In construction, most companies are just getting started in trying to harness data for informed decisions. A lot of data is available, but it’s sometimes difficult to access. In addition, it can be overwhelming figuring out what to collect and what to do with it.

There are plenty of sources of project data these days, whether it’s from wearables, people, computers, sensors, machines, or other devices. Using an accumulation of “big data,” companies can manipulate that data to figure out how to achieve better cost control, make inventory predictions, improve safety, streamline operations, perform informed asset management, optimize fuel use, and other trends over time.

As companies have been digitizing the built world and gathering data, planners are able to look at the spaces around us and decide how a building or an entire development fits into the neighborhood and community at large. Data analytics enable planners to decide what amenities, services or residential types would fit best in certain areas. Analytics can be used to decide where new schools need to be built and how many people they need to be designed for.

Over the past couple years, people are tending to do things closer to home. For instance, what services or amenities are – or should be – within a reasonable distance? There has been talk around the example of the 15-minute city, whether that 15 minutes is on foot or in a vehicle.

It’s beneficial to determine how cultural amenities, food services and other urban life experiences can be quantified so the right density of the amenities that foster community can be part of urban design. Using data for this type of planning can improve the quality of municipal decisions. There can exist a middle ground between managing urban sprawl and creating accommodations residents yearn for. This is the essence of smart cities.

Data analytics can be the basis for productive conversations, open dialog and compromise. Historically, much of the public’s input on development has come late in the planning process. It seems advantageous to foster communication earlier about what the affected community wants to see developed.

Now and in the future, the needs of neighborhoods can be predicted. Analyzing data, like demographics, or performing a cluster analysis can help forecast how communities will develop and change or expand over time.

There is an awareness in commercial real estate that data analytics could be used more effectively. With creativity and consistency, another level of intelligence can be added to the overall real estate experience. Consider how useful it is to have predictions based on real-life data about how a buyer’s potential community is going to change and develop over time.  

For companies interested in harnessing data for informed decisions, the easiest adoption curve is to implement a platform that is easy-to-use and see how it works for you. Whether you would like to get a handle on costs, inventory, safety, internal operations, or any other business trend, there’s no time like the present.

Tune in to episode 1, season 4 of The AEC Disruptors podcast to learn what Sara Maffey had to say about the potential for using data analytics.

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