How General Contractors Use Technology in Project Management

When general contractors approach a new construction project, they oversee subcontractors, communicate with stakeholders, and ensure that all building plans are safe and compliant. This lengthy process can be complicated, but it can be streamlined and improved through the use of building technology.

What does this look like in practice?

In this blog, Hardline Contracting Inc.'s expert builders have come together to explore the role of technology in project management. We highlight tools commonly used by general contractors and discuss the ways that typical construction projects are improved through the use of technology.

What Are the Responsibilities of General Contractors?

Before diving into developments in construction technology, it's important to clarify the responsibilities of general contractors.

Although their responsibilities are multifaceted and change from project to project, general contractors are typically tasked with overseeing a construction site in its entirety. This requires developing a construction schedule, ensuring the project progresses on time and within budget, and verifying that all work complies with safety regulations.

General contractors are the main point of contact between clients, architects, and subcontractors and are the primary party responsible for coordinating and completing construction.

Smart Technology in the Construction Industry

The construction industry has experienced a technological revolution in the last couple of decades, with smart technology and software enhancing project management capabilities and bolstering traditional practices.

With tools like 3D modeling, advanced sensors, and predictive planning, every aspect of the construction process can be made more precise. Integrating construction technology helps general contractors stay ahead of the game and provide smarter, safer, and more efficient services.

Below, we'll go into some of the advanced tools available today.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is transforming how general contractors approach project management. BIM is a 3D model-based process that helps map the architecture, engineering, and design of a project before getting to the construction site.

Here are its key aspects:

  • BIM creates a detailed digital representation of a building's characteristics and layout.
  • BIM enables improved collaboration between project stakeholders, allowing for remote viewing from parties like architects, engineers, and subcontractors.
  • BIM maps the lifecycle of a building, from initial planning and design through construction and even demolition.
  • BIM includes spatial dimensions for construction but can also incorporate information about time, cost, and asset management.

BIM helps improve decision-making by sharing knowledge. It allows stakeholders to understand what the building will look like and what steps are involved during construction. It provides a data-rich representation that can lead to more efficient, cost-effective building projects.

Using Drones for Site Surveys and Inspections

Drones have also emerged as a game-changing technology for general contractors, as it allows them to conduct site surveys and inspections with high-resolution cameras and sensors. Drones offer a bird's-eye view of construction sites, providing unmatched accuracy and efficiency when collecting data.

Drones can perform topographic surveys, create 3D maps, and monitor project progress while providing safe access to hard-to-reach areas. They're also invaluable for progress reporting, as they can swiftly provide photos and videos to showcase milestones to clients and various stakeholders.

AI and Machine Learning Help With Logistics Planning

General contractors have recently integrated AI and machine learning to transform logistics planning and optimize project management. They're helpful in analyzing data from previous projects and variables that could impact project timelines and complicate construction.

These technologies can create accurate, dynamic schedules and enhance the procurement process for materials to help reduce waste and minimize costs. They're ideal for logistics planning as they can help with precision and lead to more streamlined building processes.

Cloud-Based Platforms Facilitate Real-Time Project Tracking

General contractors also use cloud-based platforms to provide exceptionally accurate real-time project tracking. These platforms provide a centralized hub where project stakeholders and parties can access and share critical information. These platforms enhance the pre-construction process and securely store all relevant data.

Some common platforms include the following:

  • Project management software
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems
  • Financial management tools
  • Document management systems
  • Estimation and takeoff software
  • Scheduling software
  • Resource management tracking tools
  • Safety and compliance management

Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors Improve Site Safety and Efficiency

The integration of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors into construction sites has helped improve general contractors' safety and operational efficiency. These smart devices continually monitor aspects of the project environment and provide real-time data on matters like equipment performance, environmental conditions, and worker safety.

Equipment-mounted sensors can monitor machine performance and predict maintenance needs before minor issues become significant. IoT also offers security and surveillance, ensuring your assets won't be interfered with and unauthorized site access will be detected. IoT sensors allow for data-driven decision-making, which is essential for contractors working on commercial and residential construction projects.

Streamlined Project Management Starts With Good Communication

Even with technological developments, effective communication is the cornerstone of streamlined project management and successful building outcomes. One of the biggest upsides of integrating smart technology into construction is that it can facilitate communication between stakeholders.

These technologies are excellent at connecting architects, engineers, subcontractors, and clients to ensure all parties are on the same page. They can assist on-site personnel with progress reporting and ensure there's open communication between management teams and workers on the ground.

Fostering clear lines of communication is a key goal for general contractors, especially when coordinating complex projects and working to eliminate waste and inefficiency.

General Contractors Specialize in Large-Scale Projects

By embracing smart technology, general contractors can elevate the quality of their work and streamline everything from design plans to safety inspections. Commercial development, home additions, and even renovations benefit from having contractors involved.

If you're planning a new expansion, consulting with a licensed professional will ensure the project goes smoothly.

Discuss Your Next Project With Hardline Contracting Inc.'s Experts

When you're planning a new residential or commercial project, Hardline Contracting Inc.'s general contractors can offer unparalleled support. We're dedicated to our craft and passionate about serving our clients. That's why we go above and beyond to deliver top-quality results and integrate smart technologies into your construction processes.

Call (905) 515-6987 today to connect with our team.