In 2016, McKinsey & Company estimated that large construction projects are typically completed 80% over budget and take 20% longer than initially scheduled. Construction projects continue to increase in complexity with tighter schedules than ever before. To keep projects on track, teams need to streamline the management and tracking of construction assets like materials, labor, and equipment. Traditional systems, such as spreadsheets, can cause inefficiencies and loss of information, leading to potential cost overruns, schedule delays, and overall project risk. To ensure projects are completed on time and within budget, teams can focus on improving their management and tracking of construction assets which could mean the difference between project success and failure.
Why Does Asset and Equipment Tracking Matter?
To understand the value of asset tracking and management, the Autodesk team turned to The Big Room – an online community where construction professionals can collaborate, ideate, and grow industry knowledge and join in on industry discussions – to pose some questions around the value of digital asset management and equipment tracking on the jobsite. Firms like Graham Construction, Miron Construction, EBC, Turner Construction, and White Construction, among others, shared how proper asset management is critical to eliminate gaps in data that can lead to inconsistencies and disputes when records don’t match reality.
In construction, having accurate, up-to-date information is vital to project success. With the Assets Module in BIM 360 within Autodesk Construction Cloud™, teams have access to real-time project data across the building lifecycle to plan, build, and deliver higher-quality projects. As project data impacts all levels of planning and forecasting on a project, using a centralized location to track and manage assets increases quality, eliminates rework, and reduces risk at handover — a win-win for all project teams.
“By continually tracking and managing assets and equipment in the [BIM 360] platform, we can anticipate any issues that will arise during the project so we are successful in collaborating and supporting the information that will be transitioned or shared between the various stakeholders on a project,” says Philippe De Guise, Manager, BIM Corporate Services at EBC.
Here are five reasons why digitizing the process for asset and equipment tracking will benefit project teams and drive greater value with project owners:
1. Eliminate Redundancies and Loss of Data
With the ability to track all construction assets within a centralized platform and link those assets back to field management workflows, like checklists or issues, contractors ensure accuracy in data.
“Methodologies for asset tracking like Excel or paper checklists are cumbersome and inefficient,” says Melissa Schulteis, Virtual Construction Specialist at Miron Construction. “With teams inputting data directly into BIM 360, this will solve the risk of duplicating checklists or not knowing the status of a checklist.”
With improved transparency and connecting data to workflows, there is clear visibility in project status and a reduction in rework so that teams can make more informed project decisions.
2. Inform the Proper Allocation of Resources for Planning and Mobilization
“Knowing what asset is available and when can accelerate schedules and assist in the execution of that schedule by optimizing the mobilization and use of equipment on projects,” says Steve Rollo, National BIM/VDC Manager at Graham Construction.
With greater insight into the status of assets – from moveable equipment to building materials – teams can understand what deliveries are coming and when to allocate resources and manage workers on the jobsite to deal with specialty installations or equipment. An integrated system also enables teams to plan and manage each step of the build process accordingly and pivot to avoid schedule delays if assets are behind schedule.
3. Empower Better Decision Making
The visibility and transparency provided by asset tracking in BIM 360 means that all project stakeholders can be involved in real-time decision-making in response to delayed materials and shipments, leading to more trust, collaboration, and better outcomes.
“With access to real-time data, decision-makers are never waiting to get data or information to help move a project forward,” says Schulteis. “The real-time tracking of equipment, installation status, and checklists is essential in fast-paced jobs, which let’s be honest, is every job today. Having the most up-to-date project information at your fingertips eliminates human error and the risk of rework across teams.”
4. Minimize Waste and Loss of Property
BIM 360 enables teams to plan the use of owned and managed assets across multiple simultaneous projects to ensure that the equipment is available on each jobsite when needed. This insight into materials reduces project risk and decreases the loss of equipment. By having insight into construction assets, you can track how long equipment is needed and where to lower costs and eliminate resource waste by having a piece of equipment sitting on the jobsite, when it can be used elsewhere.
“Some jobsites have a small footprint, so it’s important not to overload the work area and have the right equipment onsite at the right time,” says Gilbert Garcia, VDC Engineer at Turner Construction. “When everything is where it needs to be, then there are no-cost overruns for renting equipment, and having material lay stagnant if it arrives too early.”
5. Capture Cost of Assets Accurately
“When customers can see how much things cost, that creates a huge level of trust,” says De Guise. Asset tracking with BIM 360 provides transparency and enables clear discussions around the cost of materials, labor, and the reasons for any timeline disruptions. This transparency leads to better client relationships and project outcomes.
A greater understanding of the cost associated with a particular asset or piece of equipment also helps teams plan for future projects. “As a company, we need to make sure we are capturing the cost of using equipment and assets as it helps us create accurate bids,” says Cristian Sebastian Fernandez, Project Manager at White Construction. “If we are not accurately tracking cost, we can be losing on profitability by not considering it in the long term.”
The bottom line, the proper tracking of assets and equipment is integral for the overall success of project delivery and can play a critical role in streamlining the handover process as well as setting up operations teams for successful long-term maintenance of a building’s assets. If managing and moving asset data across the project lifecycle is successful, it leads to better and long-lasting relationships between contractors and project owners.