To better assess the impacts of e-Construction on US transportation construction deliveries, transportation software company Pavia Systems recently commissioned an e-Construction survey of project owners, owner’s representatives and contractors who build our roads, streets, highways and bridges. The survey results are remarkable, to say the least, as they reveal exceptional performance among e-Construction adopters in 2015 versus their peers.
The survey polled 185 US industry participants, including employees from the FHWA, DOTs, dozens of Engineering Services and Design Firms, Cities, Municipalities, Metropolitan Transportation Boards, Contractors, Materials Suppliers, Educators and Non-Profits. It was conducted by Forbes contributor Mark Fidelman January 18th – February 29th, 2016. “Key findings are summarized in an infographic available for download.
The survey suggests the industry is well on its way to understanding the impacts of and implementing an increasingly paperless system for construction administration and delivery. The majority of survey participants (54%) either use or have piloted e-Construction tools and processes, and another 29% are exploring e-Construction options. Respondents from state DOTs indicated e-Construction is fast-becoming mainstream, with 82% reporting they have either adopted or piloted e-Construction tools, and another 11% exploring them.
The survey also revealed a correlation between project performance, as measured by on-time and on-budget deliveries, and e-Construction use. An astonishing 60% of DOT respondents that adopted e-Construction reported that most 2015 construction projects (76% or more) were delivered on time, according to the original contract schedule. This compares to 36% of DOT peers who didn’t use e-Construction in 2015. Sixty eight percent of DOTs that have adopted e-Construction tools reported that most 2015 construction projects were delivered on budget, according to the original contract.
TxDOT Director of Construction Tracy Cain contents that e-Construction can contribute to the overall picture. “If everyone were using it, it would be an advantage to communicating quickly and responding quickly. As the resources we’re using to inspect construction projects are limited, anything that can multiply our efforts to allow more inspections with fewer folks is a win for us.”
According to HDR Construction Services Manager Dan Becker, the relationship between e-Construction adoption and delivery performance has more to do with people’s mindset: “Those willing to resolve issues quickly tend to be more willing to adopt e-Construction tools.”
According to the survey, there is a wide range of what e-Construction tools respondents are using: from electronic signatures to in-field mobile inspection systems. The top three uses for e-Construction are making key documents easily available to field personnel (77%), digitized project inspections (75%), and managing the design, letting and bidding process (68%). The top three perceived benefits are reduced paper use, printing and document storage needs; improved document distribution and workflow, and improved record storage, tracking & recall.
When it comes to adopting e-Construction tools, the majority (60%) reported difficulties getting people to actually use the tools, use them correctly or to their full potential. IT challenges – ranging from finding the right tools, to providing user support and integrating e-Construction tools with legacy systems – ranked a close second, at 58% of respondents who have adopted e-Construction tools. IT challenges will be addressed in a separate post.
WSDOT P.E. Derek Case added: “Anybody starting e-Construction needs to know that they will be equally engaged in the management of change, as much as they will be figuring out the technical details.”
So where is all this headed? And how can the community accelerate the e-Construction adoption curve? Twelve respected industry insiders reveal their perspectives in the e-Book, The Impact of Paperless Technologies on US Transportation Construction. Download your free copy today!