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Overcoming construction’s three biggest challenges

Smart construction technology helps builders maximize efficiency, keep workers safe and stay on schedule.

construction site

Staying both on schedule and within budget is a key goal of any construction project. Recently, builders are facing additional pressures including a skills shortage, increased digital requirements and demands for improved sustainability. This poses a new challenge as structures were already taking 20% longer to complete and running over budget in about 80% of cases. With demands showing no sign of slowdown, construction leaders urgently need new solutions to effectively manage their sites.

How smart technology can transform an industry in flux

Applying digital elements to practices in established industries is nothing new, but builders can be forgiven for skepticism. After all, projects must contend with many unpredictable factors including weather, concrete conditions and of course, human activity. Yet the LumiConTM Smart Construction platform powered by Rogers for Business can tackle many long-standing and new challenges facing the industry today—with tangible results.

Challenge #1: Creating a safe and compliance site

The safety and wellbeing of on-site workers is critical to any project, along with compliance to the many applicable industry regulations. Potential risks, small oversights or insurance claims can exponentially raise costs or effectively shut down a site. Though standards for new builds are generally rigorous and thorough, inspection practices can be manual or require outside personnel, leading to inconsistent testing.

Smart construction technology allows for automatic and remote monitoring of conditions in and around a job site including weather, air quality, dust, gas emissions and more. Using sensors, data collection devices and software tools, customizable alerts can immediately notify teams of any pending risks with time for mitigation. Additionally, the software can also track certificates and manage equipment maintenance, covering multiple categories of regulation.

Challenge #2: Staying on schedule and avoiding delays

In many cases, it’s impossible to stay on a building schedule, let alone finish a project ahead of time. One major factor is rework, where aspects of a build must be redone either due to a change in scope or due to an unforeseen error. Rework during a project can add 10% to a timeline, as well as increasing the budget and potentially impacting related tasks.

Gaining the ability to monitor critical operations at all times from a remote location is one of the most valuable features of smart technology. Builders can receive alerts for water leakage, infiltration and structural damage, among others. Any of these errors, if not detected early, could lead to enormous damage and significant rework, delaying a project for weeks or longer. In fact, the platform is proven to accelerate a schedule by 20% in concrete projects.

Challenge #3: Maximizing productivity and machine effectiveness

Even without major problems on site, operations always need to minimize downtime and resource waste. The use of tools and machinery offers a key opportunity for improvement. Not only do assets go missing from time to time, but they also break down, sometimes with little warning. Both circumstances are commonplace and can delay critical actions until a replacement or fix is implemented.

Digitizing a site means that all assets, from individual tools to truck and large machines, are tracked for location, times of use and condition. This helps builders anticipate and schedule maintenance, instead of losing time to an unexpected breakdown. The system even allows for comprehensive reporting integrated into project management software, so planners can provide detailed reporting and implement adjustments in real time.

Smart concrete: Monitoring from start to finish

Concrete pouring is one of the most important—and expensive—parts of any build. Visibility into the material’s temperature conditions, maturity and strength is a huge advantage. Historically, using sensors in concrete pouring was a hassle because the tools could only be used once. The LumiConTM multi-point sensors can be monitored remotely, away from a job site and their respective transmitters (LumiNode/LumiNode plus) are not embedded into concrete. This means they can be used across multiple projects. They’re also highly accurate and offer real-time data to help mitigate potential issues before they become a problem.

Real-world benefits of concrete sensors

In one Toronto-area project, a builder opted for frost monitoring in their concrete footing while working on a new long-term care facility. While the construction crew members were away over the weekend, the heaters ran out of fuel and stopped working. The system alerted the builder to the problem immediately and helped avoid major structural damage from frost in the foundations. 

For additional case studies or information on how to digitize your next job site, contact a Rogers specialist.