Big Data for Big Gains in Construction


Big data is the new competitive advantage for construction companies large or small. Every day, data is being produced and shared across all mediums. The term big data is about making sense of all of your data and analyzing it to make smart, useful business decisions for your company. It’s putting information together, and connecting dots that were not connected in the past.

Once thought only to be useful or financially accessible for large corporations, big data analysis can be a secret weapon for construction companies, giving insight into many aspects of the business. A few years ago, a study showed that analytics is creating a clear divide between the have-datas and the have-no-datas. Being part of the former helps you be more automated, productive, and competitive.

Small construction firms benefit from big data

As we progress into everything digital, there is endless opportunity to use data to transform construction companies of all sizes into business powerhouses. Advances in user interfaces and automation have removed the barriers, making it an affordable investment for company growth.

Analytics in construction is gathered from sensors, wearables, smartphones, equipment, and more. Gathered by BIM and construction software management like Viewpoint, it can enhance productivity, safety, and efficiency on the job. Linking up all the moving parts that go into a build is essential, and using big data and integrated systems allows all stakeholders on a project to see real-time updates and changes, keeping things on target and on budget.

Big data allows projects to achieve this by providing insights from various sources such as jobsites, materials, work time, and more. In the construction industry, 35 percent of costs are found to be material waste and busy work. By using intelligent data, construction companies can gain valuable insights to improve cost, avoid potential problems, and look for efficient improvement opportunities. Diving deep into a data set allows managers to easily assess a situation from time management to material forecasting.

Opportunities for big data in construction

Construction firms are turning to analytics to look at everything from design to pre-construction analysis and data management. Big data is already being utilized in the design-build-operate lifecycle. Analyzing environmental data, stakeholder input, and even social media information can help architects and contractors determine what and where to build. Historical data can be analyzed to pick out patterns and probabilities of construction risks to steer new projects toward success and away from pitfalls. This information can help usher a smooth relationship between every party in the build, from architects to engineers to contractors and subcontractors.

Big data can also help in equipment and asset management, by keeping tabs on what equipment is where, helping to anticipate maintenance, and help with planning where to move tools between jobsites. Sensors on these items not only track and optimize, but gather data for analysis. In addition, sensors can report up-to-the-minute stressors on building performance, limiting wasted resources.

For project managers, identifying problems before they surface can eliminate massive expenses. Big data can be an invaluable partner for safety, workforce, and quality assurance control. Analyzing the information you’re already gathering every day can help your construction company dive deep into details to enable well-informed decisions on a consistent basis.

How is your firm using big data in construction? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, or reach out to us anytime to explore Viewpoint’s entire portfolio of construction software solutions.