Construction Blogs

Groundworker suffers burns during poorly planned dig

A contractor and its groundworks subbie have been fined £400,000 after unsafe excavation work left a worker with serious burns to his hand and arm.

High Wycombe Magistrates’ Court heard that, on the 2 August 2018, a groundworker was preparing the ground to install a post to carry an Automatic Number Plate Recognition Camera at Twyford near Reading, Berkshire.

Initially, the worker hand dug then started to use an 110V mechanical electric breaker when he struck a power cable supplying an adjacent British Telecommunications building.

The voltage of the cable was 415v causing the ground worker to receive an electric shock that caused burns to one hand and to his opposite arm.

An HSE investigation found that site plans for buried cables had not been consulted and a cable avoidance tool had not been used to locate buried services in advance of carrying out the work.

In addition, there was a lack of properly trained labour and supervision in place for the excavation works.

The principal contractor on site had failed to plan, manage and monitor the excavation works and also failed to provide adequate supervision for the project.

CLC Contractors Limited of Southampton pleaded guilty to breaching CDM regulations and were fined £400,000.00 and ordered to pay costs of £5,300.00.

Subcontractor Paul Gale, Company Director of PAG Building Services Ltd of Southampton also pleaded guilty to safety breaches

Due to the seriousness of the offence the case was referred to Aylesbury Crown Court where Gale was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment suspended for 24 months and 150 hour of community service. HSE was awarded costs of £7,200.

Speaking after the case, HSE inspector John Caboche said: “Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

“In this instance, readily available buried service records were not consulted, and a cable avoidance tool was not provided to the groundworks team. Utilising these simple steps would have prevented this serious incident.”

Construction Blogs

A Simple Clear Construction Staffing Distress Indicator


Well before the pandemic, the construction sector was worrying over what was perceived as an acute shortage of labor. Much of the discussion on this topic over the past several years has been anecdotal. Or reference has been made to employment gains that have been less than they should be and unemployment rates that have sometimes turned spectacularly low.

But it would be better to find some easy-to-understand visual representation of the problem. It’s my hope that Graphs 1 through 5 below, making use of JOLTS data, fit the bill.

From the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), for ‘all jobs’ and 14 major sub-sectors, I’ve taken ‘openings’ levels and ‘hires’ levels and calculated openings-to-hires ratios for every month back to July 2009, which was the first period of recovery after the ‘fiscal crisis’ recession (a.k.a., the Great Recession).

The openings-to-hires ratio essentially captures the degree to which vacant positions are being snapped up (a low ratio) or going begging (a high ratio).

To enable easy comparisons between industries, I’ve indexed their openings-to-hires ratios.

The indexing I’ve adopted takes the July 2009 value for each series and sets it equal to 100.0. (The number could just as easily be set equal to 1.0 but choosing 100 leaves more room for following numbers to move not only up, but also down, should that become the case.)

For each series, the value of each subsequent month is divided by the value in the base month (July 2009) and multiplied by 100.

Since all the series have the same starting value (July 2009 = 100.0), when a couple of them, or several of them, are shown on a graph, their movements over time can be readily compared.

In Graphs 1 through 5, I’ve stuck with only one-on-one comparisons.

The higher the curve, the greater the sought-after employee shortage distress.

From Graph 1, it’s apparent that the increase over time, since July 2009, in the openings-to-hires ratio for construction has far outpaced the increase in the openings-to-hires ratio for ‘all jobs’. (The openings-to-hires ratio will increase in an expanding economy.)

By the way, I must point out that the patterns apparent in Graphs 1 to 5 stay essentially the same even when the base period is shifted (e.g., if January 2015 is chosen = 100.0 rather than July 2009).

In Graphs 2 through 5, the worker shortage in construction is shown to be more severe than in the following: manufacturing; retail trade; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and accommodation and food services.

As for nine of the other ten industrial sectors not set out graphically below, construction’s labor shortage is far more acute than in any of them except one.

The worst labor shortage in the U.S. is currently being experienced in another goods-producing as opposed to the services-producing corner of the economy, ‘mining and logging’.

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Our Top 10 Construction Blogs from 2021

As we reflect on the last year, it’s worth a look back at some of Autodesk’s most notable blog posts from 2021. Doing so not only gives us a chance to reflect on the topics that made waves throughout the year, but also provides an indication of what’s in store for the next 12 months.

So, dig in—this roundup features an array of topics and articles. You’ll discover top industry stats, meet AEC’s most innovative leaders, learn about data and cost management tech, and discover innovations in sustainable construction.

Whether you’re new to the blog or a long-time follower of Digital Builder, you’re bound to find something read-worthy below. 

Let’s dive in.

1. 100+ Construction Industry Statistics

Construction facts/stats can be incredibly helpful when you want to identify benchmarks, industry trends, and market opportunities. To help you surface interesting construction data, we’ve compiled a list of 100 statistics that give you a general overview of the state of the AEC industry, particularly in the areas of construction labor, operations, and technology. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a credible source of construction info, this post is one of the best places to start. Read article.

2. 40 Under 40: Champions of Construction 2021

In 2021, we released Autodesk’s annual 40 Under 40: Champions of Construction—a list of construction professionals doing remarkable things in their respective areas (and who happen to be under the age of 40). Sourced from hundreds of nominations from across the globe, this year’s list is comprised of a diverse group of individuals who demonstrated innovation, resilience, and creativity. If you’re looking to get inspired in your construction career and business, this list will certainly do the trick. View list

3. New Report Reveals Data Strategy is a Key Advantage in Construction

It’s easy to agree that having a data strategy is important in the construction industry. But what exactly does a good data strategy look like? What does it mean? What does it take? To answer this, Autodesk and FMI published the report Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction. This post does an excellent job summarizing the study’s key insights, and it offers advice on how to successfully launch a data strategy. Plus, the article comes with a nifty infographic featuring the report’s notable findings, making the info easy to understand. View report findings

4. Reusing Our Way to a More Sustainable Future

Reusing things that would otherwise go to waste is proving to be a better alternative to traditional methods of sourcing building materials. Shannon Goodman, Executive Director of Lifecycle Building Center, lends her expert insights on the topic. Lifecycle Building Center is an organization that salvages building materials and directs them back to the community. In this post, Shannon shares some actionable steps on how construction firms can be more sustainable in their building practices. Learn more

5. Essential Construction KPIs to Improve Profits and Productivity

The line “you can’t improve what you don’t measure” rings very true in the construction industry. Tracking the right KPIs is essential to ensuring that your projects are on track and that you’re meeting your objectives. This article serves as an excellent reference piece for the top KPIs you should be looking at. It lists the must-track metrics in areas like project safety, quality, performance, and employee management. You’ll also get tips on how to adopt, measure, and implement your KPIs successfully. Discover key metrics

6. Construction Keynote: Autodesk Backs Customers as Solid Technology Partner [AU 2021]

Technology is now a staple both in the field and in the office. As more innovative tools carve their spot in the AEC industry, you need to ensure that you’re leveraging tech correctly. Jim Lynch, Senior Vice President & General Manager of Autodesk Construction Solutions led the Construction Keynote at Autodesk University 2021. This article breaks down the top takeaways. He highlights three ways that Autodesk can help you do just that. You’ll learn how Autodesk is connecting your data and how it streamlines much-needed collaboration. You’ll also learn the difference between a technology partner and a technology provider—and why one is favored over the other. Read key takeaways

7. 6 Common Causes of Cost Overruns in Construction Projects

This post is actually from 2020, but continues to be a popular read in 2021 as cost control has become a unique challenge these last two years. Pandemic aside, this article’s relevance isn’t surprising considering cost overruns are all too common across construction projects globally. With just a third of projects coming within 10% of the budget, it’s no wonder so many AEC pros are seeking information on how to get costs under control. This post helps you do that by explaining the top 6 reasons that projects go over budget—and how to address them. Learn more

8. Top 10 Construction Podcasts to Listen to Now

Podcasts have grown in popularity over the past year, and for good reason—they offer a convenient way for listeners to consume information. Whether you want to learn about current events or are looking to listen to interviews with thought leaders in your field, there’s likely a podcast that has what you need. If you’re looking for construction podcasts to check out, this article lists the top 10 construction-related podcasts you should listen to. From shows that tackle technology to podcasts that examine design and architecture, this post is packed with insightful and entertaining podcasts for anyone in AEC. Listen and learn

9. Democratising Data and Improving Efficiency with a Single Source of Truth

Wessex Water is one of the leading water and sewage companies in England and Wales. In addition to providing their communities with excellent water services, the company also strives to manage the growing environmental, financial, and consumer demands facing the industry. To do that, Wessex Water is investing in construction technology and optimizing its workflows to improve project collaboration and outcomes. This post details the company’s journey and key learnings from its initiatives. Check it out and see if you can apply Wessex Water’s lessons in your own projects. 

10. Our Mission to Connect the Office & Field: Autodesk Build

Managing project stakeholders, data, budgets, and several other moving parts is a challenge that many construction teams face. At Autodesk, we’ve found that the best way to stay on top of projects is to centrally manage its components from one platform. Autodesk Build, a solution we launched in 2021, enables you to do just that. Read this article to learn more about Autodesk Build and the specific ways that it helps you and your teams function more smoothly and deliver better outcomes. 

Join us in The Big Room

We hope this roundup gives you plenty to think about and sheds light on insights you can use to plan for 2022 and beyond. If you’d like to discuss these findings, trends, and other topics, please join us in The Big Room, Autodesk’s community of construction professionals.

The Big Room gives you the opportunity to connect with like-minded folks to ask questions, discuss construction ideas, and more. See you there!

The post Our Top 10 Construction Blogs from 2021 appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

Khatib & Alami Achieves Time Savings of up to 40% Through a Cloud Collaboration Strategy

Khatib & Alami (K&A) is a multidisciplinary urban and regional planning, architectural and engineering consulting company operating across the Middle East, Africa, South-East Asia and Europe. With more than five decades of experience and expertise within the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, K&A have worked on some of the world’s most challenging projects.

Identifying challenges and finding solutions

As a sector that has seen its greatest evolutions in the past decade, K&A were amongst the first companies to truly adopt digital and BIM as part of its bid to be more time and cost efficient, while providing a higher standard of output for its clients. As a major multinational working on a range of multidisciplinary projects, K&A are required to collaborate with multiple different stakeholders both internally and externally. They recognised that they would need to centralise project data and create one single source of truth when it comes to project documentation to support them in managing the sheer volume and range of ongoing projects across their many different design centres. This would mean their project teams would reduce the amount of time they spent searching for, uploading, and downloading project information. They also wanted to reduce their dependency on local servers and move to a way of working that would enable them to form more collaborative partnerships with their supply chain partners.

By leveraging cloud collaboration, centralised and consolidated data for each project was open to the full range of necessary stakeholders, which in some cases went as high as 200 project team members across a number of different organisations. As a result, knowledge sharing and a comprehensive understanding of cloud collaboration and its features became more intrinsically linked to K&A’s culture. Dr. Ahmad Faeq, Senior Director for Projects Knowledge Management and Operational Excellence reflects:

“Since we started the transition to digital, we embedded technology implementation as part of our knowledge management. Based on this, we created communities of practice which became the platform to train our teams how to use cloud collaboration tools more effectively. As a result, knowledge management is now at the heart of the company, which interconnects with everything else.”

For many companies, the concept of working remotely was only implemented because of the pandemic. For K&A, however, its early-stage adoption of BIM, coupled with their multinational design centers in Cairo, Beirut, UAE and Bangalore, meant that remote working was already well underway.

“We were already using Autodesk’s Construction Cloud remotely to drive strong collaboration between our design centres, so it was a fairly smooth step when the transition to work from home became necessary,” commented Micheline Nader, Senior Project Engineer, BIM manager – road & highways.

“Before cloud collaboration tools, you were unable to work from home or remotely effectively. If we were required to do either, we were unable to access the same model, meaning any changes made would have to be saved and pasted onto the local server the following day,” recalled Yasmina Kridly, BIM Manager and Design Architect. “Since implementing Autodesk’s cloud solutions, our team can access the same model in real time, a feature that has given us a strategic advantage during the pandemic. Overall, it has enhanced our troubleshooting and submission processes by up to 90%.”

Where previous work required printed PDFs and stacks of paper stored across several locations, the integration of working in a cloud environment not only meant a faster, more centralised way to share accurate data, but an environmentally-friendly reduction in year-on-year printing from 2019 – 2020 by around 50 – 60%.

Collaboration as standard – promoting team-centric execution and culture

Thanks to K&A’s existing movement towards digital infrastructure, and spurred on by the pandemic, cloud collaboration soon played a centralised role in several projects resulting in K&A investing in more licenses and company-wide familiarisation.

“As the benefits of Autodesk Construction Cloud are significant, it is now mandated that all projects are stored on the cloud, regardless of scale or value. As one source of information, for each project, all design documents are stored in our common data environment for shared use, following ISO 19650 workflow. The client and stakeholders also have access to the project in a digital environment, which means the client can follow the work-in-progress model and provide feedback at an early stage,” commented Micheline Nader.

BIM – the foundation of technological progress

For Dr. Ahmad Faeq, the value of Autodesk’s Cloud solutions extend beyond traditional training and into a new era of ongoing development. “When we talk about BIM as the new standard, this is what I consider our first step. From here we’re able to build and develop. For example, we’re working on BIM and GIS integration to create what we call smart city management, where we link BIM with IoTs to create command centres for clients and landlords to monitor and manage their facilities during and after the construction projects. The ceiling isn’t fixed for us, so we will keep adding the technological components day after day.”

One of the challenges presented by the pandemic was the requirement to migrate project data into Autodesk’s cloud solutions for ease of development between parties, which simultaneously occurred while hiring new staff to cater for the demand. Fortunately, the data migration worked seamlessly, as did the adoption of the new staff who were able to familiarise themselves with the software and functionality.

Cited as one of the main reasons Autodesk Construction Cloud succeeded in reaching such a fast user-adoption rate is its carefully designed user interface, user experience and supplemental training provided by Autodesk. Reflecting on her earlier experiences with some predecessors of cloud solutions, Yasmina Kridly commented, “Since we started working with Revit more than a decade ago, every Autodesk product has consistently become more intuitive and mature, with a strong focus on the user experience.  This is a feature which has been carried forward into Autodesk’s Construction Cloud solutions. While many other platforms require special training or expert advice, you are quickly able to get used to Autodesk Construction Cloud, even after using it for only a few hours.”


Enhanced productivity through digital collaboration

From a high-level perspective, Autodesk Construction Cloud’s ability to provide a collaborative platform for teams to interact and deliver has had a unifying effect on K&A’s teamwork culture, as highlighted by Dr. Ahmad. “Autodesk Construction Cloud was one of the tools we used to fortify and strengthen the communication within the project teams. This is where the real production of our investments happened.”

This sentiment is echoed by Yasmina Kridly: “The integration of Autodesk Construction Cloud has made a huge difference. Firstly, you can access it anywhere in the world. Secondly, we save a lot of time in transferring data between design centres. Today, I’m able to review and comment on documents immediately, meaning we’re saving a significant number of working hours as a business. This was all made possible thanks to the quick responses of the Autodesk team. Whenever we had a question, there was a solution suggested by the Autodesk team. When we first started using Autodesk Construction Cloud, it didn’t have all the features it has today. Through our team making suggestions, Autodesk were very quick to implement improvements and we’ve been able to fine tune our common data environment to be perfectly suited to our exacting requirements. One of the most useful was enabling real-time cloud collaboration during the design process, a feature that saves our team between 30 – 40% in time efficiency.”

Elaborating further, Dr. Ahmad added, “For a company like K&A where time is highly valuable, the saving of 30 – 40% isn’t just a win for the projects in hand, but also for the company which can utilise its skilled teams on other projects. Certainly, Autodesk Construction Cloud, along with our digitally enabled internal environment, has been a major driver in our digital transformation, which has been great for our productivity as a business.”

“Autodesk Construction Cloud is our solution for collaboration.”

—Micheline Nader, Sr. Project Engineer, BIM manager, Khatib & Alami

Summarising her experience, Micheline Nader commented, “Utilising Autodesk Construction Cloud has significantly improved decision-making and project performance leading to reliable, clash-free, sustainable projects that benefit from low maintenance costs, risks, and higher revenue streams. It has become a lifeline for using data, consuming content and engaging in digital applications.”

The post Khatib & Alami Achieves Time Savings of up to 40% Through a Cloud Collaboration Strategy appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

Digital Builder Ep 23: Harnessing the Power of 3D Printing in Construction

Many industry leaders have heard of 3D printing, often in the context of concrete or small-scale homebuilding. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When leveraged successfully, 3D printing can play a key role in structural components (big and small), spare parts, fixtures, and even the furniture that inhabits a space. But what does it all mean to your projects?


Listen to the episode now

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You can also listen to this episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you get your podcasts.


On this podcast episode

Our guest, Stephan Mansour, is a 3D Printing & Emerging Technology Advisor at MaRiTama Ltd. Stephan is leading the international team that’s developing global 3D printing standards from the ground up, and in this episode, he takes us on a journey into the world of 3D printing in construction.

We discuss:

Common misconceptions about 3D printingHow supply chain issues have increased interest in 3D printing for constructionHow to implement 3D printing in your organizationHow upcoming standards will enable mass adoption

“Everything can be 3D-printed; it’s just a matter of how far you want to go, how scalable it is, and how much money you’re going to put in.” — Stephan Mansour


Podcast highlights from Episode 23

To kick things off, Stephan shared a high-level overview of 3D printing in construction. According to him, 3D printing is “laying one material over another, to build a structure that you normally have in every construction site.”

He continues, “it’s based on a 2D model or design, that is later sliced into robotic language in order to achieve the print. So the material is tailored sometimes to the printing application that is available.”

In terms of materials used, Stephan says that 3D printing can use cement, polymer plastic, synthetic materials, or different types of recycled materials.


Debunking the myths of 3D printing

3D printing is rapidly gaining steam in the construction industry. In fact, The 3D printing construction market is expected to hit $1.5 billion by 2024

But despite its growing popularity, there are still a number of misconceptions surrounding the technology. According to Stephan, here are some of the most common 3D printing myths. 

Myth #1: 3D printing is a new process

Some people think that 3D printing is a new thing, but nothing could be further from the truth, says Stephan. 

“The early first 3D printing machine was created in the 1930s and 1940s by a company called Urschel, based in Indiana. They actually printed several structures, and the same technology is still being used by various technology providers today,” he explains. 

“So it’s not a new technology; it started off in the 1930s and ’40s. It picked up again back in the 1990s, and since then, it’s continued to gain speed.”

Myth #2: You can print anything in 24 hours

Another misconception is about the speed with which you can print. Stephan remarks that while the actual printing time may take 24 hours, the construction period of a building can take two to three weeks. 

“Expecting to have a house available and finished in 24 hours just doesn’t work,” he adds.

Myth #3: 3D printing is cheap

There’s also the notion that 3D printing structures only cost $4,000 or $5,000. 

“I’d like to debunk that,” says Stephan, who adds that while affordable housing is possible, you can only achieve it when you’re building things at a large scale. 

“If you’re doing 100 houses, 1,000 houses—then yes, the price of technology and material will go down. But when you’re building a single house or just a handful of houses, you’re still carrying on the price of technology, material, logistics, and so on, onto those five houses.”

Myth #4: You need a large R&D department to implement 3D printing

Think 3D printing requires a ton of R&D? Think again. According to Stephan, there are numerous opportunities to get started with 3D printing without pouring a lot of money into research and development.

“There are many ways you can start getting into 3D printing. You can do it through collaboration with technology providers, pilot projects, and starting small. From there, you’ll be able to move little by little, to actually having 3D printing as part of your toolbox in the construction process.”


The various use cases of 3D printing 

Some construction professionals might think that 3D printing is all about concrete and building houses. However, there are many other applications for the technology. As Stephan puts it, “you could do many things with 3D printing, just like you do anything normally with conventional means of concrete, mortar, or brick.”

Intricate facades

Stephan shares that 3D printing “can play a key role in creating facades for buildings.”

This is particularly true for projects that call for intricate and unique designs. With 3D printing, the facade “doesn’t have to be square, and you don’t have to do a mold in order to achieve very artistic or inquisitive designs that you want to get into,” says Stephan.

Parts and fixtures

In addition to printing the house itself, Stephan says you can also use 3D printing for spare parts and fixtures. 

“You can 3D print everything and anything in the house, in terms of fixtures, FTS, doorknobs, lintels, door frames, doors themselves, window frames,” he shares.


3D printing can be used to print furniture and eliminate the lead time associated with purchasing and delivering them. 

Doing so may also help you be more sustainable. “Just looking at the waste that each construction site actually produces, you can take the wood that is discarded from the formwork, turn that into dust, and print furniture,” says Stephan.

3D printing can improve efficiency in remote projects

Being able to print spare parts, furniture, and materials can also come in handy when dealing with remote projects or when you’re facing inventory shortages and supply chain issues. 

As Stephan points out, “when you talk about oil and gas and remote projects, there’s a lot of problems that happen in consortium sites. Inventory can be an issue and you may not have the right piece at the right time. When this happens, there’s usually a two- or three-week lead time.”

He continues, “3D printing can be very effective in providing that material. You can have parts available within a few hours or a day at most, as opposed to waiting three weeks. You don’t have to put the whole project on a standstill just because you’re waiting for, say, a $10 piece that is crucial in operations.”


How to get started with 3D printing

Implementing 3D printing isn’t just about purchasing a printer and building things from scratch. You need to consider a number of factors to ensure that your initiatives are successful. 

Stephan says, “Another misconception that we need to rebuff is that you can simply buy a 3D printer and presto—everything’s going to work. But that’s not the case. You have to think of 3D printing just like you would for any other piece of equipment in your construction site.”

Start small and address a pain point

Just like when investing in a large piece of equipment, you must determine a need for it before going out and purchasing the technology. 

As Stephan puts it, “you’re not going to buy a multimillion-dollar piece of equipment to sit on your construction site, and now scratch your head and figure out, ‘Okay, how am I going to use this?’”

Instead, you must first identify a pain point within your construction projects or operations and then figure out how a 3D printer can help you solve the issue. For instance, if you’re constantly running into delays for a particular part or fixture, you may consider investing in 3D printing so you can produce the right parts more quickly.

Determine your scope and investment

“There are many different variations, versions, and materials out there when it comes to 3D printing, so there’s no one size fits all solution,” says Stephan. 

The right setup depends on your project scope, objectives, and budget. So, make sure that these elements are ironed out at the beginning of your 3D printing journey. 

Have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve and the investment you’re willing to make, and then let those factors inform your decisions on what materials or printers to utilize. 

Find the right partner

“Collaboration is key,” remarks Stephan. It’s essential that you find the right partners for your 3D printing projects. 

Who to partner with depends on the project as well as your capabilities. In some instances, you may need to bring in a technology partner who can help you get up and running. Maybe you need to find new vendors who can supply the materials required. 

Whatever the case, be aware of your capabilities and limitations, then use that knowledge to find the right collaborators.

The bottom line with 3D printing in construction

3D printing is gaining traction in the AEC industry, and it will continue to do so in the near future. The specific role that 3D printing will play in your organization will depend on your projects, so take the time to evaluate your pain points and objectives then find technology solutions and partners that can fill the gaps. 


New podcast episode every two weeks

Autodesk’s construction podcast, Digital Builder, is hosted by me, Eric Thomas. New episodes of the Digital Builder podcast go live every two weeks. 

If you’d like to take an even deeper look at 3D printing, catch the full episode of Digital Builder to learn more. 

Listen to the Digital Builder Podcast on: 

Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcastsor wherever you listen to podcasts

The post Digital Builder Ep 23: Harnessing the Power of 3D Printing in Construction appeared first on Digital Builder.

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Why Construction Needs an Effective Cost Management Solution 

Tired of cost overruns?

Without a connected and centralized cost management system, projects often go over budget, over schedule, and can include costly rework. That makes finding solutions that work—and work well—all that more important.

Consistently however, cost overruns have become an expected part of projects in spite of their negative impact on already-thin profit margins. So the question is: What can builders do to be confident in their cost certainty from the get go, and actually hit that target throughout a project’s lifecycle?

This is where cloud-based cost management brings everything you need together into one platform—cost control to workflows, contract management, payment applications, and change orders. All of that works seamlessly together in an easy-to-work, easy-to-learn, and easy-to-use platform.

The infographic below will help you understand common project cost issues you’ll face without a centralized cost management system.



Get cost overruns under control

If you’d like to learn how to stay on schedule and on budget, check out The Construction Cost Control Toolkit. It’s a collection of digital resources built to help your teams standardize and accelerate their cost management workflows. Everything in there is yours, completely free.


The post Why Construction Needs an Effective Cost Management Solution  appeared first on Digital Builder.

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Data-Driven Insights Improving Quality With Alkondor

Based in Holland and founded in 1990, Alkondor engineers and produces façades, windows and doors, particularly for large and complex projects. The team work on a host of construction projects from residential to non-residential buildings, like hotels and cinemas, and have specialist expertise with complex architecture programmes.


Digitalising to reduce risk

With their own production facility in the Netherlands, 150 employees support Alkondor’s activity including Chris Schoneveld, BIM Manager and Bram Kotter, CEO. When Chris joined the team five years ago, his remit was to focus on all of Alkondor’s digital processes, including how the team can use digital solutions for better insights and modernise their ways of working.

At the time, the team used many time-consuming processes which included printing physical copies of PDF documents and delivering them between departments and to the factory manually. This meant that there was a layer of risk added to projects – working in such manual ways mean newer versions of drawings were again hand-delivered to production teams in the factory. “It was very easy for things to go wrong,” reflects Chris. “We were working in a way that was open for errors and meant there was a lot of work for everyone; we used Excel forms, handwritten notes, PDFs and spent a lot of time transferring and tracking documents.”

With all documents stored on local servers, soon the team recognised they began to have issues with different naming conventions on drawings and poor practices led to miscommunication and confusion. “It would be difficult to search between different documents,” says Chris. Alkondor decided that they needed to change the way they in which they managed their documents and knew that investment in their digital processes would help them be more efficient and collaborative when it came to working on their projects.


step change in ways of working

“We were already using some digital products such as Revit,” reflects Bram. “We were working with ITANNEX (Arkance systems), an Autodesk reseller, who introduced us to Autodesk Construction Cloud’s BIM 360 platform.” Alkondor began trialling BIM 360 to see how the functionality could support the team with their document management activities as well as supporting version controlling and issues management.

To start with, Alkondor undertook a pilot project with a small group who trialled using BIM 360. The pilot group tested how the team could share documents and data from Autodesk’s Revit platform straight into BIM 360, but they also tested other functionality like quality control and issues management.

After an initial trial, Alkondor decided that they wanted to roll out BIM 360 across all of the organisation and provide dedicated training to their team to ensure this investment was firmly embedded in the company’s ways of working. Bram introduced the solution during learning sessions for all employees, with Chris taking colleagues through the features and functionality. Chris also ensured he was available on site so the team using the solution were able to ask questions and troubleshoot collaboratively.

“I think the best features we have found in BIM 360 is the quality elements we can derive. We can document and freeze elements at certain points during construction,” says Chris. “This means we can complete extra quality checks which avoid extra costs that could be incurred to our products we install on site.”

The team use Ipads on construction sites and in the factory where they can access BIM 360. They use digital checklists for quality checks, and this also means they reduce the amount of paper used, ensuring Alkondor’s carbon footprint remains as low as possible.

Having digital document management practices means that all Alkondor team members can find documents quickly and easily using Autodesk Construction Cloud’s BIM 360 platform. “Being able to search and find documents easily saves a lot of time,” says Chris. “We can also see version history and there is a clear audit trail when it comes to changes.”


Capturing learnings for greater insights

When it comes to learnings on each project, Alkondor use BIM 360 to capture insights on the progress of their projects to provide greater certainty. Chris remarks: “We have integrated PowerBI with BIM 360 so we can visualise our data and improve outcomes. We use PowerBI and BIM 360 to provide detailed information about the project’s progress. Sometimes we adjust production and engineering processes where necessary to ensure there is no disruption to our projects.” For project managers at Alkondor, this provides them with an overview of each project helping them to make more informed decisions.

Data-Driven Insights Improving Quality With Alkondor

For Alkondor, quality is underpinned by their use of BIM 360. “All of our windows and doors are digital assets within the BIM 360 asset module,” says Bram. The team use this module to track the progress from their factory to project handover. “We add quality checks during the different stages of production and element mounting,” says Bram. “We can visualise our asset progress again using PowerBI dashboard updates with the help of Autodesk’s data connector. This updates every two hours and provides valuable information to our managers,” says Bram.

The team managers in the production area can review both data and issues using this functionality. This means that communication between the production and preparation departments are much more streamlined.

“Things are much quicker and time isn’t lost waiting on information,” – Chris Schoneveld, BIM Manager, Alkondor

“For example, colleagues in the production areas can attach issues to drawings to ensure the right materials are being ordered. This can all happen in BIM 360 with ease.”

Data-Driven Insights Improving Quality With Alkondor

This also means the teams have much more insight into what is going wrong and what can be done to change it. When it comes to Alkondor’s use of BIM 360, the company are embedding its use more and more. The team have used BIM 360 on 197 projects, documented 13810 issues and created 17500 checklists as well as 10500 assets.


Data, data and more data

For Alkondor, having meaningful data available to analyse is significant. Chris reflects: “We have data and dashboards to make it immediately visible. Previously, we couldn’t analyse anything, but now we can use BIM 360 to analyse everything.” When it comes to using this data, it is invaluable to be able to document and capture the quality of products at a moment in time. “In the past, we were unable to confirm with our clients that there weren’t any scratches on door panes, broken glass or concrete stripes. So if there was a defect afterwards, customers could blame us and ask to front the costs for solving it,” says Chris. Now, Alkondor has evidence of the quality of their outputs on a set date. Which is stored in BIM 360. Depending on the project, that could save somewhere between 10,000 euros to 100,000 euros.

In the future, the team is looking to add in sensor data, so that the business can offer services like predictive maintenance. As an example, they could use this functionality to identify that one door opens once a year, while another opens a thousand times a year. They could use that data to inform predictive maintenance schedules.

For Alkondor, embracing technology of the future like the use of robotics in their factories means they will enable their workforce to focus on higher value and complex work. Being able to offer data to their customers also means that they can be more transparent and provide information that will help their customer to better manage the asset in the future.

“We are committed to embracing technology today so that we can use it for the better in the future,” says Bram. “This also means we can be more flexible as a company – for example pivoting our market offering from projects to ongoing services which will provide us with more revenue streams to explore. And at the heart of all of this for Alkondor is using their data for the better.

The post Data-Driven Insights Improving Quality With Alkondor appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

5 Must-Hear Construction Podcast Episodes from 2021

Jobsites aren’t the only loud places in construction; the ecosystem of construction technology produces a lot of noise too. It can be difficult to cut through what’s real, what’s hype, and what can actually help you improve how your team gets their work done. That’s partly why we decided to launch Autodesk’s Digital Builder podcast and share stories from ambitious leaders from across the construction industry. 

Our podcast, we get into the corners of what works, what doesn’t, and what the future for the industry holds. To wrap up the year, I wanted to look back (in no particular order) at a few interesting episodes from 2021.


Episode 17: Diving Deep on Communication & Collaboration in Construction w/ Eddie & Tyler Campbell

Working across upwards of twenty companies during a project is typical in the AEC industry. Each company usually has multiple people involved as stakeholders, each with their own prescriptions and priorities. The only way for a project to run smoothly is to prioritize communication and collaboration. For the best project outcomes, everyone must be on the same page. 

Eddie Campbell, COO at ABSI (Accelerated Building Solutions, Inc.) and Tyler Campbell, Vice President, also at ABSI, are no strangers to the highs and lows of construction collaboration. The co-hosts of the Construction Brothers Podcast joined us to share best practices for increasing cooperation within projects. 

You’ll learn actionable tips for:

empowering subcontractors for better collaborationnavigating contract disputesimproving the bidding process enhancing management styles 

Listen here: Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen.


Episode 20: Uncovering Actionable Insights from Construction Data with a Platform

Jim Lynch and Sid Haksar, Autodesk Construction Solutions, Digital Builder Ep. 20: Evaluating Construction Platforms and Technology

Spend any time listening to thought leaders discuss construction technology and you’ll undoubtedly hear the term “platform” come up. Understanding what to expect from a construction platform is the first step to getting the most out of the technology you use. A true platform should provide a single location for designers, engineers, and builders to harness data and tools from anywhere, at any time. 

In the twentieth episode of the Digital Builder podcast, you’ll hear from Jim Lynch, Senior Vice President & General Manager, and Sid Haksar, Head of Construction Strategy, both with Autodesk, on what defines a true platform and how to make sure you select the right one. Jim and Sid share their most tried and true tips for evaluating construction platforms and technology. 

You’ll also discover:

the top five considerations for evaluating construction platforms and technologywhat to expect from data and digitization in the future, and the importance of platforms in modern construction

Listen here:Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen.


Episode 14: Demystifying Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning in Construction: Buzzwords or Essential Tools?

ai construction

What comes to mind first when you think of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)? It isn’t uncommon to think of super-skilled robots and a loss of human touch in the workplace. But as you’ll discover in this episode of the Digital Builder podcast, AI and ML are key to improving the safety of jobsites, the productivity of teams, and institutional knowledge for construction firms. 

Here to demystify the realm of AI & ML in construction are Josh Kanner, Founder and CEO of Newmetrix (formerly and Pat Keaney, Director of Product Management, Intelligence at Autodesk Construction R&D. Josh and Pat break down the two innovative technologies in an accessible way while sharing real-world examples of their practice. 

You’ll walk away with a greater understanding of:

what machine learning and artificial intelligence really are how these technologies can benefit constructionwhat’s next for AI and ML in the industrythe common misconceptions about this type of technology 

Listen here:Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen.


Episode 10: Global BIM Adoption: Where We’re At & Where We’re Going w/ Ariel Castillo & Steve Rollo

Digital Builder Ep 10 3 Things We Learned About The Future of BIM Adoption

The adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) at an international level has as many opportunities as it does challenges. Many in the industry wonder when—if ever—we’ll reach a global standard for the process. 

Ariel Castillo, Strategic Process & VDC Specialist at Miller-Davis Company, and Steve Rollo, National BIM/VDC Manager at Graham, explore these big ideas on episode 10 of the Digital Builder. As Ariel and Steve discuss the future of global BIM standardization, they’ll also share what BIM and Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) really mean. Expect to hear lots about the biggest challenges with rolling out new construction technologies as well. 

Other points of conversation include:

the state of BIM adoption and standardization in Latin America and Canadapredictions for BIM globally over the next decadeexpectations for changing terminology

Listen here:Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen.


Episode 21: Data Strategy in Construction: Finding a Competitive Edge

Digital Builder Ep 21: Bringing a Construction Data Strategy to Life

Making better decisions in modern construction often comes down to having the right data. Leading firms have fine-tuned strategies for data management so they can rapidly harness insights and leverage more advanced technologies further down the line.

Jay Bowman, Managing Director of Research & Analytics at FMI, and Andy Leek, Vice President – Technology & Innovation at PARIC Corporation, break down the benefits of strong data strategies in the twenty-first episode of the Digital Builder. If you’ve always wondered how to get started on building a robust data strategy, you won’t want to miss their gems of wisdom. 

Learn from Jay and Andy about:

how to make sure you’re capturing useful datahow a baseline of data strategy leads to more advanced technologieshow to improve data literacy in constructionthe future of data in construction

Listen here:Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and anywhere else you listen.


Share with your team

While we’ve highlighted five popular episodes to begin your listening journey with Autodesk’s Digital Builder podcast, feel free to binge the rest on your rides to and from work or the jobsite. Each episode is carefully curated to provide insights into the modern construction industry you just won’t find anywhere else. Don’t forget to share your favorite episodes and discuss with your team. A new episode drops every two weeks and you can subscribe on:

Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcastsor wherever you listen to podcasts

The post 5 Must-Hear Construction Podcast Episodes from 2021 appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

4 Ways to Avoid Profitability Traps That May Be Costing You

Maintaining profitability on any given project is a challenge that many AEC firms face. It’s no secret that the construction industry has some of the lowest margins out there; data from Camino Financial states that the construction industry has an average net profit margin of just 5%.

For this reason, teams are under immense pressure to meet project budgets. However, doing that can be a major challenge because construction projects face several profitability traps. These traps are present at all stages of a project and come in many forms—including inaccurate forecasting, data silos, lack of accountability, and so much more.

Image from Autodesk University 2021 session “How to Exceed Project Profit Margins by Maximizing Data and Workflows”.

To avoid these pitfalls, teams must centralize their workflows, standardize their practices, and connect project data to critical processes. In doing so, you can improve productivity and reduce delay, which ultimately results in higher profits.

One firm that’s gotten good at avoiding these profitability traps is BL Harbert, a construction firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. BL Harbert brings in about $1 billion in annual revenue and employs 8,000 staff members across the globe.

Dane Pemberton, the firm’s US Group Construction Technology Manager, delivered an very helpful industry  at AU 2021 where he discussed how BL Habert improved profitability by maximizing data and workflows

Dane spoke with Esteban Corrales, Manager of Technical Solutions for Construction at Autodesk, and outlined the steps that the company took to streamline its process and maximize profits.


1. Create efficient processes to eliminate bottlenecks

There are plenty of bottlenecks that can slow the progress of construction projects. It could be a case of stakeholders unable to quickly find the info they need. Other times, there’s a lack of alignment between teams.

Whatever the situation, bottlenecks cause delays, which lead to higher costs and lower profits. As Dane puts it, “Bottlenecks affect productivity. And if your productivity is affected, your profit margins are affected as well.”

“Bottlenecks affect productivity. And if your productivity is affected, your profit margins are affected as well.”

—Dane Pemberton, US Group Construction Technology Mgr, BL Habert

One of the best ways to overcome project bottlenecks is to get all stakeholders on the same page using a common data environment (CDE). Avoid using point solutions or disconnected systems, as this will create silos and reduce efficiency. Instead, centralize your data and workflows and ensure that teams can access everything they need from a single platform.

“Centralizing our model and pulling everyone into a common environment was really important to us,” explains Dane. “And so Autodesk Construction Cloud, and the unified platform it provides, has been key in helping us in our centralization effort.”

You can also eliminate bottlenecks through standardization. By making sure that teams follow the same procedures—and those processes are carried out on the same platform—you can keep things moving along more smoothly.

As an example, Dane shares their previous process for handling RFIs, which involved a lot of back-and-forth between various stakeholders.

“We would encounter an issue on the job, and then a superintendent would pick up the phone to tell the project manager. That person would then write the RFI and relay it to the vendor or subcontractor, who’ll use their own system and coordinate with other stakeholders. Then they’ll turn around, and send it back to us.”

The process was quite disconnected and left plenty of room for miscommunication. So, the company adopted digital tools which streamlined the RFI process.

“Now, with Autodesk Build and [Autodesk] Construction Cloud, we have a more concise workflow. We have at least a central source for all the data to live. We have the connected workflows inside of Build that help us take a pen off a sheet, immediately click on that, create an RFI, send that out.”

Dane continues, “And the tracking process is seamless. We send it to users that are already in the system. They get notified via email or notification on their phone. And they can immediately answer or share it with other team members. It has helped create efficiency through connecting all those workflows together, plus centralizing and standardizing what the RFI form looks like, and what the process looks like.”


2. Establish clear accountability across teams

Promoting accountability ensures that project tasks and milestones are met. When everyone knows what they’re responsible for—and they are empowered to fulfill those responsibilities—projects run smoothly and you fall into fewer profitability traps.

One way to achieve better accountability is to improve visibility within your projects. As Esteban points out, “When all teams have visibility into what others are doing and what they need to do to hit their schedule marks and their budget, it creates accountability into a shared project goal.”

So, how do you promote higher visibility for your teams? Dane recommends establishing consistent project inputs and processes.

“All of our projects teams typically have a senior leader or project executive assigned to multiple projects. And so what we found is [that] building consistency across our projects helped tremendously in reducing audit time.”

Dane adds, “Now that they have consistency, they know exactly what they’re looking at. They can go right to the things that make sense. We have common filters and common sorts, and we can leverage the database to give us the information in a consistent manner. And that’s been tremendous.”

When BL Harbert implemented more consistency in its projects, the company achieved better visibility of issues and action items.

According to Dane, “Now any issue or any action item that is generated on a job happens in one central location, and has one very similar look. And we can break those types down—i.e., if they’re a coordination issue, a safety problem, or a quality issue. We have all that at our fingertips.”


3. Digitally connect workflows and data to cost activities

We can’t talk about profitability without discussing cost management. Properly managing project expenses leads to wiser spending, cost savings, and—you guessed it—higher profits.

One of the best things you can do to improve cost management is to do it all from a centralized and connected platform. By connecting workflows and data to cost activities, teams can find important financial data much quicker, thus enabling them to make smarter cost-based decisions.

At BL Harbert, Dane shares that they connected Autodesk Construction Cloud with their ERP system, and this allowed them to unlock massive efficiency gains and profitability.

“It’s extremely important to have consistency, especially when you’re managing cost,” says Dane, who recalls how they used to manage their costs using Excel and other disconnected tools.

“We used to have an Excel spreadsheet to manage projections. We would have calculations off to the side on a sheet of paper. We’d have invoices in a different system, trying to backtrack and figure out where costs went or where something got coded.”

Now, the teams at BL Harbert use Autodesk Construction Cloud. “We built an integration to our ERP system, and we’ve connected all of those aspects together. And just by going through some clicks in the system, and drilling down on certain areas inside the Budget tab of the Cost module, we’re able to drill down to some of those things.”

“We don’t have to print out a dozen reports, and enter in a different job number to then go and pull an Excel file. So it’s been extremely valuable to connect all those workflows together. That one is probably one of the biggest efficiency gains, in and of itself, that we’ve seen.”


4. Analyze data to proactively mitigate risk

A key benefit of connected workflows is better data visibility. Armed with the right data, teams will be able to gain useful insights that they can use to mitigate risk. The teams at BL Harbert use Autodesk’s Insights tools to bring data together in one place, which helps them understand project health and potential risks.

They can, for example, use AI and machine learning to identify RFI risk factors and use those insights in their decision-making.

And according to Dane, this is just the beginning. They intend to double down on data so they can further leverage it to grow the business.

“One of our biggest goals for the future is expansion. We want to continue to grow our technology footprint,” he shares.

“We want to continue to grow our utilization. We want to take advantage of what we know we have inside these systems, and really leverage the analytics to resolve company problems.”


Is Autodesk right for your projects?

Low profits don’t have to be the norm in your construction firm. You can unlock extensive profitability gains by streamlining and connecting your processes, promoting accountability, and leveraging data.

Autodesk Build can help you do all of the above and more. Request a demo today and someone on our team will get in touch. We’ll talk through where you’re at, where you want to go, and how Autodesk Build can help you get there.

The post 4 Ways to Avoid Profitability Traps That May Be Costing You appeared first on Digital Builder.

Construction Blogs

Construction Budgeting 101

Your construction budget is one of the most important things to get right in any project. Poor budgeting leads to inaccurate estimates and error-prone forecasts, which can result in unfavorable project outcomes.

The lack of proper budgeting practices can also lead to communication breakdowns and misalignment. When your team members can’t get on the same page on project spending, you’re more likely to run into design, construction, and admin errors.

Ultimately, an inadequate construction budget leads to cost overruns, wasted time, and lower profit margins. For this reason, it’s important to understand and implement cost management best practices. It also helps to equip your teams with tools that can help keep your project’s financials in check.

In this post, we’ll go over all these points to give you a better understanding of construction budgeting and how to implement it. You’ll walk away with a solid grasp of budgeting fundamentals, along with tips to help you maintain strong profit margins throughout the lifecycle of your projects.


Construction budget basics

To successfully create your budget, you need to have good data, a reliable team, and a thorough understanding of the scope of work. When these components are in place, you’re better equipped to come up with accurate budgets and estimates.

Have access to the right data

You need to get your hands on accurate and up-to-date data; otherwise, you won’t be able to produce reliable estimates and projections. To that end, strive to create easy access to the most recent and relevant data possible.

Work with strong team members

The people with whom you collaborate can have a massive impact on the amount of money and time you spend on a project. See to it that you’re working with a qualified team of contractors and subcontractors.

Build relationships with people who are honest, transparent, and good at communicating. In addition to ensuring that you get the most accurate figures, these types of individuals make collaboration much easier. You’re less likely to run into miscommunication, which helps to avoid issues such as misaligned expectations and change orders.

Iron out the scope

Scope out the work as thoroughly as you can. Conduct a proper site inspection, and don’t shy away from asking detailed questions before drawing up an estimate. Get down to the nitty gritty if you have to. For example, make it a point to verify any unit prices on the budget that you can. The more accurate your estimates, the more satisfied everyone will be with outcomes because expectations were better set from the beginning. For best results, work closely with all stakeholders to determine the objectives, timelines, and deliverables of the project.

It takes a bit more work up front, but spending this time and effort in defining a job’s scope will enable you to create a detailed and accurate budget that’ll serve you and your teams as you go through the project lifecycle.


Preconstruction budget planning

A lot of budget-related activities take place during the preconstruction phase, and for good reason. Effective budgeting means planning your expenditures in advance and allocating your resources accordingly. By managing your budget during preconstruction, you’re able to consider the entire building process before breaking ground, ultimately helping you mitigate risks and cost overruns.

How preconstruction budget planning works

Generally speaking, the preconstruction budgeting process involves the following steps.

Conduct initial meetings: Teams kick off a project by holding a meeting (or a series of meetings) wherein the client and contractor discuss the objectives and other details of the particular construction project. The client may share an initial budget or figure that they have in mind for the job.

Come up with project estimates: This figure isn’t set in stone. The contractor must evaluate the details of the project—including specifications, market rates, and historical costs—to determine whether or not it’s feasible to complete the job with the given amount. At this stage, the contractor also needs to consider factors like material costs, subcontractor and labor expenses, and other contingencies to figure out how much they’re likely to spend.

Implement value engineering: Teams can also implement value engineering—the practice of maximizing value by optimizing each project’s component in relation to the cost. Contractors implementing value engineering must assess the functionality or value of different aspects of the job and allocate resources accordingly.

For example, if a client values sustainability in their projects, the contractor could optimize the budget so that it allocates more resources to the components that make the building eco-friendly, while at the same time finding cost-savings in other areas.

Different types of costs to consider

During the preconstruction budget planning stage, the costs that contractors have to consider typically fall into the following categories.

Administrative: Admin expenses cover design and engineering costs, along with other activities related to the management of project affairs (e.g., securing permits, drawing up paperwork, etc.)

Labor: Specialty contractors and the site crew all need to be paid, so ensure that you properly account for labor costs in your budget.

Preparation of the site: Any expenses incurred as part of site preparation should also be considered. These costs may include demolishing existing buildings and removing debris from the site.

Supplies and equipment: Costs under this category include any materials, equipment, and supplies necessary to build the project.

Consider the entire lifecycle of a project

When planning your expenses, it’s important to think about the entire lifecycle of the project and determine how much of the budget will be spent at each stage.

Design: This stage largely involves architects and members of the design team working together to come up with models for the project. Once everyone has signed off on the plans and specifications, the next task is to list the required materials and expenses necessary to procure them.

Preconstruction: Before breaking ground, stakeholders must first ensure that the site is prepared for construction. At this stage, activities such as soil testing, site inspections, and plan reviews would take place. Once these steps are complete, the budget, design, and schedule will be finalized.

Procurement: At the procurement phase, the team secures all the materials, supplies, and equipment required to build the project.

Construction:This is the actual execution of the job. At this point, construction crews make it to the job site to work on the building.

Closeout: Once the building is complete, the project enters the closeout stage. The construction site will be cleared up, equipment rentals will be returned, and the crew will be demobilized.


Common construction cost overruns

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: cost overruns are quite common in construction. KPMG found that just 31% of construction projects come within 10% of the budget, which means the sizable majority of projects exceed their original budget.

You can prevent this from happening by being aware of the most common reasons behind construction cost overruns and taking steps to mitigate them.

Inaccurate project estimates

Inaccurate estimates during the preconstruction process can lead to mismatched expectations regarding the project scope. When you underestimate the time and money it takes to complete a job or activity, you may end up spending more resources than originally planned and go over your budget. This can also negatively impact owner-contractor relationships.

The best way to prevent this is to set realistic and data-backed budget expectations during the preconstruction phase. Collaborate closely with all stakeholders to come up with the appropriate figures and always rely on data when making calculations.

Design errors

Poorly designed, inaccurate, or incomplete plan models will inevitably lead to delays and unnecessary costs down the line. This is why it’s essential for owners and contractors to be on the same page when discussing the scope and objectives of the job. During the design stage, ensure that all stakeholders are kept in the loop with all updates and changes.

It also helps to use technology. Digital models are much easier to update compared to paper documents. What’s more, digital solutions such as construction project management software streamline collaboration, issue detection and resolution, and progress tracking.

Unaddressed design errors can be expected to manifest in costly rework if discovered in any phase following design.

Change order errors

Change orders take place when the owner or contractor implements modifications to the project after the models and budgets have already been approved. Change orders, which can come in the form of new specs, fixes, and requirements, lead to changes in the budget, and often take additional resources to carry out.

It’s not easy to avoid change orders, but you can take steps to plan for them. During the budgeting stage, allocate time and resources for changes or disputes. Construction software can also come in handy here, as there are applications that can simulate scope changes during the preconstruction phase. This will help you anticipate different possibilities and budget accordingly.

dministrative errors

Admin errors are another common cause of construction overruns. Tasks related to scheduling, securing permits, and accounting can be quite complex. And if they’re done manually,  it’s common for inefficiencies to perpetuate due to human error..

One of the best ways to avoid admin mistakes is to streamline various activities using technology. Integrated construction solutions, for instance, can automate data entry from one system to the next. In addition, project management software can improve visibility of data for administrators and ensure the accuracy of project documents.

Site management errors

As far as construction projects go, a lot of the action takes place on the job site, as this is where projects come to life. As such, job sites have many moving parts—you have your crew, equipment, supplies, and more.

Failing to manage any of the above components can lead to on-site conflict, delays, and additional expenses. Fortunately, these issues are easily preventable with proper communication. Keeping everyone aligned on the project specs, timelines, and budget will lead to a smoother experience for all stakeholders. When everyone knows what needs to be done and when they need to do it, you have stronger accountability and worker performance on-site.

How to resolve these common cost overruns? Build a good team.

You can have the best tools, materials, and resources at your fingertips, but these things are only as good as the people using them. That’s why it’s important to bring in the right people for the job. Take the time to vet and investigate your subcontractors, particularly in areas like trust and safety. Doing so will enable you to build a strong team from the get-go.


Technology for budgeting

Budgeting for construction projects isn’t easy, and this is where technology comes in.

Whether you need to streamline data entry and cost calculations or require better visibility into the different components of your projects, there are several technology solutions that can assist your workflows.

Bidding and estimating

During the bidding and estimating stage, contractors and estimators gather the necessary project details to form an accurate estimate and submit a bid. This process involves developing quantity takeoffs, gathering material prices, equipment costs, and more.

Bid management and estimating technology is meant to support a smoother preconstruction process. Functionality will depend on who is using it, and there are good solutions in the market for owners, general contractors, and specialty contractors.

Good bidding and estimating technology should:

Combine 2D and 3D quantification into a single solution to help you come up with highly accurate estimates and competitive bids.Quickly access drawing and model-based quantification workflows, so estimating teams can collaborate better.Connect builders and owners so both parties can implement a smooth bid and risk management process.Enable general contractors to discover specialty contractors, qualify them for projects, and manage invites and bid submissions.Enable specialty contractors to view, track, and handle all their bid invites from one place, so they can manage their workload and ensure that no job slips through the cracks.

Project management


At the submittals phase, the contractor submits project documents (e.g. submittals package) to the architect and design team. The team will then review the package, and once approved, will share it with field teams.

Managing the submittals process is significantly more efficient nowadays with readily available technology. Without getting too into the weeds, good solutions use AI (algorithms) to read your specs and automatically pull action submittals, product data, and more. This makes generating submittal logs much easier by enabling teams to further streamline their process. They can efficiently coordinate and manage all submittals in a single submittal log in the cloud.

RFI Management

Much like submittals, managing RFIs is very important to budget given its impact on cost and schedule. According to Navigant Consulting Forum, a typical project receives an average of 796 RFIs. It can cost over $1080 to respond to each one of them. That means RFI’s on a single project could impact a project’s bottom line by up to $860,000.

Knowing that RFIs can incur such steep costs and create project delays while the RFI is being responded to, good RFI management solutions should help flag high-risk RFIs so you can prioritize which RFIs need action. RFI management software should also help you catch design issues earlier to improve handover from design to construction and avoid exponentially expensive design issues caught later in the process. Last, RFI software solutions can help you identify risk across multiple projects so you can proactively make decisions about how to handle RFIs before they pop up.

Cost management

Cost management is about controlling costs to keep a project’s budget on track. That’s often easier said than done, but remember that the goal is to stay within budget to achieve max profitability. Managing costs is necessary at all stages of a project and requires having systems in place to ensure that you’re meeting intended targets.

So, what does good cost management software do? It should make navigating cost-related decisions much easier by giving you the exact data you need, when you need it. That often equates to helping you create more dependable forecasts, make better decisions on tighter timelines, and ultimately, give you a stronger handle of a project’s financials at every phase.

To make all that possible, good cost management technology enables you to connect real-time project and field data with cost activities. This increases the viability of cost-related activities because you’re able to understand—and report on—the impact of these activities to your bottom line.

Considering how closely tied cost-activities are to schedule, project management software should also centralize your project schedules and better yet, allow you to connect schedule and cost data. This enables your team to connect the schedule with the entire project and share information instantly to prevent costly downtime or miscommunication.


Ready to level up your construction budgeting?

Construction budgeting can be an arduous task, but it doesn’t have to be.

You can take the stress and hassle out of budgeting and cost management if you work with metric-minded team members and communicate with them openly. You should also establish budgeting processes that are relatively simple to implement. No need to overwhelm your team if you’re just getting your budgeting practices sorted out. There will be an inevitable learning curve and it’s something everyone can benefit from. Finally, equip your teams with digital construction tools that can automate tedious tasks. You’ll promote collaboration, make better decisions, and provide better visibility into the impact of those decisions on construction budgets.

By taking these guidelines, you’ll be able to budget smarter, reduce cost overruns, and improve overall project outcomes.

If you’re looking for robust tools and a strong technology partner to help you improve your budgeting practices, check out Autodesk Construction Cloud. Find out why some of the world’s top construction owners and firms trust Autodesk to power their teams and projects.


The post Construction Budgeting 101 appeared first on Digital Builder.