Cloud-Based Preconstruction In 2024

One of the ways to increase efficiency is to establish a good preconstruction process. One way to improve this is by embracing new technologies like the cloud.

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2024 will be a rough year for non-residential construction. The AIA expects negative growth of -2% across commercial categories. Even beyond commercial construction, it’s clear that the market is becoming increasingly competitive.

Getting more done with limited resources is going to be key to winning the race in 2024. Construction companies will need to bid on more projects without increasing cost, while also increasing the number of projects won. This is what people mean when they say that companies in the construction industry need to increase efficiency. 

One of the ways to increase efficiency is to establish a good preconstruction process. In a recent survey conducted by FMI consultants, it was revealed that preconstruction has emerged as the most critical aspect of business, second only to project execution. It takes precedence over financial management, workforce management, and project closeout in terms of importance.

Notably, the same survey indicated that companies with above-average preconstruction processes enjoy several significant advantages:

    • Decrease rework by 34% 
    • Grow profitability by 22%
    • Increase productivity by 23% 

    To improve preconstruction processes, it’s necessary to embrace new technologies. One of these time and money-saving technologies is cloud computing, which refers to the delivery of computing services, including storage, processing power, and applications over the internet. Instead of relying on a local server or a personal computer for data storage and processing, cloud computing allows users to access and use resources hosted on remote servers.

    Entering 2024, cloud-based preconstruction is reaching an inflection point. The solutions and capabilities now exist to truly reshape and enhance how the planning phase is conducted before boots ever touch dirt on-site. Leading firms already use cloud platforms to boost real-time visibility, optimize workflows, and harness next-gen technologies like VR/AR across preconstruction. 

    For technology-driven contractors intent on gaining a competitive edge, integrating the cloud across the preconstruction stage this year and beyond will be critical to unlocking immense strategic potential. The outlook is bright for scalable digital planning, but overcoming adoption barriers remains critical to maximizing the cloud’s advantages.

    The Promise Of Cloud Preconstruction

    With preconstruction increasingly conducted across dispersed teams, universal access proves invaluable. Managers in the office, engineers on design software, and field surveyors on mobile devices can all collaborate within the same cloud ecosystem. This connectivity bridges information silos to boost coordination. Teams enter progress in real-time with automated syncing rather than manual export/import between platforms. Such fluid information sharing prevents delays.

    Enhanced mobility also unlocks productivity gains, as tablet-based access enables on-site teams to readily retrieve or update documents without running back to the trailer. Cloud systems integrate with emerging technologies like VR/AR for immersive model review during planning stages through simple web browser access.

    Additionally, cloud platforms interface with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other innovations to introduce automation into tedious planning tasks. Algorithms can rapidly develop site logistics plans, optimize schedules, and provide real-time cost tracking once manual processes are done. Preconstruction moves into an era of enhanced digital continuity through the cloud as we enter 2024.

    For firms able to leverage these capabilities, cloud preconstruction promotes better-coordinated planning and work sequencing, allowing for more rigorous analysis of design options and proactive risk management. Companies essentially gain a scalable digital solution tailored to the mounting complexities of modern construction projects. In competitive bidding, productivity and responsiveness advantages stand to make an immense strategic impact during the preconstruction phase.

    Cloud Capabilities Reshape Key Aspects

    The cloud empowers transformation across pivotal preconstruction activities that set the stage for project outcomes. For estimating teams, cloud-based tools allow centralized access to historical databases for benchmarking metrics while leveraging real-time supply chain data. All quantity takeoffs integrate natively into digital cost models accessible to all stakeholders.

    Likewise, project planning and scheduling see an evolution as cloud platforms enable dynamic Gantt chart creation and cascading update propagation in real-time. As delays occur, the schedule automatically adjusts rather than relying on manual revisions. Immersive model review also enters a new era as VR/AR capabilities get embedded directly into cloud environments rather than requiring dedicated computing workstations.

    The cloud likewise provides superior document control to traditional networked drives or makeshift shared folders. Paperless workflows let managers intuitively organize files with revision histories for easy search/retrieval. Drawings, permits, contracts, and more remain perpetually accessible to authorized teams.

    Overcoming Adoption Barriers

    While promising, integrating cloud platforms across preconstruction faces inevitable adoption challenges from reluctant teams clinging to legacy processes. Transitioning from on-prem servers poses IT hurdles for data migration. Leadership may harbor cybersecurity concerns around entrusting proprietary data to the cloud, which requires education on modern security/encryption.

    Technical skills gaps also widen as employees lack cloud proficiencies. Firms must, therefore, invest in training programs and provide robust support resources to smooth onboarding. Achieving user buy-in similarly relies on demonstrating productivity gains; tracking detailed metrics can quantify ROI.

    Construction tends to lean conservative, meaning resistance from veteran employees presents another barrier. Leadership must foster a culture embracing technological change while leveraging cloud access as a selling point for attracting younger talent needing connectivity. Adoption obstacles like these require concerted change management efforts.

    The Outlook Of Scalable Preconstruction

    Cloud represents the new norm for technology-integrated construction firms entering 2024 as solutions reach mature capabilities. Tight platform integration will fuel efficiency gains; partnerships between vendors smooth data flow between estimating, scheduling, and other tools. Technologically lagging firms will feel intensified pressure to digitize as competitive forces accentuate.

    True productivity unlocked by the cloud will see teams adopt iterative planning habits: collaborating cross-functionally on recurring design revisions, budget evaluations, and contract reviews within the cloud ecosystem. Over time, the cloud becomes a launch point for transformative innovations like AI to permeate planning, which will further overhaul outdated manual efforts.

    By bringing continuity and accessibility to such a fragmented industry, the strategic potential of cloud preconstruction cannot be overstated. Firms embracing this promise will gain advantages from the outset of projects while unlocking value-adds and revenue streams. As construction enters an era of heightened complexity, the scalability and versatility of cloud-based preconstruction provide an optimizing foundation for project success.