Engineering blog
20 Jun 2019

The first push is the hardest: On the nature of consumption

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  • Insights
  • 2 minutes
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The nature of consumption, no matter how flexible its curve, has always been on an upward drive. Whether the factors have been man-made or nature-led, the successful plan remains the one which produced measurable growth.

Within the construction sphere, the value of cost has undergone a slight change.

Empirical evidence indicates that an increasing tendency to automate has resulted in a steady evolution in the definition and modalities of work. There is an active national interest in implementing e-Construction components such as electronic bidding and contract award, project collaboration tools, mobile tools, and electronic project construction management.

However, a few agencies are holding off because of a lack of clarity on where to begin and the uncertainty of the cost and feasibility of implementing e-Construction.

A 2017 report of the US Department of Transportation developed a generalized framework, using ROI (Return of Investment) analysis as a basis that owner agencies can use to evaluate the business case prior to investing in an enterprise-wide technology deployment and implementation program to standardize e-Construction practices.

There is reason to believe that a good number of mature agencies are going completely paperless for the entire construction process. Michigan, for example, was one of the first to have all state highway system projects use e-Construction practices (during the 2015 construction season).

The price of adopting and adapting to these newer systems and methods presents all decision-making bodies with a curious conundrum. In other words, there is a question which is beyond the when and the how.

The real insecurity stems from the fact that the immediate future is an assembly line of process and systems. What level of error could one expect and how quickly could it be mitigated? Experts have opinions. But opinions do not generate profit. Time is the only true guide. And, time costs a lot of money.

Within this context, the individual maturity frameworks of organizations play an important role. The buzz words of today’s day and age – agility and flexibility – come into the arena for a neck-to-neck fight.

2019 is the year of decision-makers.

For profit to accrue, the parts must move the sum quickly and efficiently. Use of 3D modelling data for site preparation, asphalt and concrete paving, and other activities is likely to expand improvement opportunities.

A potential seamless integration scenario would include contract language in bid materials to specify the requirements of geospatial data so that there is a common data environment for design, construction, and construction management.

Moreover, contract records, daily work reports, payments, material management would have a smoother process flow with built-in project construction management systems to ensure seamless document routing. Ink signatures and seals will be replaced by digital signatures.

Change is always uncomfortable. But planned change is cheaper.

Agencies should be prepared for temporary losses in productivity as staff become acclimated with the new systems/tools before productivity increases and there is a positive net benefit. Or, find a trusted managed services provider to carve sizeable returns.

Meanwhile, those who are hindered by the first cost mentality will lose the race. Well, let’s watch till the end.

Saj Khanna

Senior Vice President


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  1. Imagining construction’s digital future

  2. Addressing Challenges and Return on Investment (ROI) for Paperless Project Delivery (e-Construction)



Your Citation

CAD Evangelist. "The first push is the hardest: On the nature of consumption" CAD Evangelist, Jun. 20, 2019,

CAD Evangelist. (2019, June 20). The first push is the hardest: On the nature of consumption. Retrieved from

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