How the Construction Industry Uses Technology to Improve Risk Management

September 23, 2019 Command Alkon

The construction industry has been deploying new technologies over the past few years to improve projects by addressing certain risks such as occupational risk, construction defects, property damage, and general liability. 

Dodge Data & Analytics in conjunction with Triax conducted a qualitative study with construction firms to gather their insights on the current state of the industry in regard to using data and technology to mitigate risk.

The results of the survey are:

  • More than half surveyed reported moderate difficulty in managing several risk activities, including preparing critical assessments of project risk and conducting ongoing management of those risks.
  • Fewer than half believed there are clear ways to measure a project’s overall risk performance.
  • Nearly 100 percent of contractors expressed that they want to digitally collect and analyze safety and risk data, but over one-third said they don’t do it primarily because they don’t have it budgeted.
  • Over 40 percent said they use technology to do safety incident documentation, jobsite hazard analyses, and worker certification. And over half said they used technology to conduct employee training. 
  • Nearly three-fourths of contractors said they believe that IoT technologies like wearables and sensors will help improve occupational risks, and half said they believe they will address property damage, defects, and general liability.

To mitigate risks in their business, most contractors proactively monitor risk practices onsite, and over half have established standardized risk management practices. However, many contractors believe that there are clear ways to measure project risk, as being able to measure risk is fundamental to managing risk properly. Some of these ways include having resources dedicated to risk management and incentivising employees to manage risk. 

Analyzing Risk Data

Collecting, analyzing, and acting upon risk data is more likely handled by inside staff than outsourced to a third party, according to the survey. The ability to use data collected throughout the construction supply chain helps improve project outcomes related to budget, productivity, and profitability. Critical business data can be used to fuel continuous improvement and will lead to a digital transformation.

Increased knowledge promotes better decision-making.  With sufficient accurate data, construction companies can easily compare projected profitability and efficiency to performance. Contractors can use the collected data to increase bidding accuracy by finding and calculating hidden costs. Data analysis of historical performance records can improve asset utilization. These records can include detention time, loading/unloading times, driver availability, regulations, on-time performance, and more. 

How to Best Manage Risk

  1. Train employees to manage risk using safety training modules, virtual reality training environments, and online webinars.
  2. Create accurate documentation of incidents, and use technology to uncover stopgaps in your processes that need to be fixed and trends that can help with decision-making and continuous improvement.
  3. Certify workers to ensure they are doing appropriate tasks correctly.
  4. A Conduct Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) is one of the most effective ways to improve safety onsite. JHA is a technique to identify the dangers of specific tasks in order to reduce the risk of injury to workers. 
  5. Increase budget in risk management so that you can apply sufficient resources to the practice. 
  6. Gain visibility across the entire construction ecosystem supply chain with tools like IoT, GPS, telematics, and other data collection methods. Using a digital supply network within your supply chain to connect all trading partners improves collaboration, communication, and visibility. 
  7. When selecting technology make sure it is easy-to-use to speed adoption rates. 


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