Construction Technology Building Collaboration and Communication

At PCL Construction, project teams have a variety of virtual construction tools and technology​​ at their fingertips to save time, money, and increase the quality and efficiency of construction.

Cloud technology connects all aspects of PCL,
empowering employees in the field.

PCL employee Christine Pageau monitors progress
on the jobsite.

In the last decade, PCL teams have grown with technology, allowing employees to apply new techniques to evolve communication, collaboration, workplace productivity, and safety. PCL has been able to reduce the need for changes in the field, drive greater efficiency, and improve production through technology, thereby enabling PCL to the deliver ahead of schedule and lower cost to clients, architects, consultants, and subcontractors.

When it comes to the cloud, the sky’s the limit

Cloud-based technology plays a large part in this trend, allowing multiple groups of people to access the same real-time information from the field, office, or virtually anywhere. Cloud-based technology incorporates building information models loaded with schedule and cost information for instantaneous uptake by the entire project team. This capacity for immediate feedback allows project teams to develop solutions in collaborative environments, streamlining the workflow and communication between the entire project team, and creating thoughtful decision making. 
“I’ve been in the industry for 35 years,” said Mike Clark, field operations manager with PCL. “One thing I’ve learned is that it’s really important to get the ideas and plans out to the masses so everyone’s on the same page. Technology allows us to do that.”

The value of evolving technology

Technology is an ever-changing medium that requires attention and dedication. PCL has developed in-house applications to work with existing technology to improve our project teams’ consumption and application of information. Recent evolutions include using a virtual reality simulator loaded with models, which allows the end users a chance to comment and make better decisions before construction begins. This saves countless dollars in rework down the line. The return on investment is significant; reducing changes in the field, driving greater efficiency, and improving productivity, which leads to lower cost for clients.

“We used to need 10 people just to deal with the drawings. The drawings would all need to be manually changed and you’d have to make sure everyone had the same drawings,” said Clark. “It’s a lot cheaper to buy a bunch of iPads than deal with all of the drawings. We’re saving about a million dollars on the cost of redrawing and reproduction, not to mention the space for the drawings.” Clark estimates that drawings once occupied 20 percent of the company’s office space. The elimination of drawings and the creation of a paperless environment have significantly reduced the space required.

Technology at PCL is constantly evolving and improving, ensuring employees not only keep up with the industry, but lead it.

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