Big Data in the Construction World


By Theodore Pettko

We hear a lot about “big data” these days. But what exactly generates big data in the construction world, and what value, if any, does it hold for your organization?

As defined, big data accrues from digital information that is separately and collectively generated and stored by people, computers, machines and other devices. And there’s certainly a lot of it. According to Scientific American, society produced more data in 2016 than the entire aggregate in history.

In the construction world, data is generated from plans, CAD designs and project schedules. But what about all the equipment, material supply chains and trucks, etc.? Think about how many aspects of your business have a digital trail. Basically any electronic device has the capacity to produce data.

As we all know, data is usually inputted for the specific purpose of generating an output. Invoices entered into a general ledger system, for instance, ultimately produce a financial statement. But there’s even more data out there that’s not as readily accessible, so we need to find a way to organize and properly analyze it in order to make appropriate conclusions. 

In construction, think of your design, build and operations segments and what information would be beneficial in helping your business. For the design phase, knowledge of social media discussions, historical patterns and probabilities of construction risk provide valuable direction. From an equipment perspective, analyzing machine idle time and wear-and-tear, and considering preventative maintenance and usage outside the recommended range provide insight for both safety and savings decisions. Finally, when it comes to building operations, capturing key information about lighting, heating/cooling and traffic patterns can provide savings and help keep occupant disruption to a minimum.

Big data analysis is here – and it’s definitely getting bigger. How will your organization prepare? To learn more about big data and the contruction industry, contact us

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

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