The British construction industry has recently been praised by ODA Chairman John Armitt, for building the London 2012 stadia and infrastructure on time and in budget. And Guardian columnist and noted Olympics sceptic Simon Jenkins went so far as to say that “the British construction industry is probably the best in the world”. I agree wholeheartedly with this praise. Our construction industry continues to innovate in so many areas, adding value to the construction process while also driving down costs.

At the heart of much of this innovation has been the wider use of information technology (IT) to streamline processes and increase efficiency. And I like to think that companies such as Causeway are ‘doing their bit’ in enabling this to happen. IT has a key role to play in so many areas of construction and it has become just as important a tool as an excavator or a power drill. Software systems help construction companies to manage their documents more efficiently, so less time is taken up with shuffling bits of paper and re-keying data into different systems time and time again. Similarly, the efficient flow of information through the design and construction process, from initial design to estimating, contract management and accounting are all greatly facilitated by the appropriate software systems. Supply chains are rationalised and managed more effectively when companies understand more about their suppliers and sub-contractors and are able to maintain accurate, up-to-date records about them with the minimum of administration. In parallel, electronic trading cuts through much of the paperwork involved in processing transactions, slashing costs and delivering a very fast payback. In fact, these are just a few examples of how technology lies at the heart of the UK’s most successful construction companies. And as new technologies come along – such as cloud computing – the leading innovators in the software industry must continue to turn them into practical solutions that add real value to the construction process.

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