4 Ways Going Digital Is Reducing Waste

Should the construction industry go digital? Digital began its invasion of the construction industry almost 15 years ago, but it really took off two or three years ago.

A disaster? Not really.

The digital transformation in construction is an opportunity for development, which could lead to an increase in economic value estimated at around 1000 billion euros in France by 2025. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that a saving on project lifecycle costs of nearly 20% could be achieved by going digital.

Although it is difficult to convince seasoned construction industry veterans, we should note the considerable benefits that go hand in hand with some key aspects of today's challenges: carbon reduction, collaborative consumption, etc.

So if this hasn't convinced you yet, here are 4 good reasons to go digital.

Save time

Working digitally is a godsend for the customer, who sees their waiting time drastically reduced.

Digital was created to be responsive, and the ability to respond to customers’ requests at a moment's notice is an attractive point of sale for the customer. Not needing the design office to modify plans, giving the sales staff the freedom to make changes directly with the customer allows a rapid exchange of information. The customer therefore feels understood and reassured, which often translates into a signed contract.

However, this responsiveness extends to other aspects of the sales cycle. Changes made in real time allow sales reps to increase their productivity.

If they sign a contract quicker, they can take on more projects, without increasing their workload. This streamlines the activity of the sales force, the design office, and thus the entire workflow involved in the process. Rather than having individual companies each working on one construction element, it becomes possible to include everyone in the whole process, giving a sense of cohesion to the final project.


A collaborative software linking the design office, sales and customers is paramount. The information exchanged in this single application is more reliable than dozens of loose papers, all containing essential information, specific requests or comments from each party.

A recent study indicated that construction projects can generate volumes of information of up to 6 TB of data: thousands of emails, hundreds of 2D plans, etc. Centralizing information helps avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes at the end of a project.

This visual aid is an advantage not only for the client, who can peacefully sign a construction contract, but also for the different parties involved in the construction, who have a reference document to follow, updated in real time. This document can contain technical information: dimensions, wall thickness, number of square feet for each room, etc.

Digital tools have more and more information retention capabilities, allowing the design office to produce technical plans from a single model. This information also helps to prevent the purchase of too much equipment, which then translates into a saving of money.

Gaining data

One digital document to govern them all.

This tool, which brings together all the information needed by the design office to form the technical plans later, limits the loss of data. All information indicated in a digital document is traceable. There can thus be several levels of usefulness for a single plan.

The client has a global vision of the project, the sales representatives have the detailed inventory and the total cost, and the design office has the number of square meters, the dimensions, and other information necessary to create the technical plan.

In addition, the digital tool makes it possible to go beyond paper, beyond the 200 drawings covered with indications half erased with a pencil, the 30 different models without knowing precisely which one is dated, the incomprehensible handwriting of his colleague.

Digital technology makes it possible to do the same thing much more clearly and precisely: annotate documents in a clear font, indicate the dimensions of the parts, the desired paint colours, etc.

Gaining money

"Time is money" is a well-known quote, but it still rings true. The reasons given above all lead to small savings that accumulate and then grow into large ones.

Saving time for your salespeople means making their presence profitable and allowing them to be more productive, which in turn can lead to more contracts being signed... and therefore more money earned.

Improving your brand image by going digital is also a way to make money: involve your customers, give them confidence, differentiate yourself from the competition and value yourself in the eyes of the customer. The result is positive word of mouth and new prospects.

When talking about new technologies in the construction industry, it is impossible not to mention the brakes: according to the KPMG-Le Moniteur study, 52.9% of managers were unable to assess the effectiveness of an investment in digital, and lacked the financial means to invest.

Another difficulty illustrated by this study was the reluctance of employees to change and their inability to use these technologies.

Going digital certainly requires a sometimes substantial financial investment, training in digital tools, but it also offers the ability to reinvent oneself in one's job. To become more efficient and more productive, to save time, to improve the company's brand image by keeping up to date, to improve the quality of the service offered, to reduce paper consumption, to collaborate amicably with all parties involved in a project, to better anticipate and respect budgets.

These gains are non-negligible, and deserve to be seriously considered.

So, rather than having the digital transformation imposed on you and being at the back of the race, it's better to anticipate and control it, in order to be among the first, upstream.