Towards a Sustainable Future: Paperless Construction Projects
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Paperless construction practices save long-term costs and contribute significantly to sustainable industry initiatives. They shrink document development costs, while providing comprehensive insights in predictive procurement, risk management, and waste control for lifetime carbon footprint reduction.
With buildings accounting for anywhere between 25-40% of energy use worldwide, it is important to lower their ecological burden through smarter construction practices. As the industry evolves to better material utilization, optimized planning, and sustainable energy use, the role of paperless technologies becomes increasingly important as well. Let us explore how construction management software solutions impact the industry’s sustainable future.
The Role of Paper-Based Processes in Traditional Practices
Traditionally, construction firms have relied on paper-based planning documents, invoices, estimates, receipt notes, inspection lists, etc. Non-core processes may leverage hybridized documentation management systems, with most workflows operating via paper-centric solutions.
Interactions with third-party vendors, contractors, suppliers, and labour management teams, would also be largely paper based. Additionally, as teams expand in size the use of paper will grow exponentially unless a complete shift towards paperless technologies is adopted.
There are two major challenges with traditional systems that construction firms must address to fully optimize processes. The preliminary challenge is volumetric, with the large paper-based resources involved in ensuring systematic execution.
The secondary issue that plays a vital role is the resource utilization in managing these project critical documents. The overall cost and impact on the environment need to be analysed holistically, for project owners to focus clearly on the future of execution.
The Sustainable Future of the Construction industry
The construction and engineering industry’s focus is steadily shifting towards sustainability in development. While consuming nearly 50% of global steel resources, and accounting for close to 40% of solid waste generated across most countries, the need for sustainable practices is rising quickly. Project owners are focusing on all areas, from technology to talent, to understand the critical role of sustainability in improving outcomes.
Key initiatives, such as paperless planning, digitized execution, centralized documentation management, and e-invoicing & estimating, are lowering carbon footprints for large-scale developers. The transition towards digital documentation management solutions is also reducing uncertainties around timelines, execution effectiveness, site collaboration, etc. This is making teams more efficient long-term, which makes processes more energy and resource effective.
Impact of Technology and Key Benefits of Paperless
The leading construction management software solutions, such as Zepth, play a vital role in the advancement of sustainability in the industry. They provide a robust framework for the digitization of construction practices, while automatically updating to introduce new features that offer greater value. They are also pivotal in the expansion of data digitization as they are cloud-based offerings without significant limitations in real-time storage.
Developers are increasingly realizing the opportunities available to them when focusing on paperless as a pathway towards holistic sustainability. Some of these critical benefits include the following.
1. Owing to the process optimization introduced by construction management solutions, there is a reduction in manhours and resource use. Projects can be completed faster, and without complexities introduced due to paper-based communication.
2. Procurement efficiencies, driven by going paperless, contribute to significant cost savings and material use reduction. There is significantly less wastage of materials as well, due to the clarity in requirements and transparency introduced via centralized management.
3. Paperless design technologies also help improve sustainability long-term as they are scalable solutions that can be adopted at any stage. An individual project being digitized can impact the entire value chain through the establishment of paperless execution as a policy.
4. Improved auditing is another benefit area introduced by going paperless on construction sites. Managers have greater control over expenditure, resource use, and manpower, when digitizing workflows.