Construction Innovation: 4 Tools To Help You Succeed

By Nick Mirisis on February 18, 2021
Tags: Construction

Construction projects and the construction industry stand to benefit from access to various innovative technology tools.  Construction companies that integrate real-time data and analytics can leverage automation to improve safety, decision-making, and knowledge management. This intelligence is critical for the protection and optimization of human resources and building materials allocation. In a traditional model, construction companies use daily reports, inspections, timecards/timesheets, and work orders as components of the construction process. Using these tools requires time and effort to incorporate into workflows on a construction site functionally. With cutting-edge construction technology, companies can automate data capture to monitor key metrics and improve the bottom-line. Companies in the construction sector need to incorporate digital tools and positively disrupt their current workflows to stay competitive in the market. We identified four specific digital tools to help construction companies streamline operations. 

Daily Reports

Daily reports utilized on construction sites are necessary to track construction jobs’ ongoing progress while also documenting job site disruptions and safety concerns. These reports typically include information populated by a manager, foreman, project manager, or other senior personnel to create a summary of the day-to-day progress on a job site. The elements in different reports can vary significantly from one construction daily report to another. Some may note weather and site conditions, while others can list the critical construction items completed that day and provide notes about the work done. Generally, daily reports summarize significant accomplishments onsite, materials and equipment used, subcontractors onsite, personnel attendance, safety incidents, or building defects and exceptions. 

Most construction companies today use traditional daily paper-based daily reports. However, it can be difficult to extract usable data based on these reports because it requires a time-consuming manual process and is prone to human error. These reports can provide a record of the construction project that can address stakeholders’ concerns or effectuate compliance with OSHA requirements. Companies can use GoCanvas daily reports to reveal trends in construction projects and more accurately predict project lifecycle. It’s easier to manage the construction process and make real-time decisions if data capture is automated and visualized.

Inspections

Construction inspections are vital to operations and safety. They also need to be custom-built to the specific needs of a project. In many cases, pre-built templates may not work. Some inspections may run through a checklist covering site access or PPE, while others may focus on project details like equipment or building inspections. A significant problem with traditional construction inspection methodologies is the static nature of these forms and the absence of real-time data to inform key stakeholders and the construction process. With GoCanvas’ inspection tools, construction companies can undertake a more dynamic approach to construction site inspections. The customizable nature of GoCanvas’ tools means building- or job-specific inspections can improve performance and insights. For example, GoCanvas can integrate images of blueprints or 3D models of buildings or construction plans into the inspection app. Users can follow prompts to specific construction project components that require inspection.  Users can differentiate between various types of structures with specific inspection requirements into one or more GoCanvas apps. For example, residential home inspection requirements will differ from the inspection requirements for an industrial facility construction site. Real-time data can highlight problems in the construction process or unfinished items to redirect workflows to enable the successful completion of jobs in a timely and efficient manner.

Timecards/Timesheets

Construction companies often track multiple employees, workers, and subcontractors on a job site. Traditional use of timecards or timesheets typically required employees to punch-in or punch-out, or rely on self-reported timesheets. One problem with paper-based timesheets is they can are vulnerable to false data (writing down an earlier time for arrival at the job site) and cumbersome to add to a payroll or human capital management system. With dynamic timecards and timesheets offered by GoCanvas, construction workers can either enter time manually with date/time-stamped entries or use GPS functionality to check-in when they arrive at a job site. Workers can then check-out when they leave with an integrated time-stamp used to calculate hours worked. This process saves time and money and ensures records are accurate. It also minimizes the time required to submit payroll or contractor pay through human resources departments. GoCanvas directly integrates with Quickbooks but can also work with other payroll systems and solutions.

Work Orders

Construction work orders provide vital functions on a job site. They can effectuate contracts, summarize work to be completed, track information about individuals who request or authorize work, request required services and job elements, note the tools or materials needed, and more. Paper-based work orders require multiple layers of review and approval for submission, and typically, an order may execute only once materials, labor, and equipment are secured. Companies can quickly and easily achieve approvals with GoCanvas’ digital work orders. The requisitioning of materials, labor, and equipment can take place automatically and with far less effort than is required with traditional paper-based work orders. GoCanvas can utilize Java and .NET frameworks with the APIs of popular project management systems to effectively couple real-time data with automation to ensure work orders are integrated more efficiently into the construction process.