Communication and Data Management Issues Cost Construction Firms Over $177 Billion Per Year, Survey Says

According to a new report by the PlanGrid and consultancy firm FMI Corp, the construction industry could be overspending by $177 billion dollars per year.


The culprit? Communication issues and disorganization in data management.


The report surveyed 600 professionals ranging in occupation from general contractors to owners and developers to specialty trades.  A slight majority of respondents were general contractors.


The results of the survey show the devastating impact of communication conflicts and disorganization on business. Respondents reported that they spent an average of 35% of their time on non-core responsibilities, such as looking up project information, addressing communication gaps, and fixing mistakes or doing rework. To put it another way, that’s 14 hours of lost productivity that could easily be added back into the workweek by better processes and more efficient technology.


Disorganization and Miscommunication Factor In

Of those 14 hours, almost 5 were spent solely on managing disputes between stakeholders. An even more dismal 5 and half hours were devoted to looking for materials such as drawings and cut sheets.

Better systems can alleviate the root causes of these communication breakdowns. In practice, revolving blockages often looks like getting everyone on compatible software systems. Or it may require a complete rethinking of business processes so errors are caught before they can snowball.


Technology Can Help

A surprisingly low number of respondents reported taking full advantage of the technology at their disposal—even something as simple as a smartphone. 75% of respondents’ firms provided smartphones and tablets, but fewer than one-fifth of those reported using them consistently.


That said, only 28% of firms seek out feedback before investing in technology for their teams. “[T]hey’re not including all the right people in the conversation,” said Pete Schott, senior product marketing manager at PlanGrid.


Your organization may not be able to save all $177 billion the industry is wasting every day. At all levels, however, it is clear that inefficient systems and processes can cost any firm in the industry a staggering amount of time, effort, and cash.