•   By bimengus
  •   January 5, 2022

Use the power of business intelligence for your next construction project with power BI.

Staying agile, effective, and competitive in the construction industry requires valuable business intelligence. Dealing with data for construction projects can be challenging. Numbers show high failure rates for projects with massive capital. The overwhelming amount of data can be difficult to manage with time and cost overruns, poor project execution.

This is where construction firms can leverage the capabilities of Power BI to connect, track, and share large data volumes. Knowing what data needs to be used helps leverage growth opportunities, improve budget performance, enhance job site productivity, reduce risks, bid better, etc.

This content construct focuses on the use of Power BI in construction to monitor project progress, manage schedules, and plan logistics. Data produced onsite is massive, and observations show contractors caught in a pool of data without the right BI tools. Construction stakeholders constantly face a myriad of challenges on accurate data usage. These challenges include –

Challenges faced by construction stakeholders to manage data.

  • Unproductive project reporting
  • Silo data systems
  • Unorganized & inefficient project data
  • Paper-based processes and reporting
  • Absence of system compatibility or connectivity
  • Poor project performance
  • Low productivity
  • Onsite construction risks

These challenges are compounded by an increase in project complexity. That’s where Business Intelligence or BI is adopted. Interactive or dynamic visualization of business data helps enhance construction processes, raise profit margins, and create new growth opportunities.

Massive infrastructure projects require millions of emails, documents, and workflows.

The perks of adopting Business Intelligence (BI) for construction projects can be listed as follows –

Perks of adopting BI for construction Projects.

  • Improve job site processes and productivity
  • Reduce onsite risks and promote safety
  • Influence better project agility
  • Boost project efficiency
  • Leverage deeper project insights
  • Derive dynamic project reporting
  • Win more work with strong bids
  • Move from mere analytics to actionable analytics

Improve job site processes and productivity

Contractors can leverage enhanced workflows, automate tasks, reduce costs, and more by streamlining data from job sites. This data can be received through smart wearables or smartphone apps that help improve equipment and material positioning. This helps cut down on relocation time.

Reduce onsite risks and promote safety

Building contractors can monitor data relevant to onsite safety. Recording important onsite information that includes safety inspections, injuries, etc. helps contractors prevent onsite risks. A powerful BI system in place helps reduce business risks by taking a step further.

Influence better project agility

The construction sector produces massive amounts of data or information. The ability to harness this data helps AEC project stakeholders make improved decisions on real-time data analytics. Being able to leverage actionable insights helps augment project agility.

Boost project efficiency

As the construction sector uses various technology touchpoints to extract and store data, it requires robust BI systems to access and process data. Project stakeholders can leverage the most accurate and up-to-date data as and when required which helps save money and time. Working with the most updated information helps construction project stakeholders like managers, contractors, etc. stay on course. Before things get out of hand, course corrections can be put in place through real-time data reporting.

Leverage deeper project insights

Getting a bigger picture of your present scenario, or what needs to be achieved for your construction business to grow can be achieved through Business Intelligence. Improvements can be considered in various areas that include supply chain, labor, payroll, etc. Actionable insights help derive new opportunities and help enable corrective actions.

Derive dynamic project reporting

Manual maintenance of reports through spreadsheets is a time-taking process. The integration of Business Intelligence (BI) applications helps drive accuracy, speed, and reliability. This helps the management team focus on crucial tasks that can help drive value.

Win more work with strong bids

Robust BI software helps construction project stakeholders monitor costs, change orders, equipment, and material requirements, workforce productivity, etc. Smart bids can be generated with better project forecasts, relevant and complete data helps deliver a bigger picture to visualize project improvements.

Move from mere analytics to actionable analytics

Business Intelligence (BI) helps construction firms identify and adopt touchpoints that help them plan better. Better data analysis helps to derive futuristic insights for an enhanced model delivery. The use of AI and other construction management tools integrated with BI helps build optimized predictive construction models.

Moving forward, we look at the capabilities of Power BI to utilize construction data.

Power BI uses holistic visualization capabilities for comprehensive data analytics. Construction project stakeholders can use Power BI to collaborate, track, and transmit large data volumes. Tools and features from Power BI help managers, contractors, and other stakeholders utilize simplified interfaces and project reports. With the capability to leverage information as and when required, Power BI can be adopted to build construction schedules, monitor progress, and plan logistics.

Working hours of more than 12% of construction teams are spent searching for project information.

Here are the top reasons Power BI is a great tool for construction.

Advantages of adopting Power BI for construction.

Centralize data from various sources

With multiple touch points, Power BI has a compelling connection and collaboration features with other software like Excel, Share point, etc. Customized datasets can be built by pulling information from each data source.

As a single source of information, everyone stays on the same page and can access updated information. Reports coming in from different job sites or offices can be consolidated to mitigate duplication and reduce time.

Store and access large data volumes

Power BI can import large datasets to leverage extensive visualization and greater detail. This data is compelling to collate historic datasets from various projects to anticipate trends and build accurate estimates.

Complete report customization with Drag and Drop

Customized dashboards can be generated through pre-built modules. Various managers can leverage BI based on their job roles or responsibilities. For example, project managers can leverage progress tracking, whilst commercial managers can build customized cost reports and budget predictions.

Real-time sharing of Dashboards

Project teams can visualize real-time data through simplified information sharing. Customized dashboards can help monitor costs, resources, equipment, materials, etc. Real-time visualization helps access reports from any device viz. mobile or laptop.

Identify project anomalies or trends

Monitor KPIs, predict trends, sort data based on various attributes or dimensions to measure priorities, safety requirements, etc.

More than 90% of the captured project data is never used.

Using the Revit Dashboard and Model Checker.

To use Power BI to build a Revit Dashboard or Model Checker requires –

  • Consequently, proceed to download the templates for Power BI and Model Checker feature
  • The dashboard file needs to be unzipped into the required project folder

  • Users also need to create a reports folder for each project to store the reports
  • The unzipped folder contains the following files viz. Model Checker PDF, Read me, Revit Model Dashboard, and an XML file

  • Run a project in Revit with the Model Checker
  • Using BIM interoperability tools, and use the setup option to select the Revit Model Dashboard.xml file

  • Click on open

  • Check the options in Model Dashboard Checks to set the Checkout

  • To generate the report, click the Run button

  • Users can export the report individual reports to Excel

  • Run the Power BI desktop app, and sign in with the right credentials

  • Click on the Revit model dashboard to generate the required reports

Conclusion :

In today’s construction marketplace, it is key for project stakeholders to leverage Power BI to stay agile, effective, and competitive. As data is generated regularly, construction firms need to leverage data-driven decisions. Optimized use of large datasets has the power to disrupt, yet transform the data landscape to gain valuable project insights, make informed decisions, improve efficiencies, and drive business growth.

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