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Data: One of Construction’s Most Valuable Tools

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Loumain is a full-service infrastructure delivery, commercial building, and fitout company. It commonly undertakes projects anywhere from $1.5 million to $15 million, working to obtain a complete overview of the whole early planning through management stages of construction.

Part of this involves setting clear expectations with realistic timeframes to a range of stakeholders in the construction process. This, according to Loumain Director Rob Maroszek, is one of the core reasons that delays occur on construction sites. 

Rather than blaming factors during the building process itself, it’s the expectations and timeframes devised in the planning stage that must make sense and be transparent in order to prevent delays.

Optimistic Assumptions 

Maroszek notes that his preferred term for explaining why delays occur on the construction site is ‘optimistic assumptions’ about the timeline a project should undertake.

“During a tender stage, a construction group or project management group will quite frequently base a timeline around optimism rather than realism,” says Maroszek. 

“During a tender stage, a construction group or project management group will quite frequently base a timeline around optimism rather than realism,” says Maroszek. “They also might not compare the timeline to other projects in the same geographical area.”

Maroszek says the reason this happens is because if construction groups were to be truly realistic about the timeframe, they may not win the project they are bidding for.

“It’s called strategic misrepresentation,” Maroszek explains, “and it’s part of the sales job for some before a project. If it’s a shorter program on paper, the client sees it as a cost-saving, and this can sometimes be the winning card.”

Preventing Delays through Data

The data collected from previous construction projects can be a valuable tool. At Loumain, the team uses data it has collected internally to inform timelines of future projects. Maroszek notes how useful it would be for the industry to one day take a more transparent approach to data sharing, in order to keep the wider industry accountable on timeline predictions and reasons for delays.

“In a perfect world, having enough data  to be able to supply projects a size and scope, and specify timelines based on historical data would clear up a lot of uncertainties,” Maroszek says.

In addition to data, clear lines of communication enabled by technology is a core factor to preventing delays on construction sites. Fast communication between all stakeholders means that any expectations regarding changed timelines or delays is done in real-time.

“Communication and collaboration between stakeholders is good, but could be employed on a wider scale. Other technology like 3D modelling is particularly useful as a trend in advanced construction, such as laboratories,” says Maroszek. “It anticipates clashes such as hydraulics and architecture in the design phase, so problems can be caught early on, before the construction phase.” 

Maroszek is optimistic about the upcoming generation of construction professionals, noting their technologically-savvy personas will be used to the industry’s advantage when working to prevent delays.

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