Is the future of Australian construction already here?
Construction is a significant part of the Australian economy and the issue of efficiency is considered to be more than fundamental. The good news is that the Australian construction industry seems to be aware of this need. A great example is RESCON Builders who specializes in granny flats in New South Wales.
Just a few weeks ago, RESCON Builders won the 2017 Excellence In Housing Awards for the $100,001-$150,000 Granny Flats Category. GenieBelt is extremely happy and proud of that, since it is one of the tools that RESCON Builders use during the construction process.
Based on their great achievement, we decided to take a closer look at Australian construction and analyse the present and the future of our sector. On top of that, we will dive into more details regarding RESCON Builders success story and the main factors that eventually led to it.
The issue of productivity in Australian construction
It’s no secret that, the vast majority of the construction world is facing huge productivity issues. Interestingly enough, Australian construction appears to be one of the few markets where efficiency isn’t the number one problem, according to McKinsey Institute. In a nutshell, here are some of the primary reasons why the construction industry in Australia seems to be one step ahead in comparison with the rest of the Western markets:
Of course, bureaucracy is a problem for every industry and market. Nonetheless, Australia has been very smart about it and has managed to optimize the whole process in relation to construction projects. For instance, shorter approval periods for building permits have helped a lot in speeding up the projects. This was achieved thanks to the cutback of certain time-consuming, regulatory stages.
New technologies have contributed dramatically toward productivity increase, as well. This concerns both software and hardware. In terms of software, RESCON Builders can be regarded as a very representative example given its investment to real-time project management software which can allow for a better connection between the construction site and the office and a more effective data management. As far as the equipment is concerned, the inclusion of robotics (exoskeletons, brick-laying robots etc.) and drones has significantly optimized the whole process.
Good Relationship with Unions
Based on the McKinsey report, Australian construction appears to have done a great job when it comes to unions. By providing regular high-level training and better salaries in comparison to most of the other countries, the Australian industry has managed to build an appealing profile and attract skillful young workforce.
Efficient Middle Management
Middle management plays a fundamental role in construction, too. In an effort to be extra careful on workforce issues, Australian construction has invested a lot on making sure that safety regulations are respected in every construction project and that the most experienced and talented employees will take over in positions where strong management skills are required.
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All the above don’t mean that everything in the industry works as it should. To the contrary, there still are many problems that need to be solved. However, there’s a solid foundation on which a better future can be built for anyone who dare to innovate.
The bright example of RESCON Builders
The case of RESCON Builders is very indicative when it comes to show what a dedicated team can achieve in construction if it works smartly and effectively. Granny flats are a big thing in Australia and being a specialist on them surely is the outcome of hard work and solid planning.
The 2017 Excellence In Housing Award is the best proof that RESCON is heading toward the right direction. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry and a building volume of approximately 200 granny flats per year, the numbers speak for themselves. RESCON was in need of a trustful digital tool that would facilitate the communication between the construction site and the people who work in the office. That being said, GenieBelt was an excellent match. At the moment, RESCON remains the top granny flat builder in Sydney and continues optimizing the progress of their projects.
RESCON’s experience with real-time project management software
The company used to hold a number of weekly meetings during which they were discussing any potential issues that were emerging on-site. As you can imagine, this process was very time-consuming and hindered productivity. Timothy Cocaro, CEO of RESCON, decided then that he wanted to change this and we helped him to achieve his goal.
In a few sentences, this is how construction software, GenieBelt in particular, managed to help him and his team during the construction process:
- Improved Communication:
Suddenly it became much simpler for Timothy and everyone that he was working with to stay up to date with the latest project changes and to take action without losing valuable time.
- Real-time planning and management:
Real-time updates undoubtedly is the secret of success. In construction, there is no time to lose and in that sense GenieBelt helped Timothy to acquire better control over his projects both in terms of planning and management.
- Helped projects run on time and on budget:
It goes without saying that, the two first factors have played a great role in meeting deadlines successfully without running over the pre-decided budget. A remarkable boost of productivity and efficiency, in other words.
- Vital to implementing systematic safety and quality checks
Last but not least, according to Timothy Cocaro, the implementation of systematic safety and quality checks. Thanks to the vast amount of stored data, Timothy and his team could run detailed safety and quality check, while being confident that even the strictest established criteria will be satisfied.
On top of these very interesting and insightful comments, Tej Agarwal, RESCON’s Project Planner and Defect Management, has also singled out some of the points that he found extremely helpful while working with GenieBelt’s real-time project management software. As he stated:
“It is vital for any modern-day construction company to have an effective communication and response system for all the shareholders. GenieBelt is a project management software which our construction team uses for scheduling and reporting”.
And he continued by pointing out some major benefits that the use of GenieBelt’s software had for his job:
- Easy to use interface and available across in all major platforms(iOS, Android and desktop). In that way, trades, supervisors, contractors and office team get real time updates concerning the status of all the projects.
- Has contributed immensely in reducing the project construction timeline to average of around 100 days.
- The ‘Drill Down’ section which can be used to filter activities as per assignees, dates, task name or projects.
- Individual Task sheet is generated for all trades and sent out weekly to book trades. The trades know what to expect in coming two weeks so they plan their schedules and visits in advance.
- Each project schedule is tailored as per its specific requirements – for example which kind of cladding/roofing/flooring is meant to be used for the project. Trades and RESCON staff uses this to upload pictures from the job site. It provides much required visibility for whole project team if there are any issues with quality of the construction activity.
- ‘Beats’ which are basically any updates, changes, comments or uploads done by someone in the project team.
- It is also used to raise concerns when a task can be reported as a problem which springs concerned parties into action.
- The company invoices clients based on the stage of their respective project. GenieBelt can be used to quickly assess what got done today and which invoices are to be raised.
- Construction deliveries are planned out depending upon stage the project and ensuring the trades receive required material on site prior to them visiting the site.
- The increased adoption of GenieBelt in RESCON trades has greatly contributed in bringing the construction team on same page and streamlining the activities.
As you can see, using real-time project management software can have a number of profits both for your company and your construction projects. But you have to know where to look. In order to manage this, you should be aware of the various problems that construction is struggling with at the moment not only on a global but on a local scale, as well.
What the future looks like
Nobody can say with confidence what the future brings for Australian construction but there is a strong hope that the situation will get even better as new technologies are becoming part of the game. There is an imperative need for a more transparent construction process and real-time collaboration between the various parties can play a decisive role.
All in all, Australian construction has to take a step back and try to put together a solid strategy for the whole sector. But the good thing is that the future looks very promising. In short, here are some of the most noticeable points:
The advent of new technologies and the augmented use of construction software can only be beneficial for the industry. A more extended automation of the building process will lead to higher levels of productivity and a more convenient way of work. This will potentially provide the opportunity for completing the assigned tasks faster and with lower cost.
It’s difficult to deny that integration is the future of construction. The ability to intervene on a task in real-time and communicate with other members of your team, as soon as a problem or question emerges, it can be priceless. There still are many steps to be taken until then. However, more and more decision-makers within our industry are starting to realize its true importance.
Record of Progress
Another benefit of increased automation is the storage of indispensable data and project information. This can have multiple benefits for your present and future work, as you can detect any mistakes or process inefficiencies and avoid them in your next projects. In that way, you can eventually optimize your building process and contribute to a ground-breaking efficiency boost for the whole sector. Innovative players, like RESCON Builders, have already understood this need and working tirelessly toward that goal.
To conclude, the Australian construction industry is on a crucial but very promising path. The optimization of the building process should be its number one priority. In that way, it can achieve the minimization of cost and delays. Thankfully, there are many tools which could help in that endeavor. RESCON Builders provide a great example for the whole industry, given that they they are already actively supporting the technological disruption of construction.