Build Your Job Site Internet SolutionBuild Your Job Site Internet Solution
A contractor’s ability to share data quickly with owners and other stakeholders from the job site may be the key to getting the job. Learn about four considerations when connecting from even the most remote sites to the web.
May 2, 2022
In our first session of the WOC360 Pre-Construction Webinar Series, What’s Important to Discuss About Site Preparation and Grading, our presenters focused on the increasing importance of establishing strong data links on the job site. Starting with the initial grade stake to the topping off, sharing data quickly is becoming an important job site concern.
The webinar is now available for viewing on demand.
On many large projects, owners are requiring contractors to upload images, scans, and digital reports on a routine basis. When you combine this requirement with the contractor’s need for data to perform their work, it means that the jobsite must be well connected.
Following up on their comments, I wanted to learn how contractors can secure a strong job site internet solution. To answer this question, I reached out to David Smigel at ConstructEdge. We discussed the challenges concrete contractors might face sharing digital data and how to plan to increase their efficiency and communication with the general contractor and owner.
I first met ConstructEdge at ConExpo a few years ago. It was their new brand’s first major exposure to the construction industry after evolving into a construction technology managed services business. Since then, their team has provided specialized construction technology services across the country for diverse job site settings.
The firm specializes in establishing a strong, reliable job site network to allow mobile devices and cloud-based apps to work efficiently and without delay. They have served both large general contractors and concrete contractors. “Everyone needs clear communication to ensure that the construction project flows smoothly and is done correctly, on time and on budget,” said Smigel.
I found out that to have a successful job site network, you need more than a modem. Today’s construction job sites require networks to have a scalable, robust internet connection to feed the trailers and then extend to field areas where work is happening. Routers and wireless access points become required, not optional. This allows real-time data and live communication across the entire project. There are four considerations when planning how to control data transfer on a job site.
Location, location, location
Part of the data transfer challenge is the job site location. Along with the physical characteristics of the job site, contractors need to assess how construction activity and nearby development will impact bandwidth and signal availability. Will a new structure block out tower availability? Will the job trailer be placed in one location or moved during phases?
Contractors need to search out alternative solutions when existing data infrastructure isn’t in place. Temporary internet solutions such as private LTE, satellite, or WISPs (wireless internet service providers) can use custom power kits or line-of-sight microwaves and be deployed quickly. Contractors should look for networking equipment designed for job sites that are subject to extreme weather conditions, dirt, and dust.
2. Trailer placement
The modern job site trailer is more than a place to have the coffee maker and time clock. To be efficient, the initial trailer drop must be spot-on so data can easily flow in and out. In addition, it is important to develop a plan for the network design should additional contractors or engineers come onto the job site and the trailer city begins to grow.
Field Connectivity Considerations
When setting up your Wi-Fi network, try to anticipate the type of devices that will populate the job site. Start with the basics, such as security cameras, office printers, and workstations. Then you need to include the types of equipment that will be used during construction, such as data loggers, scanners, and even drones.
Remember that “field connectivity” considerations will scale up in subsequent construction phases as the job site grows. It may make sense to lease any equipment that you’ll only need for a few months.
4. Review your ISP contract
Moving to a new location may require signing up with a different internet service provider (ISP). It’s important to review all the available services and contract terms. Some important concerns facing contractors include additional costs for moving fibers, early termination and the need for additional infrastructure.
You can learn more on how to plan to update your pre-construction planning by downloading ConstructEdge’s "The IT Leader’s Guide to Budgeting for Jobsite Networks" at ConstructEdge.com.