A single source of truth, often abbreviated to SSOT, is when everyone on the team uses the same, reliable resource to retrieve the needed data. And housing that data on construction cloud software means that everyone can access that SSOT from anywhere.
However, both cloud solutions and SSOT are rare to the construction industry. This is due in large part to the reliance on outdated technology and unreliable cost books because of the age-old expression, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?”
Well, generally speaking, it is broken. When construction collaboration tools exist that can boost productivity by up to 70%, that’s a good reason to fix it.
The Problems with Multiple Sources of “Truth”
The biggest problem with not having an SSOT is that everyone pulls from different databases. This creates a vast web of mismatching pricing that can significantly hurt the accuracy of construction estimates.
Further, construction cost books can be notoriously unreliable, with data based on national averages, inflation, and outdated technology rather than constantly updated based on geographic conditions.
That level of bad data is shown to cost up to 70% in extra work, meaning good, reliable data can boost productivity by up to 70%.
A mix of bad data and multiple data sources creates a mess that’s solved overnight by quality construction applications that work together on a cloud-based software.
Lack of Communication
Without a consolidated construction collaboration platform, cost estimators, cost engineers, project managers, contractors, subcontractors, and clients don’t have a place to share data. This creates a lack of trust and leads to the blame game, which can be just as counterproductive as bad data.
Too Many Construction Applications
Incompatible formats can be a nightmare. One person uses a spreadsheet and sends the file in XLS while another sends it in a PDF. One person uses the third column for price point while another uses the third column for the SKU. The project manager ends up reformatting and reorganizing everything to fit into one format, and human error causes inconsistencies that can go unnoticed.
If you’re busy juggling five versions of the same file and zips located in one place while a part of your bid lives in email threads, you’ll spend most of your time trying to clean up data and hoping you didn’t pick the wrong version of your data source.
When everyone uses the same construction applications instead, it makes everything go more smoothly. It’s easy to fix issues like a wrong file format, and ensures that no data gets lost in the shuffle along the way.
Construction cloud software makes it easy to go paperless. Rather than housing paperwork in endless file cabinets, you can track all documents and organize projects through construction applications that don’t even require you to back up your computer.
Instead, everything is permanently stored on the cloud, giving you access to all paperwork in seconds. It also protects important from a fire or flood, computer malfunction, or any other potential issue.
The Consequences of No SSOT or Construction Cloud Software
On-site surprises are uncontrollable factors, but what we can control is getting as close to the mark as possible. A SSOT combined with quality construction collaboration tools significantly diminish the chance of project delays, which can be enormously costly.
No SSOT can mean overlooking safety necessities, whether it’s on-site during the project or with the building’s construction itself. These safety issues can sometimes be fixed with minimal investment. Other times the whole building needs to come down to meet safety code. A reliable SSOT significantly minimizes the chance of safety oversights.
Fluctuating Material Costs
With unreliable cost data across several different sources, it’s a huge (and often insurmountable) task to keep up with fluctuating material costs. But if you utilize a reliable SSOT that’s constantly updated, that becomes a much more approachable issue. CostBook even takes constant updates a step further by making the data specific to the location of the project.
Inaccurate Labor Cost
While a bit less intense than material costs, labor costs can fluctuate drastically as well. But moreso, skilled labor accessibility, new technology that optimizes labor, and other factors contribute to inaccurate labor cost estimates. A reliable cost book will offer the latest information on labor costs, while the latest construction applications can help identify opportunities to reduce labor costs with state-of-the-art practices.
Your SSOT Solution: Construction Cloud Software
If your single source of truth (SSOT) is unreliable, the construction cloud software can still be useful. You can still track and collaborate to streamline the process. But you’ll still run into the same issues of unreliable data, which, again, can hurt productivity by as much as 70%. That’s why a reliable, constantly updated, location-specific database like CostCenter’s cost book is so crucial.
SSOT should work in tandem with construction cloud software like CostPro to create a data-driven workflow. That means moving numbers directly from a digital library to the construction applications, such as cost estimate tools and 3D building models. This eliminates the chances of human error, such as mistyping or misreading the data. It’s a lot faster too.
Standardize Project Processes and Workflows
Your data-driven workflow can then be tracked, linked, and everyone on your team can see what you added. The project is visible to everyone working on it, a level of transparency and organization that boosts productivity and team trust while eliminating the need to consolidate and clean up the data.
These predictable outcomes result in predictable outcomes and more efficiency, which doesn’t just save money. It also opens up the space for identifying new opportunities, which can also be tracked in construction cloud software so you can easily pull up your valuable in-house data.