Deeply Engrained Paper Use Is Impeding Construction’s Digital Shift

by | Apr 23, 2024

Explore how the future is calling for a shift toward practices that will eliminate paper and embrace a more connected and sustainable way to work.

It’s not news that the construction industry has been undergoing a digital transformation journey. Digitizing the industry comes with the novel mission of creating safer workplaces, increased margins, and better quality. Many talented individuals and strategic companies are at the forefront of that evolution. However, one aspect of construction remains a barrier to change and evolution: paper.

Visit any construction site today and you’ll find paper in abundance. From large sets of drawings to numerous binders filled with information, these papers are the go-to references for field workers. However, this reliance on paper is a significant hurdle in our journey toward digital transformation.

  • Stuck in Time: With its unchangeable nature, paper feels like a relic in the fast-paced construction scene. It’s like getting a telegram in an age of instant messaging: charming, but not quite up to speed. This disconnect leads to outdated instructions guiding today’s projects, paving the way for errors we could have avoided.
  • Heavyweight Champion: Paper’s physical bulk is a throwback no one asked for. It’s impractical and cumbersome and feels out of place amid the hustle and bustle of modern construction sites, where agility and quick access to information are key.
  • Old-School Maze: Relying on paper traps us in a maze of manual updates and endless paperwork, making the whole process feel like a game of telephone where the message gets lost along the way.
  • Green Guilt: The environmental toll of our paper use is hard to ignore. From the trees cut down to the energy used in production, it reminds us that maybe it’s time to embrace a greener path.
  • Price Tag: The costs associated with paper don’t end with the purchase. They spiral into the realms of printing, storage, and the hidden expenses of fixing mistakes that stem from outdated or incorrect information.
  • Digital Detour: Our paper habit puts a speed bump on the road to digital transformation. It’s like clinging to a trusty old map when you’ve got GPS at your fingertips. This reluctance to let go of paper is holding back the potential unleashed by digital tools that promise to revolutionize how we build.

In this story of construction’s evolution, the message is clear: It’s time to break free from the paper chains. The future is digital, and it’s calling for a shift toward practices that are not just about ditching paper, but embracing a new way of working that’s smarter, more connected, and sustainable.

Connected digital workflows and processes will enable the industry to create many efficiencies, with benefits trickling up and down the entire value chain. The main piece in the middle of all this transformation is information in the form of data, which would enable clearer and faster communication.

The shift to paperless is a north star. The focus should be on specific processes that would highlight information flow bottlenecks and replace them with digital tools to unblock them. So, as we navigate this shift, let’s rethink our attachment to paper. It’s not just about moving from print to pixel; it’s about transforming how we build, collaborate, and innovate in an industry that’s ready to step into the future.

This article originally appeared here: Rethinking Paper in Construction: The Push Towards Digital Efficiency – BuiltWorlds