Three of the biggest efficiency and profitability hurdles for today’s construction firms are producing accurate bids, getting paid faster and improving risk management.
Many firms are stuck in old workflow systems that silo data and only perpetuate and compound the problems. They may know that technology can help but are unsure where to begin.
“The biggest hurdle is getting past the barrier of ‘We’ve done it this way for years, so why should we change?’” says Kyle Tarr, Senior Business Manager for AEC at FARO Technologies. “It’s tough to get people to do something different.”
But a growing number of savvy contractors are finding a way to change that dynamic with a user-friendly technology that may already be in use — reality capture technology. Reality capture employs easy-to-use hardware such as 360-degree cameras and laser scanners to capture the physical world and put it in a digital space. Once there, software and systems can create a single source of truth based on real-time data that helps firms solve long-standing problems — and gain new efficiencies.
Here are three key ways reality capture tech leads to more accurate bids, faster payments and fewer workplace injuries:
1. Increase bid accuracy
As many as nine out of 10 construction projects faced cost overruns due to bidding mistakes often related to not understanding the site. That’s because bid teams often have limited time to make notes, take measurements and assess site conditions leading to bids based on best guesses and gut feelings. Teams can use reality capture tech such as 360° cameras and laser scans to gather complete existing site condition data and then take the necessary time to analyze and assess it back at the office in a virtual environment. That way, everyone is looking at the same data, and if questions arise, experts can be brought in to offer more analysis and expertise. “That’s going to result in having much more accurate and competitive bids because you’re not adding in extras for unknowns,” Tarr adds. “Having some actual data is going to give a huge advantage over the competition.”
2. Get paid quicker and more seamlessly with construction documentation and proof of delivery
A full 86% of construction firms blame late payments on productivity declines. Usually, the hold ups are due to a need for more accurate field data. Reality capture tech such as 360° cameras make it easy to show everyone project milestones necessary for clear invoicing. Photos are time stamped and geo-tagged for easy organization and can even be dropped directly on the floor plan. “It’s a huge time savings over using iPhone photos,” Tarr says.
“And you can use the 360° photos to say, ‘Yes I did complete the work.’ That gives everyone the confidence to release payments, which is key to getting paid faster.”
3. Improve risk management with fewer injuries and proactive hazard assessment
To offset $50,000 in losses from injuries, illnesses, or damage and still make a 3% profit, a company must sell an additional $1,667,000 in services. Reality capture tech reduces injuries because it provides site visibility to risk managers who can’t always be in the field such as regional or territory safety managers. Those managers can look at reality capture data, quickly identify hazards and proactively avoid them. The same data can be used to map out safety plans and review procedures using real time conditions. For example, Tarr says that when installing something like a high-risk curtain wall, 360° photos and laser scans can show the position of cranes and material and potential hazards before work begins. “By planning it out and walking through it with reality capture, you can set expectations and make sure everyone is on board with doing the right thing,” he says. “We’ve identified hazards before any worker goes on site and starts putting themselves into a potentially risky situation. We can pre-empt an injury, which is what we all really want.”