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Obstacles to adopting cloud-based technologies in construction

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According to the most recent findings of the Centre d’études et de recherches pour l’avancement de la construction, the transition to digital is well underway in Quebec. There has certainly been an increase in the use of mobile applications, particularly for worksite management.

The last two decades have brought several new developments, particularly for Building Information Modeling (BIM). Tools now allow for the automation of many processes, which saves precious time. However, adopting these tools entails several challenges.

From paper to tablet

There are several phases in the switch to new technologies:

  1. Consultation of digital documents. At this level, stakeholders view and annotate digital documents, often in PDF format.
  2. Document sharing. A sharing tool on a cloud-based server, e.g., Dropbox, is implemented and used.
  3. Remote communication. Stakeholders use video conferencing or talk using tools like Skype.
  4. Complete IT integration. Projects that use BIM move into the final step of integrating technologies in construction.

Whatever the platform, cloud computing applications allow stakeholders to pool all the technological resources for a project. Documents are stored in the cloud and can then be accessed through different applications that offer additional features.

What is standing in the way of the use of mobile and cloud-based technologies?

There is currently no one application that covers all the needs that arise throughout the life cycle of a project. This is a significant obstacle for firms that want to collaborate and standardize procedures. It is also important to note the opposition between standardization and the unique nature of each construction project. Even two identical towers will not have the same foundation, as they are built on different ground. As a result, automation is difficult to implement.

Next, from a legal standpoint, information security and archiving is an important piece of the puzzle. Data confidentiality is a major issue, and companies are sometimes distrustful of the security offered by cloud-based services. Furthermore, information must be archived and stored in order for it to be accessed as necessary for legal purposes. Are all technology providers able to guarantee access to this information years later?

Different industry actors also note that a lack of time presents an obstacle to learning new processes. Fear of not mastering the tools and of making errors are other limiting factors.

The use of mobile and cloud-based technologies in construction is also hindered by varying comfort levels with technology and resistance to change. Finally, there are several other obstacles to its use, such as the fact that some tools are available only in English or work only on certain devices (iPhone vs. Android, for example).

According to the Construction 2.0 guide, the greatest obstacles to the use of technologies are, in order:

  1. Lack of time to evaluate the applications
  2. Resistance to change
  3. Users’ lack of experience
  4. Not finding the desired features
  5. High cost of software applications
  6. Lack of support from senior management
  7. Cost of updating software licences
  8. Lack of coordination

At Consortech, we encourage the use of cloud-based technologies and BIM for their many benefits: reduced risk, less lost time, better follow-up, increased productivity, etc. Our experienced team is here to advise you on different technologies for your construction projects. Contact us!

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