Justin Moule, CEO of cloud construction software business Eque2 says digital software can drive sustainability in construction and win more business. Here he explains why
Many are surprised to learn that the construction sector is one of the greatest producers of polluting carbon emissions. According to the World Green Building Council, it generates an estimated 39% of the world’s carbon emissions, with the use of concrete alone accounting for a massive 8% of the world’s total annual CO2 production.
This is being addressed in all sorts of ways around the world through research, development and improvement in working practices but improvement targets will only be achieved if everyone in the sector makes the effort to reach higher levels of sustainability.
Whatever your personal views about climate change and the need to protect our planet, there is a solid business case for embracing greater sustainability. The use of dedicated digital software is one of the obvious ways to achieve this.
Tighter control means less profligacy in the use of power, fuels, materials and other resources and, therefore, less waste and cost.
As the head of a construction software company, I would say this, wouldn’t I? Let me explain my thinking.
Three benefits of construction management software for businesses
Reduced costs for your company
It’s self-evident that working practices have changed dramatically over the past two years of the pandemic. Companies that were able to swiftly adapt and continue functioning had one thing in common – the established use of technology at the core of their operations.
As it became clear that the initial lockdown period of six weeks was going to be extended for an indeterminate time, increasing numbers of companies felt compelled to adapt and embrace technology.
Here, two years on, it’s generally accepted that using technology throughout the lifecycle of a project has enabled construction enterprises of all sizes to operate more efficiently and reduce their overheads.
While savings have been made across a whole spectrum of costs from office stationery to utility bills, greater on-line collaboration has dramatically reduced the need to travel and all the associated costs. Quite simply, having software that provides immediate access to information in real time has reduced the need for so many face-to-face meetings. Good for budgets and the planet.
These consistently recurring savings soon aggregate, delivering a clear financial benefit while contributing to a more efficient, sustainable operation.
Regional contractor and developer Anderson is committed to sustainability and has used Eque2 software for many years. The company’s financial controller Catherine Dixey says: “We are big advocates of sustainability and practice what we preach. We use a range of Eque2 products including their document storage software, which is a perfect example of how technology can have a very positive impact on sustainability.
“By driving automation, paper usage within our group of companies has virtually disappeared. Obviously, this has a financial benefit by reducing our stationery and shredding bills but, more importantly, it means we are doing our bit for the planet.”
2. Less waste
Once plans and drawings have been approved, software in the pre-contract phase provides accurate estimates of the supplies and materials required.
As well as making it easier to secure competitor quotes when appointing suppliers and sub-contractors, it minimises over ordering and wastage – a tick for your bottom line and the planet.
Be honest. How many delivery notes has your company received that have been unchecked? Hand-held devices can make it simple for site managers to check off deliveries and make sure they relate to the exact quantities ordered.
Rationalising your delivery stream avoids panic ‘piecemeal’ orders, improves on-site storage and reduces the down-time that arises from having people standing around on site waiting for more materials to be delivered!
In short, software helps reduce waste and cut down-time by providing greater visibility and control throughout the lifecycle of a project. Improving supply and workload efficiency reduces the need for multiple site visits with the associated costs and environmental impact.
3. More new business
These are compelling reasons for embracing software within your company but there are underlying benefits that might resonate, too.
Large tenders are increasingly being awarded to contractors who have solid ESG credentials. Clients and customers responsible for making big decisions are in turn answerable to various stakeholders, audiences and/or investors, whether public or private. These decision-makers are putting increasing emphasis on ESG issues.
Being able to demonstrate that you are playing your part in the industry-wide effort to act responsibly in sustainability matters could be a determining factor in your sales presentations.
This isn’t going away. Having software in place that demonstrably improves efficiency and reduces wastage helps contractors tick the sustainability box and win these contracts.
The industry has high hopes of winning the environmental compliance battle over the next few years. It’s one area in which we simply must succeed. It can only be won if the millions of people within it each play their part.
Scientists developing more eco-friendly concretes with graphene and alternative construction methods such as those being used by urban regeneration specialist Muse Developments will be a huge step forward. But we can all make more informed choices, like using responsible suppliers with higher ethical and sustainable credentials.
Striving to achieve standards such as ISO14001 show that your company is working toward this common goal. Remember that by cutting the impact of your customers’ operations by minimising waste; optimising energy use; improving recycling; and reducing delivery/transport miles, you are also enhancing the value of your own business offering.
From providing an accurate initial estimate and managing project resources, through to streamlining engagements with subcontractors, suppliers and customers, software delivers efficiencies and costs savings. And that can certainly play a small but significant part in protecting our priceless planet.