The speed of digital innovation is breathtaking. Mobile communications and software for construction management have revolutionized the business for building contractors. Today, project managers are linked to the office from their air-conditioned, Wi-Fi hotspot crew cab with a laptop and smartphone. General contractors, subcontractors and crews can see revised plans and discuss the construction tasks at hand, over the phone, all on the same page, whether it is a PDF on a tablet, laptop or large smartphone.
With mobile devices and advanced construction software, everyone is on the same digital page at the same time. Revised drawings are instantly distributed between offices and jobsites via Wi-Fi or cellular signals. Digital pictures of construction progress and building issues are shared with the team instantly. Revised plans are distributed electronically from laptops to tablets and smartphones. The revised plans are compared with the previous version with overlays on a screen with changes highlighted in blue. A new list of materials are summed up. The team discusses the revisions as if they were all at the same table and get right to work.
Traditional construction management is fading away
Compare the digital way with old school construction management: Back at the office, shelves are filled with notebooks, spreadsheets, invoices, rolls of blueprints and dog-eared sheets of hand-signed price quotes for current projects.
Revised drawings are printed and distributed by car, driven to subcontractors over the next day. Each subcontractor spreads out the new set with the last set and meticulously studies, marks up and calculates new quantities. Price quotes are requested for the new materials and collected by phone or fax during the next 48 hours. The revised blueprints and schedule are driven to the jobsites. This can lead to a gap of up to four days.
Traditional methods have worked like this for decades, with painfully slow decision-making and communication breakdowns. This leads to misunderstandings, wasted work, crew and materials delays, and sometimes expensive rework.
Following are examples of these slow, manual and inefficient processes.
- Poor communications: The team doesn’t communicate enough. There are remote Wi-Fi connectivity issues. They don’t talk about details in a timely manner. Calls are not returned. Sometimes crews go full speed ahead without fully understanding critical issues.
- Haphazard project tracking: The project manager uses the original bid to track labor and production. They guess about productivity and labor with notes on a clipboard. If asked, they don’t know what percentage of the project is complete.
- Price changes: Labor costs or higher-grade material costs may rise between the bid (made six weeks earlier) and the construction phase.
- Missed blueprint revisions: If the crew builds something wrong by following an old version of drawings, they will have to tear it down and build it again. Most likely you’ll end up paying for it twice.
- Scope creep: Small changes in plans, if not documented, can add up to unplanned labor and material costs and a big chunk taken out of your profits.
Transitioning to a powerful and productive workforce
Digital mobile solutions: The Oasis Platform with Oasis Takeoff® and Oasis FieldCenter® is On Center’s cloud-based software foundation. Projects are synched and instantly accessible in the cloud. Team members can access drawings and data and collaborate with field notes, photos and punch list items—anywhere, anytime, from offices in New York to jobsites in Florida. Even BIM 3-D screenshots are shared with construction teams today.
Receive a free demo of our Oasis Platform and see how it can make your team stronger.
Transform your work SUV or pickup into your mobile office with Oasis Platform
You are no longer at the mercy of the jobsite trailer for internet connectivity. Major car manufacturers now offer Wi-Fi hotspots and 4G mobile communications. The Ram 1500 has a Wi-Fi hotspot option. Ford added built-in high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot capability and SYNC Connect to several models. Chevrolet cars and trucks with OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspots now have access to an unlimited prepaid data plan starting at $20 per month. Toyota has an option of a USB 2.0 port with iPod® connectivity and control. You crew cab is a high-tech hub.
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