Construction Data Capture for Owners
August 07, 2012
Today’s owners have a tall task at hand in the form of program and project management and ongoing facilities management. As projects become more complex and partners are brought onto a project earlier, the amount of data that exists on a job is growing exponentially each year. This is requiring the use of software for detailed data capture.
For example, on healthcare construction projects, with more high-tech equipment than in years past, general contractors and subs need to manage the influx of data related to the technology-advanced buildings. As another example, on education construction projects, managing the information associated with annual bond programs can be vital to overall success of the project.
With 3,600 students in 10 school campuses, including six elementary schools, two middle schools, an alternative school, and high school, Burlington School District, www.bsdvt.org, Burlington, Vt., has an annual bond program, which requires the capital projects division to manage maintenance projects including updating fire alarm systems and electrical systems to improve energy efficiency and physical accessibility.
In order to manage the proliferation of data on these projects, the district recently announced it plans to use Web-based construction-management software to track project costs, improve communication, and securely store information such as documents and drawings. The organization can even use the system—which is Projectmates from Systemates, www.projectmates.com, Dallas, Texas—to automate the workflow related to contract change management and pay application approvals.
Through a Web browser, the school system can access information at the office or in the field and on a variety of devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
While this is just one example, owners are faced with a need to manage data more effectively, and this trend is trickling down to all partners—architects, contractors, subcontractors, and more. At turnover, teams will more often be required to provide data from the project to the owner in an electronic format, and in some cases might be required to even turn over the BIM (building information modeling) as part of the package.
How does a large public owner evaluate technology? Which partners does it choose to work with, and what are the technology ramifications to such relationships? This year’s Technology Day conference will include a panel discussion that aims to answer all of these questions, providing a platform for owners, contractors, and subcontractors to discuss future requirements for the use of technology on projects.
Also, with the proliferation of data on schooling projects specifically, the Sept/Oct issue of Constructech magazine will take an in-depth dive into technology trends in the education construction market.
For construction teams, a big consideration going forward is how can data be captured and shared with the appropriate project participants and then filtered to the owner at turnover. As teams rally together around this idea, software is advancing to provide the means with which to do this.