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Cloud-based construction: improving workflows and efficiency

cloud-based construction
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As construction continues to digitise, robust, cloud-based construction solutions are essential, argues James Chambers.  

Cloud solutions include file storage, communications platforms, software tools and company networks and databases.  

Companies can save a significant amount of time and money by having these tools in the cloud. Project teams can work anywhere, at any time and with the information and software they need. 

Making work more accessible  

These services are ready from the moment a user logs in, often customisable around the specific needs of companies and individuals and underpinned by regular updates and support.  

Because storage is cloud-based too, companies are not restricted by server access or performance. 

Even poor connections are not a problem, as most cloud-based tools offer an offline mode, allowing even the remotest project teams to work together.  

Managing via the cloud 

Cloud-based working also makes it easier for businesses to manage their licences and users. By removing the constraints of time, cost and distance, it is easier to bring together the right team for the task.  

It also allows companies to use a broader range of devices. Many tools and apps are able to work seamlessly across desktop and mobile without issues of compatibility and transferring information. 

Improving teamwork 

Teams can work in real-time, via virtual meetings or in-software, or on demand, with people working on shared files and using email and chat to communicate.  

This makes it easier to keep teams synchronised and on top of the latest documents and progress against projects. This, in turn, helps with collaborative tasks such as cost and design reviews. 

Most tools can also be easily connected by APIs (application programme interface), so it is not even the case that people are stuck within their existing systems. At the SME level, this can be a concern as companies do not want to reinvest the time, cost and energy into a big overhaul of their systems and workflows. 

Risk management in the cloud 

Using technology like this creates a wealth of data and a real-time audit trail of project activities, helping organisations manage risk. Changes to guidance and legislation, such as the recent Building Safety Act, make this essential, as project teams must have evidence for how they manage these workflows. 

One area of caution. As with any technology, there is a cyber security risk, especially when considering the breadth of the supply chain that may have access to systems and data. Companies must have effective security, both on the service-provider side and at device level. And they should communicate with users to explain the principles of effective cyber security. 

To see how cloud-based working could benefit you, download a free trial of Bluebeam Revu here

James Chambers is director, global industry development, at Bluebeam 

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