4 Ways Intranets Benefit the Building and Construction Industry

Apr 2019
Mins read

Increased year-on-year expenditure in building and construction means the industry is ripe for savvy companies to make significant financial gains, expand business, and capture a greater share of the market. However the power to do so can hinge on having the right systems in place to capitalise on this trend.

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Improving performance and reducing costs to achieve these business goals can be revolutionized by a modern, mobile, company Intranet.

The value of the construction industry continues to steadily climb in the US, since a market fall that dipped to around $800B in 2010, to nearly $1,400B to January 2019 (seasonally adjusted), according to Wells Fargo. The Australian market is experiencing even higher year-on-year growth, with BCI Economics predicting an 8.2% increase across the 2018-2019 financial year.

However, in EY’s report, How are engineering and construction companies adapting digital to their businesses?, only “28% of respondents (had) a digital strategy and agenda in place,” despite the fact that effective digitization of traditional systems and workflows could help ease the stress of respondents’ top 5 worries: risk management of construction projects, cost management of projects, safety, acquisition of staff and employees, and scheduling/time management.

How can an Intranet as part of your digital strategy help your construction or building company? Here are 4 good reasons.

1. Enhance productivity with better document management and search functionality

When you are working with people remotely, with files transferring back and forth via email, Skype, or simply naming docs “06_08_19_site_report”, errors can occur in handling and working with the wrong version of a file.

The right Intranet solution eliminates these messy, error-prone and time-consuming systems with a comprehensive document management system

When used correctly, a comprehensive document management system can ensure the latest version of every document is available instantly across the company, with historical changes for referral, and search functionality that actually finds what you’re looking for - enhancing productivity.

An intuitive document management system can:

  • Allow files to be available anywhere, on any device (once uploaded)
  • Automatically create file versions on saving
  • Allow users to create official versions of files (1.0, 1.1, 2.0, etc.)
  • Have a description of the file, rather than just a name
  • Be categorized under a metadata tagging system, similar to folder hierarchy
  • Allow users to comment on files
  • Have check-in and check-out of files to eliminate conflicting edits
  • Provide integration for sharing with external parties
  • Include comprehensive search functionality, including in-document text search, filter by file type, metadata tags, etc.
  • Integrate with other platforms such as Office 365 and Docusign
  • Support automated workflows across the system

2. Effectively manage workplace health and safety compliance, training, and activities

As we mentioned earlier, workplace safety is the 3rd most likely work worry to keep engineering and construction professionals up at night.

The many facets of workplace health and safety (WHS) in construction make it a complex field, more so than in other less physically hazardous industries.

Activities involved in workplace health and safety may involve:

  • Keeping up to code with local, state, and federal laws
  • Ensuring workers are trained correctly and using the right equipment
  • Ensuring equipment is serviced regularly
  • Conducting regular risk assessments
  • Filling out comprehensive incident reports
  • Ensuring WHS delegates are always assigned, on-site, with back-ups, etc.

Through the implementation of an Intranet, you can offer a dedicated, central WHS service

This may include things like:

  • Training to all appropriate staff, ensuring sign-offs when done, automating reporting of completion status
  • Cataloging of equipment, automation of servicing
  • Risk assessments triggered by new sites, equipment requests, or activities
  • Incident report forms available on any device, for speedy reporting
  • WHS employee management when combined with intranet on-site sign-ons

3. Keep all project work in the one place, no matter how many teams and locations are involved

In construction and building, each project represents a unique set of requirements, teams, assets, and processes.

As we move towards a more connected world, we are regularly dealing with more and more people and companies on a fully remote basis, with interstate and worldwide teams, as well as fully outsourcing or collaborating on function.

Utilizing a scalable system, complete with project templates, your project stays organized and accessible to everyone, on each and every project

By separating each project out at the Intranet level, and developing the right access for people, you can keep all these unique project elements together in the one spot for reference and collaborative work from anywhere - even working collaboratively with external providers, or updating stakeholders of progress updates via extranet functionality.

Having access to all (relevant) project info in the one spot makes working on or keeping up to date with a specific project that much simpler.

4. Keep your remote teams connected across the workforce

An Intranet can be a place where your entire team comes together; to learn about what others are up to, project successes as well as incident reports, learn the latest from upper management, hold remote working groups, and even connect via workplace social media.

According to 2018 research by the Pew Research Center, almost 3 in 4 Americans use Facebook, with over half these users reporting checking the social media app several times a day - plus the average person uses 3 social media platforms.

It’s time to provide digital workplace avenues that mimic personal digital interaction avenues, to cater to our new-found day to day way of life.

With the right corporate culture, and well promoted and encouraged interaction points, you may find staff happier, indulging in incidental (or deliberate) workplace knowledge sharing, and finding them spending more time on your intranet than simply checking their own apps on breaks.