Software and the Dark Ages of Construction

Tech11 10 2018, by Josh Schumann

Brian Kostiuk 252865 Unsplash Copy

The Dark Ages

Construction and the art of building things is by no means a new idea. Humans (and animals) have been doing it for thousands of years and doing a good job too. However, as our inspiration has grown so have our buildings. What used to be just a shelter has now evolved into multi million pound high rise buildings. With costs and ideas spiralling now more than ever the attention to detail and the organisation of a project have become so much more important.

Project management software has been around for a while now. Many different industries use some version to help aid and assist the employees. Those two words are the key here “help and assist” Whilst it would be great (perhaps) if a software could effectively do your job at this stage, you still have a job to do.

There is always resistance to change, humans are not always the quickest to adapt to new things. The saying “Why fix what isn’t broken” is often touted when speaking to people about software in the construction industry. And answering is easy;

  • Do you break concrete by hand or with an electric breaker?
  • Would you rather use a crane to lift a 5tonne beam or carry it on your back?
  • Still hammering each nail one by one, or do you have a nail gun?

Note how none of the above examples actually do the job for you. They all assist and make your life easier and quicker. Which is why when faced with the idea of software assistance the construction industry should be jumping at the idea.

The Future is here….and its slowly getting brighter

In an age of information overload the amount of emails, documents drawings, specifications, reviews, inspections one requires is quite frankly getting out of hand.

Managing drawings is a pain! There can be thousands of drawings for one job. Imagine if these could all be organised automatically. Imagine a world where old drawings changed for new drawings and you could summon these where ever and whenever you want…and draw on it yourself!

In a perfect world we would never forget anything, never need reminding to do something and never feel lazy one afternoon and procrastinate. Until we get there, we do need reminding of things. Emails are a great tool, but its very easy to ignore or forget. Imagine if you had a gentle reminder of someone’s question? Something that if not answered quickly may cause you weeks of delay? That world is here. And whilst some may feel abused by the nagging, if everyone is working in unison then that should never be the case.

It’s not actually that scary

As software develops so does the understanding of the people behind the code. There are now dedicated construction related software’s, built by the people for the people. Its incredibly specific to the industry. The software is designed to try and manage and filter your workload.

Whilst it will take a little learning to change the stubborn brain, nothing good ever came from not trying. Surely the first time someone used an electric breaker or nail gun all hell broke loose!

It has been a great experience watching completely un-techy people smile as they come around to using software. As they slowly realise the benefits of getting a computer to do the hard work. No longer do they need to sort, filter, file and find. All the information they need is readily available at the click of a button, or push of the thumb. The role of a project manager can slowly move away from being an over qualified desk clerk and return to making sure his site is safe, on time, in budget and of the highest quality.

The age of paper is dead. Long live the microchip.