The construction industry has been traditionally slow to adopt new technologies. Challenges such as the lack of strong data connections at construction sites, dynamic and variable environments on-site, and scalability issues limit technology implementation. Thin profit margins have undoubtedly made investing in digital innovation difficult in recent years, but the productivity-boosting effects of digitalization are gradually being realised. The latest technologies such as artificial intelligence, digital twins, robotics, and building information modelling (BIM) are increasingly becoming adopted in the construction industry. Digitalisation for construction is multi-faceted and imperative to project management, automation, and collaboration of staff, among other areas. The adoption of cloud computing to process and organise the substantial volume of data from construction processes has facilitated the beginning of the digitalisation wave.
The benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing can be used to store and manage large amounts of data and digital files, such as blueprints, designs, project plans, and operational data, in a centralised location. This can make it easier for construction teams to access and share this information, improving collaboration and coordination among team members. Moving away from using paper-based systems for data management will improve the accuracy and efficiency of company processes.
Additionally, cloud-based tools can provide construction teams with access to advanced digital technologies such as BIM and 3D modelling, which can help the team identify potential issues and make necessary changes early in the design process. These tools save time and reduce the risk of errors, improving the design and planning of construction projects. By providing access to digital tools and data storage, cloud computing can help construction companies improve their digital capabilities and stay competitive in an increasingly digital world.
An essential tool for collaboration
Cloud computing can help with collaboration in the construction industry by providing a central platform for storing and sharing project-related data and documents such as plans, specifications, drawings, and operational data. This can make it easier for teams to access the latest version of a document or project plan and collaborate on projects in real time. By storing operational data generated by equipment and workers, it is possible to automate predictive maintenance processes, which improves collaboration between stakeholders. For instance, by automatically ordering replacement parts when it is statistically highly likely that a piece of equipment will break down.
Cloud technology can coordinate multi-site construction, enabling individuals and organisations to work on multiple projects in different locations and share information. This also helps streamline a project by tracking responsibility for tasks, so reducing confusion or conflict. For example, using cloud-based project management software such as Microsoft’s SharePoint, teams can share and update project schedules, budgets, and other critical project information in real-time, which can help ensure that everyone is working off the same set of data and is aligned on project goals. This improves team productivity and helps to reduce the risk of errors and delays, which can result from traditional paper-based systems and manual inputting. Additionally, cloud computing can also provide tools for online communication and collaboration such as instant messaging and video conferencing to make it easier for team members to effectively stay in touch and work together.