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Methods to Save Time and Money in Your Construction Company



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In every industry, cost control is a crucial factor that ensures a project or production does not exceed the financial limits while still producing maximum output. Regarding practical application: the project cost always turns out higher than the estimated costs. However, to execute a successful project, construction companies must determine factors contributing to cost control.

Understanding these issues can help construction companies avoid problems during construction, allowing projects to be completed under a tight budget or cost-effectively.

Factors Leading to Escalated Expenses
Planning and Management of Materials and Equipment
Materials and equipment are the backbones of any construction project, and their efficient management is crucial for project success. They also represent a significant expense in construction. Therefore, planning and reducing the cost of purchase and procurement also reduces the overall project cost.

Poor material management can lead to huge costs that are otherwise avoidable during construction. For instance, if the requirement of materials is not planned correctly and they are purchased early, it leads to a tied-up capital and excess inventory with increasing interest rates.

In worse cases, the storage areas may be faulty, and holding the materials long-term can lead to deterioration, as most require special care. For example, electrical equipment and some construction materials must be stored in waterproof areas to avoid damage.

On the other hand, if the materials are not purchased and delivered on time, the project may incur extra expenses and delay as the required materials are not available for particular activities. In short, purchasing the materials too early or too late leads to unnecessary expenses that could otherwise be avoided.

Construction Equipment Loss and Theft
Construction equipment is costly (especially the larger ones), and if it is misplaced or stolen, it can lead to severe penalties for construction companies. Loss of equipment is usually due to improper storage and monitoring or mishandling.

The loss of equipment contributes to the additional cost of replacement. It also leads to a delay in projects and productivity due to the unavailability of resources.

Other Factors
In traditional cataloging methods, employees must manually check the equipment and inventory each item as required. Time wasted on these tasks leads to a delay in the work progress, leading to unnecessary expenses.

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One way to overcome the problems faced by construction companies is to use automation and the RFID or Internet of Things (IoT) tags.

There are a variety of 'tagging' technologies available for application:

1) SENSOR WITH QR-NFC (TAG.QR-NFC)

  • The NFC can be scanned even if the QR code is damaged.
  • It doesn't need its own power supply as the chip gets its energy from the NFC reader/writer (e.g., a mobile phone).
  • Uses: Used to track assets that often change location like loaders, containers, drills, etc.

2) SENSOR WITH GPS (TAG.GPS)

  • This tag can be scanned using the QR code, and via the Sigfox network (Engie), the data is automatically sent to the CHECK platform on the user's device.
  • Allows accurate GPS location.
  • The sensor can also act like a beacon using which the location of the asset can be determined.
  • Uses: Used to track operating hours of machines, locate machinery, measuring temperature or the humidity, motion detection, etc.

3) SENSOR WITH WIFI (TAG.WIFI)

  • Two MAC addresses with the strongest WiFi signal are identified and used to determine the location.
  • No gateway or smartphone is required for tracking.
  • Used as an invisible theft alarm. An alert is given when the asset leaves the area around the two MAC addresses (Geofencing).
  • Uses: Used to monitor company assets that are used indoors or in densely populated geographic zones.

4) SENSOR WITH WIFI-GPS (TAG.WIFI GPS)

  • The tag uses WiFi or GPS to send data such as asset location, unwanted motion, temperature change, etc., to the CHECK platform.
  • Assets can be tracked both indoors and outdoors.
  • GPS tracking is only activated if there is no WiFi signal.
  • Uses: Used to track forklifts, cleaning machines, electric pallet trucks, welding stations, etc.

5) VILOC SENSOR (TAG.VILOC)

  • The tag uses the LoRa network (Proximus) to send information to the CHECK platform.
  • Used mainly outdoors and acts as a theft sensor (geofencing).
  • Compact and easy to hide.
  • Uses: Used to monitor expensive materials and equipment, site equipment, etc.

6) SENSOR WITH BLUETOOTH (TAG.BLE)

  • Bluetooth gateway or smartphone with active Bluetooth picks up a signal in a predetermined radius (from 20m to +/- 200m).
  • A signal is sent every 3 seconds, and manual scanning is not required.
  • It cannot act as a tracing system for theft protection.
  • Uses: Used to track materials and equipment with fixed positions.

7) WiFiWORLD SENSOR (TAG.WIFIWORLD)

  • It has a rechargeable internal battery that remains on standby for four months.
  • Uses WiFi sniffing and triangulation to send data to CHECK platform (via SIM card).
  • Uses: Used to track business or personal valuables internationally.

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IoT tags provide many advantages in the construction sector to make operations more efficient. The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology used in the tags helps reduce the time and unnecessary expenses that may occur. Data accuracy is crucial for the functioning of the construction and development sector.

Even the smallest inconsistency in information causes a delay in work. Protecting and managing data cannot be done accurately by humans. Therefore, RFID tags play a crucial role. Using these printed tags can reduce the cost of data management and safeguard it without any intervention.

Keeping a record of the vast equipment on construction sites is crucial, yet it isn't easy. IoT tags and networks help make tracking and monitoring more accurate and efficient. Construction and project managers can use this technology to get real-time insights about the condition and location of the materials and equipment without having to do it manually.

Machine information can be accessed and updated from anywhere using a smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Construction companies can utilize this technology to operate equipment at the maximum capacity to optimize the overall construction project.

IoT technology also acts as a theft sensor to ensure the security of materials. Various tags are used to detect unauthorized movement inside or outside the worksite with the help of methods like geo-focusing and triangulation. As all the information collected from the RFID tags is maintained on virtual platforms, it makes data organization more precise. Data can be added, updated, or retrieved easily through a phone.

Other Benefits of RFID Tags in Construction Projects

  • The IoT tags allow smooth operations with real-time tracking of equipment and maintaining inventory.
  • Sensors help control the equipment around the clock.
  • The "health" and operation capability of equipment can be read to provide repairs or replacement on time. This helps prevent unpredictable breakdowns.
  • The use of paper reduces a lot as all the records are maintained on digital platforms that are updated automatically.
  • High costs decrease along with resource wastage as asset management is more efficient.
  • Coordination among the various project teams, such as planners, builders, administration, etc., improves as locating and managing materials is easier.
  • IoT tags allow cost-cutting in construction projects by using site monitoring techniques for machines, tools, vehicles, and materials.
  • The real-time reporting function of the tags also reduces the cost of communication and reduces the time for project completion.

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The construction and development sector has relied heavily on manual intervention at every project stage. Employees have to personally manage every aspect of a project which can often lead to errors.

Tool calibration is another aspect of construction that can lead to chaos if not done correctly. Employees often overlook scheduling a calibration due to the vast amount of tools.

Many construction companies use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to:

  • Track the movement of valuable assets.
  • Improve digital inventory that does not require manual barcode scanning.
  • Make purchasing, shipping, receiving and putting away tools and equipment faster and easier.
  • Authentication of products and scheduling timely calibration.
  • Securing and monitoring to avoid loss and theft of materials.

New Innovations in RFID

With advancements in RFID tech, construction companies can seamlessly control heavy machinery with a few clicks on their mobile apps. Sensors enable machines to function with greater precision with minimal human involvement.

Wearable technology with IoT networks is also a popular development. Labour tracking and safety can be ensured through this. The wearable RFIDs will give managers autogenerated headcounts and worker locations on-site, send out safety alerts, and mark hazards on the construction site. The integration of AI technology in IoT networks can further enhance safety operations.

Enhancing the ability of RFID to measure the conditions in and around the tools and equipment can allow for timely maintenance and prevent losses. Innovations in tag manufacturing will make them more flexible and compatible with other devices. New antenna designs can also increase the signal range. Cloud-based applications and services can also improve the management of data collected from thousands of tags.

RFID Tags in Other Sectors

RFID is a rapidly growing technology that has found application in various commercial and personal sectors. Employee IDs with RFID codes or tags help automate time and attendance tracking. It allows more efficient resource allocation and streamlined payroll.

Theft and anti-shoplifting systems are examples of RFID in everyday life. The technology is also used to keep track of criminal offenders who are considered a flight risk.

A paramount application of RFID tags is their use in the healthcare sector. RFID tags can identify the blood bags from the donor to the patient. These tags also contain a crucial temperature sensor, as blood spoils quickly and needs to be maintained at cool temperatures.

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