March 2019

These New Technologies Can Make Collaboration Seamless Between the Building Trades

2 minute read

From architects to general contractors, it's crucial for the construction trades to work together to finish projects on time and within budget. Today's technology can make collaboration smoother than ever, enabling contractors to share ideas, track progress and even get paid more easily.

Leverage virtual reality to share your vision

Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3D modeling process that helps architects, engineers and construction experts design, plan and construct buildings more efficiently, is playing a growing role in the construction industry. These intelligent 3D models depict projects in ways conventional 2D design plans cannot. Stakeholders in a project—from the architect and builder to the client—are all able to conceptualize and understand the end result without differences in interpretation.

Today's virtual reality and augmented reality software takes BIM to the next level, enabling a virtual reality (VR) walk-through of a building before contractors have even broken ground. Clients can better see the end result and make changes early in the design process, reducing the need for change orders once construction has begun.

Implement augmented reality for more accurate cost estimates

Virtual reality and augmented reality (AR) are often discussed in the same breath. But it's important to understand the difference in these two state-of-the-art technologies. While VR brings an imagined—or designed—world to life in 3D either on a computer screen, a smartphone or with the help of VR goggles, augmented reality is an overlay of computer-generated objects over a real-life setting.

AR technology can help streamline communications once a project is underway. For instance, a builder may decide he wants to switch the kitchen layout in half of the units in an apartment complex. Using AR, the designer or general contractor can show the client exactly how the new layout will flow, even offering a walk-through of the space. The contractor can also use AR to provide an accurate cost estimate of the new materials needed as a result of the change order.

Embrace cloud-based project management software to keep the trades on track

Shifting to a cloud-based project management software is an important step in streamlining communications for the construction trades. Whatever platform you select, look for one that can handle every phase of the project, from estimates and procurement to planning, documentation, revisions, scheduling, budgeting and task completion.

Cloud-based project management software ensures accountability because everyone can see the necessary documentation and communicate changes in real time. It keeps those on the job site and those in the office on the same page. It also offers reporting capabilities so stakeholders can see where a project may be in danger of falling off track, enabling the project manager to proactively address potential challenges and get the project back on course.

End every project on a high note with on-time payments

Ideally, the cloud-based platforms you choose for building design, estimating and project management will integrate for seamless communications between the trades through every phase of a project. When the final inspections are done and the last payment is due, you'll also want a comprehensive and versatile payment platform that is easy to use and will carry you through the end of the project with confidence and peace of mind.

American Express vPayment® enables construction contractors to do just that. Contractors can set pre-authorized payment amounts and transaction dates to reduce the risk of errors or misuse. Each transaction is assigned a specific, one-time-only virtual account number for maximum security.

From streamlined, 3D designs laid out in VR to more specific bids and a streamlined payment process, adopting the right collaboration tools can help ensure every project begins—and ends—smoothly. The result: Enhanced profitability and positive referrals from your trade partners.