Unblemished With Software

Ajith Alexander, Founder & Managing Director, QwikSpecQwikSpec is a real estate company serving as an end-to-end project site management technology platform for the infrastructure and construction industry.

The real estate industry has for long faced the challenge of identifying the multiple tiny blemishes that invariably mark a structure, before handing over possession to the customers. This identification is laborious, time consuming and prone to oversight due to the difficulty it poses in keeping track of the same and recording for correction. Currently, site engineers are employed to manually inspect every minute scratch, tiny cracks, scraping off of paint or other such damage marking the length and breadth of the building.

The result, the real estate industry has been facing several pain points, including project delay, consumer complaints. The advent of new legislation in the form of Real Estate Regulatory Act (RERA) in 2017 has further compounded the issue. With RERA, there is increased focus on transparency, timeliness and quality of projects with tough penalties for not meeting standards. Time delays that can occur purely due to identification of flaws before handing over possession can thus prove to be costly, upsetting the already strained profit margins of the industry.

However, with today's upswing in technology, an operations platform can prove to be very helpful in addressing these problems. The availability of such software solutions promise to help the real estate industry players address these pain points. Currently, software solution providers have come up with a variety of technology platforms that can be implemented across four stages of the construction cycle ­ structural, finishing, snagging & handover and auditing.
For instance, during the Structural and Finishing Stages, contractors can raise work completion requests using a specially designed mobile app and project engineers can verify and approve also using the app. This provides daily monitoring of site work based on real time data and helps decrease work slippages.

Likewise, during the Snagging and Handover stage, inspections by multiple engineers can be done using the app. There are also customer inspections that are carried out and customer satisfaction surveys which are collected on the platform. The automation of this stage results in 30-40 percent saving in time. Regarding the auditing stage, regular quality and safety audits can also be implemented using the platform which allows close tracking and closure of non-conformities if any. This allows a 30-40 percent saving in re-work cost.

With RERA, there is increased focus on transparency, timeliness and quality of projects with tough penalties for not meeting standards

One of the most exciting features available in this technology domain is the drone system, which basically involves a set of drones accessing normally inaccessible parts of the building, and clicking pictures of any imperfections in the construction of the building, showcasing the pain points to the constructor so that he may make amends before delivering the space to the customer. Normally, the real estate company cannot keep track of minor impairments in the construction that are pretty much unnoticeable to the naked eye. Therefore, the drones play a vital role in the detection of such impairments.

The breakthrough of technology brings the power of big data to the construction sector. The platform which aggregates data from Structural stage to Handover stage currently hosts 10 million data points. These are from inspections done on site from various stakeholders, including contractors, project engineers, project managers, quality engineers, property management executives, and home owners. This provides real time data analysis for quick decision making on various quality control aspects and allows for predictive analysis of project delays and cost escalation factors.

Considering that the workforce on-site is about 95 percent of the total employees in a construction company, a low technology penetration in construction has resulted in the workforce productivity remaining stagnant over the last two decades. Given the accelerated demand witnessed in this sector and the need for quality deliverables increasing, use of such technology will bring in real operational differentiation to its users, will reduce cost, and improve productivity besides reducing time to market. The software solutions currently available aim to work with lateral tools, rising to the center of this exciting universe of technology adopted in the real estate sector.