Why Asset Management is Essential for Construction Sites, and How to Use It

Asset Management Software / February 2020

Updated: May 2021, August 2021, January 2022

Implementing an asset management solution in your construction organisation allows all on-site and off-site workers to collect and access critical asset performance data in real-time. By collecting and storing this data, you’re able to maximise the usability of assets that are crucial for day-to-day operations across all of your sites, buildings, and plants. With so many different construction asset management solutions on the market, it may be difficult for you to choose the best option for your operations. But, with our informative guide, we can help you make the right choice. We’ll cover:

Typical features found in construction asset management software

The Asset Management Features Construction Companies Need

Mobile Access With Cloud

A cloud-based asset management system can offer many benefits for the construction industry, with mobile access being one main advantage. With mobile capabilities, employees, and managers can access the system’s asset register when either on-site or off-site and on the road. Asset data can be accessed through a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, via an app or website.

Use of IoT Devices

Most modern asset management software comes equipped with IoT (Internet of Things) enabled devices that help to effectively track physical assets. These devices, usually in the form of Bluetooth receivers, RFID tags, or GPS trackers, essentially talk to each other to locate and retrieve asset data in an instant.

Track Modular Construction Projects

A common process is ‘modular construction’, in which a building or project is constructed off-site. In order for a modular project to be successful, it needs to be built to the same codes and standards as on-site built facilities. And, with an asset management system in place project managers can access key data such as plant conditions, materials used, equipment information, and even health and safety documents.

Accurate and Accessible Asset Register

An asset register will include almost all essential data of each asset in a construction business. This data, which can either be collected over time or instantly, is then accessible to managers, employees, and project owners. With the aim to better understand the asset life cycle process and maximise operations.

Project Management

An asset management system can create a more utilised workflow process for each project. Any improvement to the step-by-step workflow process can help to reduce lead times and increase productivity.

Maintenance and Repair Scheduling

By tracking and recording an asset’s life cycle, managers can begin to understand when an asset is at its optimal performance level or when it needs repairing. With this data, they are able to generate a profile of that asset and better plan a maintenance and repair schedule. Such as taking a preventive maintenance approach to essential construction assets. Then, with an effective schedule in place, the risk of unplanned downtime to assets that are critical for business operations is reduced.

Budget Tracking and Forecasting

As each project is carried out, data can be collected to understand the costs involved at each stage. These costs can then be instantly, and accurately, compared to budget estimates with the aim to improve future spending.

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What to consider before purchasing construction asset management software

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Asset Management Software

As part of the research into choosing the right asset management software for your construction business, it can be essential to first identify the company’s goals. By doing so, a site manager or project owner can identify what is needed from the system to deliver the best results.

This not only applies to the company’s current needs but for future requirements too. Most commonly, the right software can be found by simply asking a few questions:

Can it Record the Operational Data of Assets?

The asset lifecycle process begins when a business first plans to rent or buy an asset. Assets can then be tracked throughout their entire active period, right through to disposal. The right asset management software will be able to manage this period while collecting valuable data for each stage of the asset’s life cycle. By doing so, the system will be able to generate reports such as maintenance schedules and usability. In a bid to maximise an asset’s overall ROI.

Can it Track Assets in Real-Time?

For a project owner or manager to collect the most accurate and efficient data for all of their assets, they’ll want an asset management system with real-time tracking capabilities. This can produce exact and current data on asset usage, location, and ownership, through technologies like Barcodes and RFID. Effectively helping to build an accurate asset register full of valuable data.

Can it Manage Hard and Soft Assets?

Assets that prove critical to a construction company’s day-to-day operations may not just be physical items like equipment, tools, and vehicles. Vital assets may also be stored on a computer in the form of a lease and rental agreement, health and safety protocols, training information, and other important documents. This makes it essential to implement an asset management system that can manage both hard and soft assets.

Is Custom Reporting Built-in?

Detailed and custom reporting is a crucial feature that helps with industrial compliance and health and safety reports protocols. When looking for a management system, be sure to find a solution that allows customised reports. That way, you are able to tailor each one to the needs of the business.

Is Training Needed to Operate the System?

With departments, like engineering and financial, needing access to the system it can be important to know how much training is required. A company should also factor in the cost of training courses. As well as how long it takes each employee or team to be trained in using the system.

What Is the Typical Cost of Construction Asset Management Software?

Asset management can be implemented in a variety of businesses inside the construction industry. Including small and medium businesses (SMBs), large construction enterprises with multiple sites and plants, and even individual contractors. Most cloud-based construction solutions implement a “per user, per month” monthly pricing schedule, allowing for much more manageable costs. A cloud solution also means no hefty up-front or running costs and can usually be deployed instantly.

The Benefits of Using Asset Management in Construction Sites

Record the Life Cycle of Construction Assets

An effective asset management solution will track and record data from an asset’s acquisition through to its disposal. This allows project owners, managers, and contractors to know how long an asset’s operational life will typically last. By tracking assets such as equipment, tools, plants, and vehicles, construction companies can begin to understand the need for certain assets and help avoid costly outcomes such as unplanned downtime.

Track Assets in Real-Time

With the use of Real-time Location Systems (RTLS), construction asset management software can prove vital for tracking valuable assets. For example, RFID and Bluetooth technologies can help track equipment across multiple sites, buildings, and plants. The location of large vehicles, such as backhoe diggers and loaders, can also be tracked in real-time with the use of GPS trackers. Knowing the exact location of assets can eventually help to increase productivity and reduce the lead times of jobs.

Identify Profitable Assets

Asset management helps construction companies to better understand which assets are performing well and which ones are not. For example, if a site manager has a backhoe digger that has undergone extensive maintenance but still isn’t operating correctly, they’ll be able to know that this asset is not profitable. Therefore, they may choose to sell it and replace it accordingly.

Reduce the Risk of Theft on Construction Sites

One of the biggest challenges facing the construction industry is theft. In 2017, theft and vandalism cost the UK construction sector around £800 million. One benefit of utilising asset management in construction is to help reduce theft. Thanks to the use of tracking and tagging tools. These tools allow machinery, vehicles, equipment, and building materials such as concrete bags, to be tagged and monitored. Some tracking tools also don’t require a direct line of sight, which further helps managers to keep assets secure even when left in isolation.

What Asset Management Tools Offer Construction Companies

Asset management software enables businesses to maximise the usability of their assets. And, by implementing it into the construction industry, it can also allow project owners, construction managers, and contractors to enhance assets that are critical for day-to-day operations.

Making up a total of 6% of the UK’s economy and contributing £117bn in 2018, the construction industry continues to grow year-on-year. Yet, much of the sector remains un-digitalised in terms of managing assets. But, with a construction asset management system in place, businesses can accurately track and record valuable assets.

Collecting key asset data can help construction companies track assets such as vehicles and tools across multiple sites, build a comprehensive and accessible database, and determine each one’s total cost of ownership.

One main feature of using asset management in construction is the ability to understand an asset’s complete life cycle. This allows an asset to be tracked from its acquisition to its disposal. With the aim to better understand an asset’s operational life and maximise its overall Return on Investment (ROI).