Do you ever struggle to manage your time during the workday? Do you look for ways to tackle challenges like re-work and errors?
For civil engineers, embracing new ways of working is the key to overcoming some of these productivity obstacles. Many leading engineering firms are leveraging the cloud to help them collaborate better, boost productivity, and deliver projects faster. Infrastructure project teams often require contributions from multiple specialists and consultants based at different firms. So coordination and collaboration play significant roles in project delivery. But often, traditional methods of project communication, like phone calls and long email threads often slow down productivity, and create gaps where feedback falls through the cracks.
That’s why it’s essential that all team members on a project can be plugged into centralized project data from anywhere, and maintain quick and easy communication to ensure everyone is on the same page.
According to a recent survey, 33% of industry professional see online collaboration tools as a path to higher productivity, and that number is climbing every year. It’s clear that cloud collaboration is a game-changer.
Here’s a quick peek into the 7 ways Civil Engineers use cloud tools to maximize productivity:
1. Centralized access to project information – for everyone on the team
We’ll cut to the chase–after all, you already know that wading through hundreds of emails to find specific project information wastes precious work time. But what if you and your team could access all project files in one central place and refer back to a central ‘project wiki’ that holds all the project data you need? With consolidated project information, you can move an analysis forward with greater ease, or provide your engineers with resources to quickly answer that question about the retaining walls.
A small wiki might contain just a few entries, contacts, meeting notes, some additional background material–but that’s the kind of information that prevents every team member from losing time sifting through old emails. It’s a one-stop, central location for all your project needs. And when you get repeat question from multiple team members or stakeholders that you don’t have time to answer, you can just say, “It’s in the wiki”. It’s a quick way to save time and boost productivity.
2. Spend less time translating and coordinating files
Civil projects require a variety of design tools. The preferred tools for a structural engineer on a highway project may differ from those used by the roadway engineer, and the GIS specialist will use an entirely different set of tools. The data created by these different tools often can’t be shared or viewed by others without a significant amount of work going into translating the files. This work is accompanied by the risk that some details may get lost in translation. Some teams might even use design software systems that don’t include all the available BIM data in order to accommodate other collaborators’ tool preferences.
Cloud collaboration can help you address compatibility issues in several ways. You can view many native file types directly through cloud-based viewing tools, and no longer need to translate the files to view them. The whole team saves time—and collaborators work more efficiently in their preferred tools.
Even if some team members use unsupported file types, cloud collaboration offers two options to address this. Members can simply save their work as one of dozens of supported file types and upload the file to the cloud for easy viewing by the whole team. Chances are their design tools can export to one or more supported formats. Another option is to create an aggregated project model that incorporates all of the team-generated files. Once this aggregated model is uploaded, the team—even the client—can use the 3D viewer to explore the model. While this option does necessitate maintaining the aggregated model, it has the advantage of providing cross-team visibility into the project’s progress.
3. Reduced need for paper prints
Many infrastructure teams still rely heavily on paper prints to get a complete project view. That’s largely because design files are too big to email efficiently. Yes, the use of DWF and PDF files have led to reduced printing, because they allow you to share information by email more easily.
However, team members still request prints and unroll the sheet set when they want to check details. This creates several problems. Not only is printing expensive, but also wasteful. More importantly, prints are outdated as soon as they come off the printer, which adds to project expense and waste. Also, today’s BIM-powered designs contain object data and model insights that prints don’t convey.
Fewer prints, more information
Using the cloud for collaboration and coordination allows for easy access to all the latest project information. You can view your project files and project information from anywhere, on any device. Plan sheets retain civil-design model information, so you can see project plans and underlying object data. It’s like having real-time access to electronic prints that maintain complete visual fidelity with respect to pen-weights, line types, fonts, and colors. And you aren’t the only one with access to this information–everyone on the project team can refer to project plans without resorting to printing. You get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that no team member is working with old data.
To see the rest of the 7 ways Civil Engineers
can maximize productivity, download the eBook here.