The talk of Big Data in construction has contractors and homebuilders thinking big. But the data residing in existing technology systems, such as estimating and takeoff software, can add significant value to a project, creating greater profits. For many builders, it is just a matter of finding the most effective way to unleash that data.

One example of how homebuilders can use data effectively is by making use of the estimating and takeoff information throughout the course of a project. This data can be used for labor management and cost control, which ultimately leads to a more profitable project for construction companies.

As one case, On Center Software, www.oncenter.com, The Woodlands, Texas, introduced its DPC (Digital Production Control) product in 2008, giving construction companies the ability to harness this data. The product integrates the takeoff and estimate data through the process of tracking labor, production, and payroll. With this, builders can track a budget, compare actual labor rates and costs against estimated costs, track original estimated quantities of materials and labor hours, and analyze the data against the earned value of the budgeted labor.

Builders are finding value in this technology. Daley’s Drywall, www.daleysdrywall.com, Campbell, Calif., does a combination of commercial, acoustical ceilings, multifamily residential, custom homes and remodels, and structural metal stud framing projects. With a mission that is focused on building client relationships through competitive costs, the company uses the technology to keep track of labor production.

The drywall company integrates DPC with Quick Bid for estimating and On-Screen Takeoff, and says the immediate value of using this technology is the transparency for the estimator to the field crew. The company is able easily track manhours on a job, allowing the foreman to know where he is with the budget each day. Having access to that data allows the company to keep a close eye on the bottomline.

At this year’s Constructech Technology Day, taking place on October 4 in Santa Clara, Calif., Daley’s Drywall will discuss in-depth how the takeoff and estimating data helped create greater profits within its business.

Daley’s Drywall is just one example of how a construction company identified a means to use data from within one system to provide value to another process. The potential savings due to improved use of data in construction could impact projects in a greater way going forward. Now, companies need to begin to identify how to best use that data.