Hindsight is useful and foresight is fabulous – but insight is the real superpower when it comes to improving quality, financials and team performance on a construction site. According to the expert speakers at our recent panel event, How Data Insights Can Cultivate Quality Excellence, there is a wealth of information being generated on every project that can be used to identify and rectify the defects that compromise both budgets and reputation.
Moderated by Will Twomey, Head of Solutions Consulting at Procore, the panel featured Sonya Miller, Director at Armitage Jones; David Graham, former Construction Director at Frasers Property; and Brett Hocking, Executive Manager at APP Corporation.
Don’t waste that data
Miller observed that while most builders already use data for record-keeping and compliance purposes, it is often “singular project focused” and not being used to its full potential.
All of the data,queries and RFIs that are collected during the course of a project can be a source of learning and insight, helping improve processes and outcomes for the next project, she said. Having information management systems that are easy to use and data entry that is consistent is the key here. People also need to understand how to extract the valuable information from the system.
Senior management should take the lead
Senior management needs to take an active role in utilising reporting based on project data. Currently, ensuring data on defects is recorded and examined is left to middle-management and site teams. To achieve higher quality reporting, senior management needs to be taking defects and the issues that cause them seriously.
“The reality is you need to gather the data on a project. You need to give the teams the empowerment to actually raise the nonconformances. Start listing those nonconformances. You need to start aggregating that information and bringing it together. You need to start looking at what the common data trends are or what the common data sets of defects are. (And) you need to be communicating those, bring those together,” said Graham.
Miller added that when teams see senior management taking a greater interest in the quality of the project, it results in more buy-in at all company levels.
Banish the defects margin
Allocating 0.5% margin for defects management in the initial tender is considered common practice. Graham said this needs to change, and instead of considering defects an inevitable part of the project, data insights can be used to put a defect management plan in place during the tender stage, instead of a rectification budget.
The data gathered from project to project gives detailed information that can be passed onto successive project teams. Mistakes made on previous projects can be listed and teams asked to put processes in place to prevent them reoccurring.
“Pre-construction is sitting down with your teams and saying, ‘These are some of the common issues we’re coming up against. We need to be aware of it.’ So, there’s actually visibility on the horizon as to some of the issues that they might come up against,” explained Graham.
Building a data goldmine
Beyond using data for project quality, Hocking said APP uses data analysis to gain insights in relation to how fit-for-purpose a project will be.
APP uses Procore as a database, in conjunction with a bolt-on analytics tool to gain in-depth insight into project costs, quality and compliance across multiple projects. This generates the ability to improve planning, design and delivery phases of future projects.
Miller echoed the importance of every level of the business understanding the importance and value of data. Information in relation to defects, for example, shouldn’t be left to one member of the team to deal with when the project is drawing near to completion.
“I think adoption of data and understanding the importance of it starts right from the top.”
Watch “How Data Can Cultivate Quality Insights” on demand now