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Digital construction planning is the first step to more profitable projects

As the first step in a construction programme, planning sets the tone for everything that follows. Yet a fifth of firms are still planning and executing projects entirely on paper. This approach leaves building companies vulnerable to manual errors, time delays and expensive reworks – all of which impact profitability.

Many of the issues that occur during programme execution could be avoided with smarter planning processes. Thankfully, digital construction planning software is helping builders to make up-front changes that enable them to run more efficient (and therefore more profitable) projects.

If you’re not familiar with the benefits of digital construction planning yet, don’t worry. Elecosoft has taken a deep dive into digitisation, answering questions such as:

  • What is digital construction planning?
  • Does it really make a difference to project efficiency?
  • How is digital construction planning software helping building companies deliver more profitable projects?

What is digital construction planning?

Digital construction planning is an innovative approach to project management that uses technology to create plans, outline resources and optimise workflows. This detail helps building companies consider and address potential problems before each project begins.

Here’s a simple way to understand the difference between traditional planning techniques and digital construction planning:

Imagine you’re driving somewhere you’ve never visited before. You could work on gut instinct, choosing which direction to turn whenever you reach a junction. However, there’s a high chance you’ll get lost at least once. As a result, it will take you a long time to get to your destination, and you’ll use more fuel by taking an indirect route.

The journey becomes easier if you use a printed map, as you can plan your route before you set off. But you’ve still got no idea what the traffic conditions will be like, and you’ll have to keep pulling over to check you’re on the correct route.

Alternatively, you can open the GPS app on your phone to navigate to your destination. Instantly, you’re connected to software that can select the quickest route based on real-time traffic conditions, and is smart enough to divert you if those conditions change.

Digital construction planning software is the GPS of the building industry. It enables you to create a clear roadmap for planning and executing projects in the built environment. And it delivers progress updates that you can use to adapt plans and complete construction programmes quickly and efficiently.

Does digital construction planning make a difference?

Just like a GPS delivers more value than a printed map, digital construction planning software improves project profitability by minimising errors and maximising resources. Its key benefits include:

  • Fewer time delays. 72% of construction companies say at least one of their projects has overrun. Digital construction planning software enables your organisation to identify critical moments at the planning stage and incorporate contingency time into your schedule. More importantly, planning software allows you to virtually model programmes using techniques like 4D planning to pre-empt and solve problems that could affect your timeline.
  • Less rework. Reworks are an expensive reality of commercial construction, totalling 5% of project costs on average. Digital construction planning software creates a single plan that all your project stakeholders can access – so you do not have to re-do work due to miscommunication.
  • Better resource planning. Digitising the planning process allows you to outline precisely what resources you will need and when, so you’re only investing in the people you need. Detailed planning can also help you brief suppliers confidently, preventing overspending on materials.
  • More opportunities to innovate. It takes a lot of trust for clients to sign off on out-of-the-box techniques. Using 4D planning to simulate and compare the time and cost of traditional methods versus alternative ideas enables you to prove that innovative approaches can deliver more value.

How has construction planning software helped companies to deliver more efficient projects?

Digital construction planning isn’t just a potential route to more profitable projects. Industry leaders are already using it to deliver more efficient results.

For example, refurbishment and fit-out company Collins Construction invested in Powerproject construction management software to model critical pathways at the planning stage. In a recent fit-out of a large student accommodation block, the firm used Powerproject to demonstrate that they could install prefabricated bathroom pod walls to reduce installation time by 25%.

Willmott Dixon has also used Powerproject’s capabilities to show clients the benefits of prefabrication. The construction company used the software’s 4D planning capabilities during an award-winning project to construct the University of Warwick’s Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building.

By getting the university to green light 50% of the building being manufactured off-site, Willmott Dixon reduced on-site deliveries by 40% and halved the number of contractors compared to a traditional build. This enabled them to lower resourcing costs and reduce the build’s carbon footprint, constructing the most sustainable space on Warwick’s campus.

Read more about Willmott Dixon’s move towards off-site manufacturing techniques.

Increase your programme profitability with Powerproject

Digital construction planning empowers companies to complete ambitious building projects more efficiently while running as lean as possible. As a result, building firms can maintain (and increase) profitability, even when material and labour costs are high.

Moreover, digital planning software enables builders to course-correct during execution so that plans always align with reality. Unlike static paper schedules, your company can use real-time data to make informed decisions at every stage.

With a digital construction planning solution like Powerproject, construction companies can map out the most efficient route to completion before breaking ground. And you can use dynamic information to adjust those plans as the programme unfolds. This tight integration between vision and reality will help you make effective decisions from day one to maximise project profitability.

Start your 14-day Powerproject trial to see how our software can improve construction planning.

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