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In construction, every detail carries significant implications, making smooth collaboration and effective communication essential for every project. This reality underscores the need for digital tools that enable clear, consistent and accurate communication, yet critical project elements are often hindered by outdated analog processes. 

By embracing the power of digital platforms, the industry has the potential to revolutionize the way it communicates and collaborates, ensuring efficiency, accuracy and progress in every stage of a project.

After Analog

When architects, project managers, contractors, subcontractors and other industry stakeholders rely on outdated analog approaches, information sharing and maintaining accurate, timely and relevant communication is a significant challenge. 

This is particularly true for big projects, which are often subject to frequent changes from various stakeholders. The cost and consequences can be enormous. Building from outdated drawings can result in costly rework and significant project delays. One analysis found that rework can extend construction costs by up to 20%, collectively costing the construction sector more than $177 billion annually. 

Moreover, an analog approach often hinders efficient collaboration. Ideally, project teams should work synchronously, leveraging shared documents and real-time collaboration to enable accurate, efficient outcomes. When teams rely on paper-based, analog solutions, however, response times are delayed and inefficiency risk rises. 

When combined with the associated costs for printing, shipping and storage, it’s clear that a paper-based approach to document creation and dissemination is an inefficient avenue to construction project management.  

Enter Virtual Workspaces

Virtual workspaces, or virtual project rooms, have emerged as an ideal solution to these challenges. A virtual project room is software that hosts all the drawings and documentation related to a project. It digitally replaces traditional plan rooms, enabling accessibility from anywhere. Anyone with internet access can have the most updated information in real-time, on or off the jobsite.

A virtual project room is a comprehensive resource center that consistently provides up-to-date project information. By not only storing but also recording all the updates in real time, users have seamless access to the most recent and accurate project details with assured confidence. This creates streamlined workflows, facilitates fast-track delivery of critical documents and enhances communication among project partners, ensuring consistency and quality.

In other words, a virtual project room is a one-stop shop for the most current project information, so anyone with internet access can get the most updated information in real time.

Virtual Workspace Implementation Best Practices

Virtual workspaces can make construction projects more efficient and collaborative, elevating outcomes at every part of the process. However, technology alone won’t improve performance, making effective implementation critical to a project’s success.

When implementing a virtual workspace, there are a few key considerations:

First, find a solution that can host all necessary documents in one place. This creates a single point of access for accurate, real-time information. Understand the size and scope of your project and evaluate solutions accordingly, ensuring that you’re optimizing your virtual workspace to accommodate the project’s scope and personnel requirements.

Similarly, ensure the solution is accessible to all team members, regardless of their preferred device. Prioritize virtual workspaces with necessary app integrations, so teams can create custom workflows and share data across systems as needed. Different platforms offer varying access options, so it's vital to select a solution that caters to the entire team's needs.

After selecting a virtual workspace solution, appoint someone to manage and maintain the system. This person should ensure the documentation is accessible, has manageable permissions and can oversee software logistics.

Finally, pick a virtual workspace that prioritizes data security. Between 2019 and 2020, data breaches in the construction sector increased by 800%, making it the industry most-targeted by hackers. This underscores the inherent risk of digitalization and increases the need for safe and cyber-secure products.

For example, at Bluebeam, we mitigated risk by attaining SOC 2 Type 2 certification, the most comprehensive certification for Systems and Organization Controls Protocols.

Look for solutions that similarly prioritize cybersecurity so that a detrimental data breach doesn’t undermine digitalization.

Unleashing Efficiency with Virtual Project Rooms

The historical reliance of the construction sector on analog methods for communication and information sharing has proven inefficient and costly. Virtual project rooms offer a powerful digital alternative, housing all project-related documents and facilitating real-time collaboration. These platforms provide a central hub for accurate, up-to-date project information, streamlining workflows, fast-tracking document delivery and enhancing communication.

This technology alone doesn't guarantee success. Effective implementation is crucial, requiring a solution that caters to all necessary documents and user devices, prioritizes data security and assigns a dedicated manager for oversight.

In essence, virtual project rooms, when properly implemented, offer a significant leap forward, streamlining the management of construction projects and pushing the industry toward a more digital, efficient future.


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