Efficiency describes how well and how fast a person or a team can carry out given tasks. For construction, efficiency is measured by how well a project can be implemented without a hitch.
Construction is quite complex. In order to deliver efficiently, every worker involved in a project must work in sync. A slight shift from the original plan can cause a great deal of inconvenience.
Going over budget and going off schedule are disadvantageous for construction project managers. It's surprising how much even change orders can cost a construction firm. They have a substantial negative impact on productivity.
Efficiency in a project is threatened by a lack of trust within the industry. The supply chain is extensively fragmented and the documented contracts are quite fragile.
Those two things affect the bottom line of a company. Workers and contractors have to work together to overcome these threats.
A number of factors can help smoothen efficiency. Communication and technology are at the very top of the rung.
This article will show you 5 ways to avoid falling into the trap of poor project execution
5 Ways to Improve Construction Efficiency Across All Your Projects
1. Increased digitization
Digital technology has brought a lot of change to the industry. There are now many pieces of construction software available for different purposes. They are enabling people in the office and on the field to work smarter, harder and faster.
Increasing the scope of digitalization within the construction industry should be prioritized.
Construction management software serves a lot of purposes. It helps organize your tasks and can also spare you the trouble of excess paperwork.
The tasks construction management software can take care of include billing, invoicing, timesheets, bid management, job scheduling, and lots more.
Management software can also maintain a digital filing system. This acts like a physical filing system. However, instead of folders and stacks of papers, we have digital documents. These documents are stored digitally in folders--from copies of mechanics liens, contracts, and receipts. When needed, they can be easily searched for and retrieved.
Before choosing a particular piece of software, try to study the existing process and see how it can be improved upon by the software you have in mind.
Those types of construction software with mobile apps are relatively easier to use. They're even better when you can host them in the clouds.
2. Standardization of construction processes
Standardization is the practice of creating standards to guide specific construction processes. These standard modules are based on the past observations and experiences of construction workers.
Standardization helps in the development of effective modules and even the prefabrication process.
Construction companies are advised to identify a process that works for them and stick with it. This way, projects have a preset mode of operations. Standardization fuels predictability. When a team knows exactly what to do and how, they can execute their tasks faster and easier.
Standardization helps to improve construction processes. How? It keeps track of the weak spots; repetition helps to identify the flaw in a system. This way, when seeking to adopt new digital tools, you know exactly what to seek for.
When you find the right tools to improve your set modules, you get better results.
3. Good communication and team building
Communication forges the foundation for every good relationship. Even work relationships are threatened by a lack of communication.
To improve efficiency, you must be available to interact with your crew. Team members have to know that they can approach you with their different observations or opinions about the project.
Daily feedback from your project supervisors is essential. Various types of management software are available to also boost communication among team members.
Mobile devices like rugged laptops and tablets are useful in construction. They aid easy communication between project managers in the field and the superiors in the office.
Keep your communication technology secure with a mobile device management plan.
Labor shortage is one of the biggest limitations of the construction industry. Putting together an efficient team demands careful attention.
Encourage teams to see individual projects as opportunities to develop better work ethics. They have to always try to outdo their previous performances. It is important that the teams have technological orientation. This will help them grow with the times and master new construction technologies.
It is said that workers are the eyes and ears of contractors in the field. With appropriate training and good communication, they can keep track of things in your absence. They can even spot pitfalls in project plans and help you avoid losses.
4. Accountability and performance measurements
This involves measuring the performance of your team. You can set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and allocate financial rewards for each one they meet.
The indicators can include a timely finish, brilliant problem solving, or a certain quality of work done. Incentives have always worked to motivate teams.
This will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of construction teams.
Hold teams accountable for project goals they cannot meet. When they know the importance of meeting set goals, they will work harder to claim their rewards.
Sometimes, components of a construction project are assembled off-site. They then transport the various assemblages to the construction site where they would be completely assembled.
We refer this practice to as prefabrication. It is quite common in the construction industry now. Technological advancement has helped make it nearly impossible to distinguish between prefabricated buildings and traditionally built ones.
Prefabrication can improve efficiency because they can dedicate different teams to different parts of the project. Prefabrication can restrict customization to a point. However, this is made up for by its time saving quality.
You see that efficiency amongst workers is very important to construction firms. As a contractor, you may have attempted to boost efficiency one way or another. However, to ensure an increase in efficiency, a broad array of parameters has to be considered.
Digital technologies and their advancement within the construction industry are beginning to impact this process. Technology is opening contractors and teams up to new and better ways to ensure project completion. To get ahead of the competition, you have to embrace new construction technologies.
About the Author
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com, also provides funding for construction businesses as invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanic's lien purchasing.