PlanGrid To Roll Out Construction Productivity, Predictive Analytics Tools
As the labor shortage worsens and productivity stagnates in construction, tech companies and construction firms are finding ways to improve job-site performance and productivity. Construction tech company PlanGrid unveiled several new products meant to improve construction productivity during its inaugural PlanGrid Construction Summit in San Francisco on Monday.
PlanGrid CEO and co-founder Tracy Young said during the event that as other industries have digitized and reported increased productivity, construction hasn’t. She said the inability to access current information on construction projects costs the industry $20B annually.
The construction industry is the largest consumer of raw materials in the world and used 50% of the world's steel production, Young said. She said 3 billion tons of raw materials are used to manufacture building materials globally each year, but 40% of those materials are wasted due to rework or other reasons.
Young said the workforce is retiring faster than the industry can train incoming workers.
“How do we do more, better, faster with our limited resources?” she said. “How do we increase our construction productivity that this world and our next generation needs?”
PlanGrid has focused on three areas to increase productivity: access, collaboration and insights. Young said access means anyone on a project can view a digitized set of records and information on the project in real time and making the process better. Collaboration means being able to communicate and coordinate quicker and share information on and off the job site. Insights means using data to build a better project and understand potential risks.
PlanGrid's newest products, expected to be available later this year, will provide additional ways within their existing platform that will support these three areas and improve productivity.
The company plans to roll out BIM in the Field, which will make building information modeling data accessible in PlanGrid through Autodesk Revit, a building information modeling software.
“We believe that there is often a disconnect between the model used in the office and the permanent documents used to build the building by the builders,” PlanGrid Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Ralph Gootee said.
Revit models can be published directly to PlanGrid and provide immediate access to upload sheets within the platform. Data also is auto-populated throughout PlanGrid projects. Superintendents can then access all BIM elements and building details through PlanGrid.
A new tasks tool allows anyone to create a log, assign tasks to specific field workers and track the status of the assigned task. Workers will have access to the information needed to complete the task as well as installation guides, links and drawings.
PlanGrid Product Manager Leslie Francisco said the tool will allow a foreman on a job site to go through tasks and notify team members in real time, add comments and update the status of the work.
PlanGrid's change-management tool will integrate features to manage change orders and provide interoperability with other PlanGrid features. The change-management tool will allow team members to start a change event without new data entry and keep a log of all potential changes. The request for quote process can be managed from within PlanGrid from sending out RFQs to tracking quotes and completing the change proposal.
Next Gen RFIs will provide redesigned requests for information and new features for general contractors to manage request for information documentation. Users also will be able to respond and approve RFIs without needing to log into PlanGrid.
A new insights feature will provide product and corporate-level analytics to allow for better decision-making. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, PlanGrid also will use historical industry data from similar projects to determine and predict potential common problems before they occur on a job site.
This tool can analyze data to create patterns, such as identifying a vendor that has 10 times more design changes or identifying a common factor within similar projects, to better assess potential risks, Gootee said.
“This is the future of construction,” Young said. “We want to help you make one less mistake.”