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Is BI in construction worthwhile?

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

One of the last major industries to embrace Business Intelligence (or BI for short) is the construction industry. Essentially, BI is the collection and analysis of data across a given project. It has been used in manufacturing, finance, telecommunications, distribution and the like to great success, but the question remains – is BI in construction worthwhile?

Construction projects amass a staggering amount of data. Everything from soil type, wildlife information, tree data, material use, labour force information, financial data and power use. There’s data for everything, but can it be used more effectively?

The benefits of BI in a business sense

Embracing business intelligence allows construction businesses to operate far more efficiently, which in turn increases profitability, reduces project timeframes, improves reputation, reduces carbon footprint and material wastage.

Application of BI on a construction project

If you’re struggling to see how an application of data can benefit construction, here’s a few examples of how effective use of data can save you time, money and resources…

Improve staffing levels

The nature of construction projects means that manpower will ebb and flow throughout the job. Different trades will be required at different times. By employing BI effectively you will ensure you have only the staff you need on site, reducing labour wastage. With labour being a major financial outlay, it’s a way to save potentially millions of pounds on each project.

Time efficient deliveries

Leaving materials on site can cause them to damage and degrade. There’s also human error that leads to materials being ordered and delivered when they simply aren’t needed. Managing a project with BI means these errors will be a thing of the past, reducing material wastage and, ultimately, costs.

Reducing plant costs

If you are a company who brings in external companies when plants such as diggers and cranes are required, you can monitor the need for such machines with more precision. Plant machinery can cost thousands per day, so it’s expensive to have it hanging around a site when it isn’t doing anything. Reduce this cost with effective BI use.

Completed project analysis

Using business intelligence for the duration of a project allows you to build a dataset on construction methods efficiency and profit margin, as highlighted by Jenn Said in Contractor Magazine. This reporting style is a global trend that the UK needs to keep up with.

For example, if you find a modular building is more profitable and efficient than steel framed projects for example, you can tweak your designs and building practices for future work, reducing costs and improving margins.

Better, more accurate reporting

When you employ BI in construction, your project leads can deliver back reports armed with facts and data rather than just opinion. Research presented at the 2018 Indonesian Association for Pattern Recognition International Conference (INAPR) conference shows this is a game changer when it comes to the validity of reports. This is because you can be sure they’re accurate and allow you to make forecasts, costs and profit projections with far more certainty.

With margins always under pressure, accurate data can be the difference between a project being a stellar success or catastrophic failure.

In summary, is BI in construction worthwhile?

If you take the points here, you’ll understand why BI isn’t just worthwhile, it’s arguably vital if construction companies want to modernise and survive in the future. If you don’t embrace the available technology, your competitors will, and they’ll leave you behind. You can’t be analogue in a digital world.

To help with your contract management, visit the MPS website to see how our unique CCM Contract Management System can revolutionise the way you do business or call 01223 597933 or email

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