubic meter/man-hour for concrete, kilograms/ man-hour for reinforcement steel, and square meters/man-hour for masonry, plaster, and tiling work.

The construction productivity calculates the time spent in getting prints, delays due to processing of a request of information, time spent on inspections, and time spent on rework and rescheduling.  Let's see how productivity and efficiency are reduced due to some concerning factors.

As we discussed earlier, man-hours considered in productivity include a wide range of factors. Some of them are listed down below:

Weather Conditions

  • India has a hot and humid climate. Working in very hot weather has both psychological and physiological effects. Psychological effects include restlessness, irritability, and an unenthusiastic approach toward work.  The physiological effect includes heat stroke and heat exhaustion. 
  • This is conditions also affect site professionals. They get tired of doing paperwork due to outside temperatures and sometimes they fill in phony results on the checklist.  Given the conditions, we cannot blame them. 

Market Conditions 

  • The material shortage is one of the most for reduced productivity. Market fluctuations lead to inflation in prices and that, in turn, makes materials less available to all the customers. 
  • Secondary to all this, if the material is ordered and there is no place to store them on-site, it would create a site logistics issue. Even if there is some sort of storage available, dumping material in an inappropriate place would again require laborers to transport them to the desired location. This extra labor would contribute to reduced productivity. 

Design and Procurement 

  • During the design phase, changes are inevitable. But changes during the procurement and execution phase cast cost management money as well as time. This leads to confusion, rework, and frustration among the workforce. 

Construction Management 

  • There are many subtexts to this. But the major subtext is described below.
  • Ineffective Communication: Ineffective communication leads to disruption of the supply chain, wrong material orders, and wrong execution. 
  • Inadequate Planning and Scheduling: Construction management initiatives always lead to a positive work environment and promote productivity. While the opposite, just creates chaos, rework, and reduces enthusiasm. 

Government Policy

  • Government statutory approvals are an inevitable part of a construction project. Though the process to obtain them is tedious and can affect the timeline of a construction project as a whole.

Lack of Training

  • Statistical analysis shows that when workers are properly trained and given the knowledge they contribute to efficient working. But traditional practices don't encourage such practices due to a lack of resources.

Takeaways

The conclusion that can be drawn from this blog post is that there are many ways in which digital technology such as digiQC provides the upper hand to construction professionals. They help them grow and transform their business capacity and help in the advancement of the whole industry.

Critical factors affecting construction productivity can be counteracted with help of digital technologies will increase productivity and efficiency of construction workers.

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3. Promoting sustainability by reducing rework and paperless documentation technique

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Introduction

Do you know that 10 liters of water are wasted in making one sheet of paper? 33-40% of wood is used for paper production which exploits natural forests and leads to environmental depletion. Another fact, paper products contribute to 26% of total waste dumped in landfills.

In addition to all this, the construction industry has the highest contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and exhaust as well as exploit all types of natural resources. But where there is a problem there is also a solution. We need to find a sustainable solution to the extreme use of paper in the construction industry!

But what is sustainability? Often when term sustainability is referred to term sustainable development. Let me illustrate how these terms differ. Sustainability is a long-term goal that generations should follow to maintain quality of life. Sustainable development is a procedure executed at present to maintain quality of life without compromising the future generation's needs.

An answer to the problem stated above is digitizing your paper-based documentation. But let us first understand the ecological impact of paper in depth.

Key Content

Ecological impact of paper

  • According to world count, an Indian on average uses 5 kilos of paper every year.
  • Approximately, 324 liters of water are used to make 1 kilogram of paper. Each ton of paper produced uses 17 trees; 1,440 liters of oil; 2.3 cubic meters of landfill space; 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 26,500 liters of water. 
  • Now think about the population of India and the water wastage and some of the most crucial resources required to sustain life. It was first presumed that the rise in digital technology will lessen the need for paper but instead before 2030 the paper and pulp demand is expected to be doubled. 
  • Now, 42 % of the wood harvest is used for making paper. Doubling demand will put pressure on our forest which is in a very critical state right now. This also means as much waste will be generated as only 45% of paper consumed is recycled.  This means that 55% is dumped in landfills where it rots and produces methane gas which is 25% more toxic than carbon dioxide.

Economical impact of paper

  • The economical footprint of paper is also huge on the organization. From buying plain sheets to owning a printer, filing cabinets for workspaces, and maintaining records as well as storage places for existing documents. 
  • Also, it takes an average of four days to process a document. This is a huge time for the construction industry where every passing hour is crucial to avoid budget overruns. Along with this, irresponsible parties may take more time in documentation to cover up their mistakes. 
  • Along with this multiple copies need to spend on multiple stakeholders. This costs more and is a huge waste as a person will only see ut once and then will be discarded. Think of trees we can save by just eliminating the printing of multiple copies!
  • After seeing the ecological impact of paper, we must take a look at our daily activities involving paper and must try to eliminate the waste. In addition to costing us very valuable natural resources, it cost us money and time. So let us explore the solution and answer to all this. 
  • Digital documents should have been a standard by now but have not progressed. This needs to be changed. We need to stand up against conventional methods that are costing us the health of our planet, the only home we have.

Takeaways

Digitization is one of the important transformation humans needs to embrace in order to promote good quality of life for present and future generations. The forest is not the property of taxpayers only, but also of those indigenous people and animals that reside in heart of them. Thus we can transform to digital documentation and contribute to a noble cause and in turn, gain many benefits for ourselves too. Thus, digital documents help us promote sustainability and help us save from further damaging the planet by the burden of waste paper.

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4. COVID-19 Crisis accelerates Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry 

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Introduction

The construction industry has faced the worst crisis in the recent COVID – 19 pandemics since the global financial crisis in 2008. Hit by supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and project delays. The construction sector has suffered the most due to the pandemic largely and recovery from such a crisis is slow, time and effort will be required to reach the original speed and output.

Formerly known as the brick-and-mortar industry, it's hardened image not to adopt changes quickly has turned around. During the pandemic, digital transformation has accelerated at a pace that experts never expected. One of the big reasons for such a high rate of acceptance was a need for collaboration without visiting sites and to maintain guidelines laid out by the government for the safety of workers. 

In many ways, the pandemic crisis highlighted the defects in the structure and working of the construction industry and how digital technology can be beneficial in resolving these issues. The challenges faced by the construction industry and how digital tools help in resolving them are discussed below.

Following are the criteria that were heavily affected by the pandemic. The challenge indicated problems that workers in the construction industry faced. These can be even handling a simple task as the world was chaotic in these hard times.

The construction industry took a major blow as it included maximum one-on-one time with people. Other industries can function at home with ease, but you cannot supervise the casting of slabs from home. You cannot determine if cover for reinforcement is maintained or not! Such Impossible tasks cannot be solved using any tools, but simpler tasks that can aid bigger tasks and reduce personnel required on site can guarantee a good relief.

Key Content

Assistance provided by digital tools for Supply chain management: 

  • Monitor compliance & reliability of suppliers
  • Data Capturing & Management
  • Increase comprehensive visibility
  • Early warning system for quick response
  • Engage & diversify supplier's portfolio

Assistance provided by digital tools for protecting Health and Safety of staffs: 

  • Scheduling of required staff on-site & office
  • Screening and mandatory testing 
  • Minimizing physical contact by eliminating paperwork & other practices
  • Recording incident that requires audits rather than grouping people on site

Assistance provided by digital tools for Sustainability: 

  • Digital Tools help monitor and control project variables that might fluctuate to create a negative impact. Also, digital tools help in creating paper-free documents and easy transfer of information. The usage of less paper creates a good impact on the environment as well as reduces the hassle of maintaining and renewing documents.

Assistance provided by digital tools for Project Management: 

  • Location-based checklists
  • Witness Required for closing the activity
  • Mandatory drawing photos to be filled
  • Real-time inspection 
  • Real-time audits to ensure safety checks by experts

Assistance provided by digital tools for Quality: 

  • For maintaining quality, digital tools are a great help. Digital tools help in quality management from starting phase till the project is handed out. Surveying is made easier using digital tools. Technologies such as drones and augmented reality have made reconnaissance easier. Cloud technologies have brought more transparency to the workforce and have eliminated the paperwork. The Internet of things has also made remotely operated machinery available, which helps in the execution of tasks by machines where humans are out of reach.

Assistance provided by digital tools for Integration and Collaboration: 

  • Digitals tools are one of the most secure ways to transfer contacts and develop your contact web. This will help in market surveys, feasibility studies, and getting updates on the recent development in the construction industry. The digital tools can also assist in checking vendors' and suppliers' credibility and preparing a detailed report on their quality assurances.

Takeaways

As all the industries are adapting to new technology, the construction industry has shifted its focus from only conventional technologies to modern technologies. Since it is vital to ensure the digital world in the future, the construction industry must adapt itself to these changes and improvise the use of technology for its own benefits.

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5. How Digital Technology in Construction Industry is Changing?

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Introduction

Change is the only thing constant. But the rate of change may vary. An escalation in the rate of change in terms of digital technologies in the construction industry is evident in recent times. Many things are changing and the industry is taking a huge turn towards adopting the latest digital technologies. The outcomes of these changes are remarkable, but the process and the transition is also to be acknowledged.

The construction companies are increasingly using the digital tools to improve their planning and execution, as well as numerous organizations using digitalization, especially the upsides of cell phone use at their wide-going work locales. However, in spite of such acceptance, the construction industry is trailing behind some industries in digitalization.

Considering the fact that a huge digital revolution is expected in the construction industry, which has already been initiated, it becomes important to know how these digital technologies are changing the construction sector. Read through this blog to know this “how”.

Key Content

Improved productivity

  • Construction industry consists of bricks, metals and hardware, heavily dependent on manual labour and huge machinery. And due to this, often the productivity issues are of major concern. The companies are beating the low productivity traps by using the digital tools and techniques on the construction projects. 
  • Not only the labor productivity, but the efficiency of the company employees also govern the company profits. Organizations presently perceiving the requirement for superior communication and data exchange, inside their own authoritative structure as well as with their clients and accomplices. The utilization of sound and web conferencing has become part of the everyday schedule for majority companies and also improves the efficiency of employees.

More comprehensive project planning

  • To the conventional 3 dimensional models of projects, the digital tools now offer on adding 2 more dimensions of cost and schedule to the project models. This 5-D model simplifies the understanding of project scope and design parameters based on geometry, project specifications, and quality requirements. All the stakeholders can come together quickly and analyze the changes and impacts on the construction project.
  • The future can be the augmented reality that includes holographic displays, digital project mapping based on real time progress and site environment.

Predict the overruns

  • The cost and schedule overruns are amongst the common issues faced by the project stakeholders that affect all. Limiting the variances and aligning the cost to the budget baseline is the best solution. Digital tools can help by predicting such overruns prior to the execution phase so that during the actual construction it becomes easy to pull the actual lines close to the planned baselines.
  • A predictability metrics that eliminates the guesswork in the project can be obtained by the use of Enterprise Project Performance. It provides an oversight to the project team that is delivering the most predictive activities on a construction project. The project team can also be rewarded on their performance through the use of this digital tool.

Improved safety and quality

  • Safety should be the first priority. Compared to other industries, construction risks are major and pose harm to human life. It has always been a concerned parameter on a construction project. As more physical work is involved, it exposes workers to greater risks and safety concerns. Mobile apps are made available on few projects to oversee the worksite safety and record the safety functions. Use of such applications has made the safety inspection jobs less tedious. 
  • Moreover, 3D models and technologies like BIM help in virtually visiting the worksite and highlight the areas of major safety concerns that can be planned to eliminate or minimize the risk involved. 
  • Same goes with the quality of the construction projects. digiQC is a great digital solution for all your quality related programmes. It simplifies the quality inspection of the project and can earn you higher profits.

Better collaboration and mobility

  • A paperless workflow and better decision-making functions are a result of streamlined collaboration. This can be achieved by the emerging and the most popular digital tool of Building Information Modelling (BIM), that brings all the project stakeholders on the same platform. 
  • Many applications are developed for collaboration and mobility that imparts remarkable results for project success. It can deliver real time changes, maintain a master set of documents that can be accessed by the project team, do time tracking, perform cost coding and keep all the stakeholders updated with the project information.
  • This makes a strong collaboration between the project related parties and can minimize the schedule overruns and streamline the process of information exchange.

Optimizing worksite performance

  • The eventual fate of development will unquestionably observe a greater amount of the decision making jobs given off to intelligent digital tools and the gadgets that will make sudden spike in demand for it. For worker wellbeing, information security, and profitability, the construction project demands the best expectations of execution conceivable.
  • Better monitoring can also be done by using digital tools, which will in turn result in the optimizing performance on the construction sites. All such benefits, combined together makes the digitalization a complete package that will ensure project success.

Takeaways

Construction is a thriving industry and is set to remain so for years to come. With the worldwide populace development and truly developing requirement for homes in which to accommodate individuals, framework development and redevelopment, numerous organizations and private people are putting resources into the construction sector.

The constant change and evolution becomes necessary for such industries. Therefore it becomes important to learn about the changes that these emerging technologies are about to bring to the industry. In sum, the construction sector is good to go with the newly budding digital tools making positive changes. So, do invest in smart options and choose the digital way towards expanding your company and making more profits.

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6. digiQC vs. Paper-based: Comparing prevalent quality control methods 

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Introduction

Isn’t quality the ultimate measure of performance? Indeed, it is! The quality of the product gives us an impression of how indulgent was the service provider towards the assigned task.

In this blog, I indulged myself with two prevalent quality control methods, to see the positives, negatives, and grey areas in these methods adopted widely throughout the construction industry. 

I used the following criteria to evaluate the methods:

  • Value
  • Decision-making 
  • Data retrievability
  • Authenticity
  • Rectification procedures
  • Risk mitigation time-lapse 
  • Non-conformance cost 
  • Usage ease

There are many more parameters that are identified that are used here for evaluation. But first, let’s understand what is quality control and how it is part of a bigger system of quality management. 

Key Content

When a construction contract is awarded, management & inspection systems are set up & are placed in the system to ensure the quality is in accordance with the requirement of the project owner. 

These frameworks help the stakeholders to monitor the activities & identify problems along with planning solutions to a given problem. Checklists and inspections are done by on-site engineers and experts to make sure that the quality of the project is as per the standard required. 

Conventional systems used paper-based systems & experts visit site for overall quality control. In this system, after work is executed on site, the quality checks are done & are subsequently assessed by experts. The main drawback here is it takes a long time to be reviewed by an expert.

If a QC fails & the management is notified, the construction phase has effectively progressed to the following stage. This results in wastage of resources & costs the management their valuable time & money.

One of the many problems encountered during this process is altering of reports & lack of accountability. These are huge problems & affect the unwavering quality of the organization. As the checklists and other resources to be filled for quality control are paper-based, they can be modified effectively by anyone at any level. 

This generally drives the absence of responsibility when the administration is attempting to find the responsible party. It costs a huge amount of time to identify the party in question while the project has come to an abrupt stop. 

Paper-based checklists get fixed & obsolete. These checklists are common for a specific item & cannot be changed as per different requirements. This tends to be a problem in a project with various kinds of predetermined things. Additionally, keeping up records for similar work process are not associated. Different stages of activities are reviewed by isolated individuals, the paper-based trail is hard to connect.  The capacity of reports likewise is an issue as they are liable to be lost, stolen, damaged, or misplaced.  

All the on-site activities are carried out with aid of construction drawings. These drawings are subject to alteration due to changes in architectural & structural designs. Drawings can be mishandled & activity is potentially completed using the old design. This results in severe quality control failure along with the disrupted timeline. Also, an audit requires in-person review which reduces the frequency.

These factors raise some serious questions about using the conventional way of quality control for project owners. Even though the project is well-planned, failure in quality control leads to reconstruction & financial instability. 

The quality control using such an outdated method is high risk due to communication gaps, language barriers & misplacement of important documents. Though the solution lies in front of us in form of digital technology. Advancements in artificial intelligence can be used for the development of quality control tools. 

But what is the solution for such a stated problem? As witnessed by the construction industry, the aftermath of such problems is catastrophic. Let me give you an example. 

Earlier in construction, we used mild steel reinforcement for countering the tensile stress on structures. The flaw if the system was exposed during the catastrophic earthquake of Gujarat in 2001. In the aftermath, structural engineers come together to find out the solution for these. They increased the grip of reinforcement steel by providing ribs and grooves. Today we see HYSD bars are the most prevalent choice for RCC Construction 

Although quality control is one of the important criteria, it is yet to be benefitted from digital evolution. Quality control is still carried out using a conventional method which has numerous flaws in its design. Innovations & new businesses are using this opportunity for their potential benefit & are bringing digital evolution to the construction industry.

Special focus: Quality control through digiQC

Individuals have adopted digital technology in many forms. Automation & digital tools are being used from the beginning of the project to the very end. As we know quality control is an important aspect of the development process, and there is a need for digital tools in this field. 

digiQC is such a tool developed by Spaceify Technologies PVT LTD. DigiQC is cloud-based software that inspects on-site work in real-time. It is available for both iOS & Android users. 

digiQC has two platforms namely a web module & mobile app. The web module is for set-up, monitoring & analysis to be used by project managers & executives for audits, quality checks & rectifying any problems occurring in the workforce. While on the other hand mobile app is used by projector engineers & supervisors for onsite quality control.

digiQC helps at different stages of Quality Management. During the planning stages, it provides project owners & management personnel to establish the timeline & set up a checklist along with guidelines & criteria for certain activities. During quality assurance, it helps set up guidelines for a specific item that is to be produced along with the production time & quality to be achieved. 

Quality Control is the stronghold of digiQC. It helps solve all the problems that are faced by project owners while using traditional quality control. It has cloud-based storage which is accessible through a mobile app only by authorized personnel. It provides tamperproof real-time inspections & photos. 

Customized checklists are available & step-wise inspection reports remain together. It has the feature of uploading drawings wherever required in the checklist. Also, audits can be made remotely & more frequently. This adds to the advantage that whenever QC fails, management facilities & project owners are notified instantly. It also helps in the identification of responsible parties & the actions to be taken for rectification of the flaw. 

digiQC provides optimal solutions through real-time data collection & analysis. It makes data remotely accessible to every person in the commend chain & reduces the possibility of rework & wastage. digiQC is one-step solution to better quality control & regulation on site.

Takeaways

The stated facts give proof that digital tools such as digiQC has a great benefit over conventional systems. High-quality output through these is setting higher expectations among clients & workforce. As people are becoming more aware they are now preferring higher standards of quality management to reduce rework & loss. Training requirements to use digital technologies are also given attention. This upgradation of the construction industry from using a paper-based system to digital tools is long overdue. It will lead to digitalization of the development sector along with enhanced construction quality & time management. 

Not able to find the details you’re looking for? Get in touch with our team of technologically-sound experts who can help you digitize your construction processes.

If you seek a digital tool that does this work for you, schedule a demo for digiQC and understand how it can help you shift to the digital mode within a few taps.

Learn more about digiQC here.

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