This article was originally published to the Dexter + Chaney blog on January 28, 2016.
Time is money. And in no industry does this phrase ring more true than in the field of construction. Project managers must work tirelessly to ensure that projects stay on schedule so they can be completed on time. These days, construction project management is made a bit easier through the use of innovative technologies that can aid them in keeping jobs progressing smoothly.
If you have mobile devices, the availability of Wi-Fi on the job site greatly improve overall communication; when workers have a question, mobile devices allow them to easily access the blueprints they need, along with a quick e-mail to the project supervisor or architect to get their question answered. No need to leave the job site. Bonus: with job site Wi-Fi, workers don’t have use their data or minutes to make updates!
Tool Inventory Systems
One aspect of construction site management where technology has helped is that of tool inventory systems. These systems make it easier to keep track of tools and equipment on each job site using a system of barcodes and barcode readers. For example, tool inventory systems can utilize cloud-computing software that allows project managers to track the location of all equipment and tools remotely. As a result, there is less of a chance of equipment going missing, and all construction workers are held more accountable for taking care of expensive tools and equipment. This not only saves construction companies time but money as well.
This kind of software can also be used to keep construction equipment properly maintained. For example, project managers can set up a calibration and inspection schedule for each piece of equipment, which makes it easier to stay in-line with OSHA and other agency regulations.
A job site is only as efficient as its workers, and workers who have been on their feet too long or who don't have the necessary equipment available to them aren't able to perform their jobs as efficiently as possible. To resolve this problem, many project managers have begun implementing equipment sensor technology, which can track everything from a worker's body temperature to the number of hours the worker has been on his or her feet each day. Usually, this is done by giving each worker a wearable sensor that's connected either wirelessly or through Bluetooth to a central application or network.
This technology also affords managers the ability to know where their workers are at all times. One study even found that these wearable sensors can also help to detect the onset of carbon monoxide poisoning by warning workers when carbon monoxide levels were dangerously high in their work area. In this sense, this type of technology could potentially save workers' lives in addition to improving construction site management.
In the mining industry, equipment sensors attached to man-operated machinery have also been used to detect worker fatigue through the use of infrared cameras, resulting in safer work conditions for all employees.
Of course, not all workers are thrilled with the idea of being monitored at all times, so companies thinking about implementing this kind of technology must be prepared to explain the reasoning and benefits (such as improved safety and efficiency) behind such decisions.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the technologies used on construction sites to keep projects on schedule, but it does cover some of the most common ones used today. With the use of technologies such as project management software, sensors, and tool inventory systems, construction companies are able to deliver better results to their clients while potentially saving some money in the process.