Cloud Tools Help Get Work Done
Posted: July 31, 2020 | Estimating
As 2020 grinds to the half-way point, we already know this year’s dominant story will be how COVID-19 has changed the construction industry. For a business built on handshakes and casual one-on-one conversations, the concept of remote work and social distancing has been a foreign concept for many to embrace.
If you’re like a lot of construction pros, your new normal may have involved working from the kitchen table or holding preconstruction meetings in parking lots. As a result, you’ve faced more than a few productivity challenges and unexpected distractions — like barking dogs, ringing doorbells, and maybe kids running through the house.
Remote Work Runs on the Cloud
No matter where your work gets done these days, there are still quantities to count, bids to complete, pre-bid conferences to attend, and start dates to evaluate for projects already in the pipeline.
Ready for some good news? Cloud-based technology and tools can help everyone in construction when it comes to making remote work a lot more seamless — whether you’re in the middle of a pandemic, or just starting your day early from home.
In fact, you are probably already using many cloud tools to collaborate and communicate between the field and the office. Just look down to that smartphone or tablet in your hand and the cloud-based web apps — from email to file-sharing platforms, to chat and team meeting apps. These include everything from Gmail to iCloud and from Slack to Teams. If you’ve ever connected to your work email at Starbucks, you’ve already experienced the power of accessing your data in the cloud.
Here’s another example: Windows updates that occur seamlessly in the background where all you need to do is log-in to your account. Even better, these robust cloud tools automatically come with disaster recovery. For example, Gmail offers data encryption during transfer and storage.
As more and more preconstruction jobs rely on technology and data optimization, it’s hard to imagine a construction role that is untouched by cloud software and mobile apps. To that point, the 2019 Technology in Preconstruction Report found that those who tether themselves to spreadsheets and file cabinets will struggle to implement new technology.
Why Choose Cloud Technology
With cloud-based technology and tools, the benefits are many: from mobility to accuracy of digital project data. These tools can ultimately help you level the playing field in the short term and when facing any long-term economic impacts. With cloud tools, you can gain seamless integration for applications across your construction project workflows; plus you get robust security and data storage.
Using cloud technology, general contractors and subcontractors can maintain closer relationships with crew members and head off any miscommunication. This will save your business time and money — a win-win in boom or bust times. Especially when you consider that McKinsey & Co. found that most large construction projects are typically completed 80% over budget and take 20% longer than originally scheduled, according to their 2016 report.
Construction tech companies who are developing these tools have one goal in mind: delivering a faster, more efficient experience. Some construction pros are already using more advanced cloud-based technologies to manage all their preconstruction workflows from a single platform. No matter the economic climate, these tools make it easier to build stronger relationships and increase collaboration between all parties.
For example, cost estimators often discover it’s much easier for the whole team to stay on the same page and work collaboratively in real-time when using cloud-based takeoff tools. If everyone has visibility into revisions during your takeoff, it’s easier (and faster) to see what has changed from one drawing to the next. With cloud-based systems, your bid team can make sure everyone is working on the most up-to-date plans and can quickly see what has changed from one drawing to the next.
Faster Cloud Infrastructure
With cloud-based tools, you can also expect an infrastructure that is both fast and agile. One way this is accomplished is by using load-balanced servers in different geographic locations. Whether searching for a project to bid or completing a cloud-based takeoff, you can expect your applications to scale quickly.
Compared to a traditional server environment, construction tech firms can use the cloud to create an infrastructure where servers are constantly modified in place with new code and configuration files tweaked on a server by-server basis.
By hosting construction data, network, and tools in the cloud, tech companies can ensure a quicker recovery time; tools can quickly be redeployed instead of having to dig through computer logs.
Cloud Tools to the Rescue
No doubt, COVID-19 caught many contractors flatfooted. For example, some estimators didn’t have laptops to take home or their virtual private networks (VPNs) were never designed to handle large numbers of remote workers.
For those working remotely going forward, many will find that cloud software and tools can make it easier to find project leads, perform takeoffs, create estimates, and submit bids. Even better, cloud tech can help when exploring new areas of work, procuring subs, organizing bids, and executing on projects — whether working from your home office or not.
If you’d like to learn more about how cloud-based takeoff tools can help your business, check out ConstructConnect Takeoff now.
About the Author: Conley Smith is a senior business writer with ConstructConnect. She has been writing about technology and its impact on business for more than 20 years.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay