Property Australia

The digital evolution of specifications


The construction industry’s most archaic document – the specification book – is finally getting a makeover, says cloud computing specialist Procore Technologies.

While many construction documents have moved to the cloud, specification books have remained paper-based, or, at best, digitised in the form of isolated files. The data sets have been too large with too many information sources to transition easily to the cloud. And page-turning costs many construction companies a pretty penny, says Procore.

But this is finally changing.

Agile software applications and state-of-the-art technologies like optical character recognition enable even these massive compilations to move to the cloud. Complete and accurate specifications are now available in real time on the site.

“Spec books can range in size from 100 to over 3,000 pages. Managing that paper load is no small feat,” says Procore.

This is more than a numbers problem.

“Ample time spent trying to access and track down the right information in these endless binders is not only costly in terms of money spent on the physical search but even more so on the potential cost associated with rework due to outdated specifications.”

Simply digitising spec books doesn’t solve the problem. Many construction firms store their spec books electronically as PDFs in document storage systems. However, cloud-based repositories are just that: digital filing cabinets that only store documents, nothing more.

As a result, PDF files present many of the same issues as paper-based drawing sets: time-consuming to access, difficult to organise and with poor version control.

So, if neither paper-based or digital spec management can efficiently provide project teams with real-time spec information what’s the solution?

Cloud-based construction software gives all contributors instant access to every document and all parties are notified in real time when changes – including mark-ups to a spec – are made.

Construction software has become the single source of truth for team members to reference from any device. And as revisions are made to documents, the software automatically creates a version log to track those changes.

“It’s no longer necessary to clutter the jobsite trailer with an expansive library of binders and dusty filing cabinets. And you shouldn’t have to spend hours of your workweek hiking to and from the trailer to locate and reference vital documentation buried in those binders,” says Procore.

Instead, you can keep one digital master set of specifications in the cloud, and revise and distribute it to your entire team in one click.

Procore Technologies provides cloud-based applications for construction, connecting people, applications, and devices through a unified platform. Download  The Digital Evolution of Specifications to learn more.