Digital Replicas to the Payapp’s Rescue
Getting paid in the construction industry is a feat no less challenging than landing a man on the moon. The process is governed by specific procedures described in the contract and involves multiple stakeholders before a payment is approved and transferred.
Any dispute (over completeness/quality/schedule) that may occur between the project stakeholders, namely the contractor and the owner, but also contractors and designers, can cause delays in the payment process. A 2016 study done in the UK1 identified disputes as to what is owed, granted the work has been performed, materials delivered, or the services provided as a major reason for late and delayed payments (The Payments Minefield, Construction Excellence, April 2016).
How can we remediate? Communication is key. Trust levels between the project stakeholders are directly related to the amount of transparency. A contractor effectively communicating when milestones are reached, progress is made, or significant events occur is less likely to encounter any disputes. But how can we ensure we are communicating effectively? Using visual communication in addition to verbal communication enables to convey even very complex information quickly and simply. Another advantage of visual communication is its objectivity, pictures are not only worth 1,000 words, they are also hard to argue with. While basic images taken with a smartphone can do the trick, having a digital replica of your project opens a new realm of possibilities as unlike photos, the replica contains all the geographic and geometric information as well.
Take for example a heavy civil contractor working on a large infrastructure project. Payment can be based on volume of dirt moved, underground utilities placed, or roads paved. Traditionally, a payapp would contain tables stating the amount of work performed or material installed. A simple improvement to the payapp would be adding aerial photos comparing last month with this month:
A review of both images by an observant individual will point out the changes between the two, but why stop there?
A digital replica enables the addition of measurements to the aerial photos and the use of powerful algorithms can highlight the changes between the months, both of which convey the message of work performed for anyone to see. How’s that for transparency?
Payapps can be grueling task for any contractor, especially if there is a dispute as to what was completed. Clearly communicating what has been done and where can make things a lot easier. An end-to-end digital replica solution like SiteAware can generate a variety of visual aids to support your payapp and make sure it is approved. Click here to learn more.