Research shows construction professionals using digital workflows for improved productivity

By Jenny LescohierDecember 13, 2022

Findings show internal connections are far more common than external ones, with nearly half of all respondents (48%) sharing 50% or more of their project data internally using digital workflows

New research from Dodge Construction Network, together with Trimble, reveals construction professionals are using digital workflows to share project information across company departments as well as multiple organizations to enhance efficiency and productivity on the job site. 

Sharing digital data effectively is a critical factor in the ongoing digital transformation of the construction industry, and research published in Trimble’s Connected Construction SmartMarket Brief series shows owners, architects, engineers, general contractors and specialty trades are taking advantage of what digital workflows can offer.

The findings show, however, that internal connections are far more common than external ones, with nearly half of all respondents (48%) sharing 50% or more of their project data internally using digital workflows, and nearly one quarter (24%) doing so with other stakeholders on their projects.

“In an increasingly connected world and with the rapid adaptation of remote work due to Covid, construction companies are looking for ways to more efficiently, securely and quickly share data with key stakeholders,” said Pete Large, senior vice president of Trimble Construction.

“This research project with Dodge shows that teams and projects utilizing digital workflows saw a substantial increase in project quality, supported by faster delivery and decreased delays related to rework. By sharing the findings of this research, we believe these insights can help construction professionals understand how connected construction is used on a practical level,” Large said.

Some notable findings from the Connected Construction SmartMarket Brief series include:

  • General contractors that focus on vertical (building) construction are utilizing more digital workflows for their construction operation processes and reaping greater benefits than those who largely engage in civil construction.

  • Architects lead the industry in their use of multicompany digital workflows, with one third deploying them.

  • Engineers are deepening their engagement with workflows for specific design practices with 83% of users are planning additional investments digital workflows.

  • Specialty trade contractors are currently utilizing digital workflows most frequently for administrative tasks, but their biggest planned investments are for utilizing workflows that will help them with construction operations and crew management.

Despite the differences in their degree of use and how they engage with digital workflows, owners, architects, engineers, general contractors and specialty trade

Owners are the most likely to believe digital, multi-company will be important in the next five years, and they are also the most likely to drive wider use across the industry

contractors all report the same key benefits from their use:

  • More informed decision making and increased efficiency of internal processes
  • Improved project outcomes through improved quality and faster delivery
  • Increased insight into how processes impact their projects

“It is quite likely that the increased insight that comes with the use of digital workflows is one of the main reasons that so many report being able to make better-informed decisions,” said Donna Laquidara-Carr, industry insights research director at Dodge Construction Network. “What is more exciting, though, is that this finding suggests that the digital transformation of the industry may be able to finally help the industry achieve the productivity gains that have proved so elusive over the years.”

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