Data is one of the hottest buzzwords in preconstruction today. How to obtain it, how to track it, how to utilize it. Perhaps the greatest weakness of the preconstruction industry is that it has a tendency to generate hundreds and thousands of data points, but it doesn’t always know what to do with them. For decades, the primary concern was making sure that data was accurate. And don’t get us wrong – that’s a crucial component of winning bids and earning repeat clients, and it’s a concern that’s still extremely relevant today. However, with the onslaught of new technologies that automate most estimating processes and therefore drastically reduce the amount of man-made errors, now is the time for preconstruction to begin looking toward the next step: data analysis. How do we take the data we currently have, make sure it’s accessible, and leverage it to make our estimating efforts more robust than ever?
That’s exactly what Gareth, the host of the Preconstruction Podcast, sat down with Stewart Carroll, President of Beck Technology, to discuss. Stewart notes that currently, one of the most critical aspects of improving data analysis lies within data tracking/storing. He observes that in preconstruction, we tend to be “deliverable-centric,” and unfortunately, that often results in losing much of the work going into these deliverables. Because estimators are typically focused on the end result, there is no process in place to track all of the steps and moves they’re making along the way to the end goal. This is critical for data analysis: if you don’t know how you got to the end result, how are you going to be able to improve on your processes and use them to calculate better predictions for the next project?
Stewart points out that when you begin tracking this kind of data, you can drill deeper and begin to understand what drove certain changes or decisions. Was it a change in crews? Maybe it was a change in production rate or metrics. Ultimately, the point is that the more you know, the more you’ll be able to trim and speed up processes – which also means you’ll be able to accomplish more than ever before.
The world of preconstruction is becoming increasingly more collaborative and transparent. And as it does, it’s up to us to keep up, to continue to innovate and find newer and better ways to keep everyone informed along every step of the preconstruction process. It’s clear that data collection and preconstruction data analysis is a key component to reaching these objectives. No matter where your company is at today, there is a path to capturing data. And once you figure out how to apply it in a way that benefits your company, it will provide a platform that enables you to bring on more strategic thinkers and attract the best and brightest candidates to your team.