By Cotney Construction Law.
A critical component of the construction industry is the flow of information. On a daily basis, blueprints, daily reports, change reports, and punch lists are passed among contractors, architects, and subcontractors. That’s just a small list of the information that’s being dispersed. If that’s not enough, the construction environment is fast moving and not all parties are in the same location. In years pass, these details made communication slow and hitting project deadlines a matter of chance. Enter cloud technology.
The “cloud” refers to a remote server that stores data and software. From a technological standpoint, the cloud allows construction companies to keep massive amounts of information in a place that is accessible from anywhere that you can establish a wifi or cellular connection. In terms of day to day operation, the cloud is making an impact in a number of areas. That’s why 59 percent of construction companies surveyed by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage say that they are either using a cloud solution or planning to use one.
The cloud presents a number of benefits to construction companies. Here are a few:
Access to information anywhere. There was a time where plans had to be carried from job site to job site in big tubes. Construction sites are dirty places and items are easily lost. With the cloud, information can be accessed from anywhere with a mobile device. Oftentimes, information is housed in an office, while work is done in the field. Now, information is more easily attained and more accurate.
Real-time collaboration. Similarly, the parties that are involved in a construction project, developers, designers, contractors, and subcontractors are typically in different places. Sometimes different cities. Meeting in person takes time and effort. Phone calls alone leave gaps in information. A cloud solution allows all parties to see construction plans in real time, collaborate on them, and make decisions. It’s a more seamless way of reaching consensus and reduces the types of conflicts that would require the help of a construction law attorney to settle.
Secure data. It may seem counterintuitive that a platform that exists remotely can be more secure than saving files on your own desktop, but the advances in cloud technology make that the case. With many cloud solutions, data is backed up nightly. More importantly, many cloud solution providers use more sophisticated security and antivirus tools than the average user employs on their desktop. Additionally, computers can be stolen or compromised.
Cost-effective solution. Let’s face it, you are going to need a data storage solution at some point. If your company is even moderately successful, you will accumulate a great deal of data. Physical servers are one solution, but they are expensive to purchase and maintain. A cloud solution is much more affordable and is scalable. As your need for data storage grows, so too can your space in the cloud.
As our construction lawyers have noted in previous articles, the construction site is a fast-paced environment. Skilled tradesmen are busy working on various aspects of the project. Materials move back and forth on the job site. Subcontractors work to complete critical components of a structure. All of this is done under strict timelines. However, for the pace at which construction moves, a fundamental part of the process has always hampered it– paperwork. From contracts to change orders, paperwork is a major part of our industry. Collaboration has always been difficult because all parties have to be in the same place. Now with cloud technology, this is no longer the case.
Note: This first published as a two-part article on Cotney Construction Law’s website and can be viewed here.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.