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Adoption and Trends of Digital Signatures in the Construction Industry

January 18, 2024 No Comments

by Jeff Caplinger

Time is money, but nowhere is this as true as in the construction industry. You see, when it comes to construction, an architect needs to create a viable plan that will undergo a number of evaluations and estimations. This means that it’s never a question of whether something can be built. It’s just a question of whether it can be built in time.

This is why the delays are the bane of the construction industry. Weather and malfunctions can cause massive delays, but so can paperwork. One of the ways to make things simpler and get them going is the use of digital signatures. Here’s how and why this is the case. 

There are so many reasons why these digital signatures are looking at amazing adoption rates in construction companies. Here are five such reasons.

1. Better Security

Digital signatures are far more secure than people give them credit for. They tend to be quite reliable and near-impossible to forge, and even when they are forged, it’s quite easy to follow the forgery to the source.

With traditional analog signatures, there’s too much room for explanation, even when the signature is slightly off. Just think about it: you’ve probably never signed something the same way twice, which automatically defeats the authenticity of the argument in favor of digital signatures.

A printed-out document can be seen, accessed, and photographed by anyone. A digital document, on the other hand, is easier to track and restrict access to. This is what makes it so incredibly effective. 

This is especially important for high-profile projects and blueprints. Keeping these safe is your top priority.

2. More cost-effective

A digital construction signature will end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. First of all, there’s nothing costlier than delays, and being able to sign documents that have the potential to cause a holdup and having them available instantly will change everything.

Another thing you need to understand is the fact that it costs you quite a bit to print all of these contracts. They are available in so many different copies, and each copy can be quite long. Sure, we’re talking about the industry dealing with multi-million-dollar contracts, so does this printing paper really make a difference? Yes, every bit helps, and while the income is great, the expenses are great, as well. You should use any opportunity you have to save money.

Other than this, it’s worth mentioning one more thing – time is money. While waiting for the papers to be delivered, the construction could have already started. This is something you should never lose from sight. 

Apart from this, it’s vital that you fully grasp the ecological implications of saving money by not having to print and hand-sign documents.

3. More effective

The first thing you’ll notice about digital signatures is that they’re actually more efficient than their counterparts. First of all, they’re quicker, meaning no one out there will be waiting for you to receive and deliver the document. They can only wait for you to open the document and sign it, which is already a much quicker process.

Second, it’s important to mention that there’s always a risk of human error when manually signing. Sure, the majority of signatures are never examined, but you don’t want to risk a massive problem or a delay because the signature is dissimilar and has to be analyzed by a professional.

Then, there’s the issue of reducing paperwork and the number of physical copies that have to be distributed to each party. About 7.5% of all documents end up getting lost, which is already a massive reason why keeping it all digital is so effective. Not to mention that having everything in a digital form and digital signatures work so well together. 

When it comes to sheer efficiency, digital signatures take the cake every time. 

4. Better for your reputation

With digital signatures, every document you sign just seems more professional. That’s really all there is to it. You’re showcasing to everyone that you’re tech-savvy and up-to-date with software. This is amazing for your reputation, and it also helps your business set a better image, which will help with recruitment.

This is a serious problem since the construction industry is one of the oldest and fastest-aging ones. The field just doesn’t attract young people as it used to. By introducing more technology and gadgets into the field, this might be slightly rectified. You have to pick some of the latest tech trends in order to attract the younger audience.

Sure, digital signatures are a small step in this way, but a step in the right direction nevertheless. 

5. Superior collaboration with field teams

We’ve mentioned speed several times already. The reason why this is such a big issue, to begin with, is mostly because the HQ and field teams are usually quite far away. It’s seldom that it’s the signature from someone on the site (a foreman or an overseer) that’s been waited for.

The bigger the construction company, the more field teams it can sustain. This means that all this document travel takes even more time and causes an even greater obstacle. 

Also, with so many teams, it will be even harder to keep up with who signed what and when. Digital signatures leave a digital footprint, which means that backtracking, fact-checking, and analytics will be a lot easier to handle, and their results will be far more reliable. 

It also offers a much higher standardization of your processes. When every executive and manager has a standard signature that you can keep track of digitally, things tend to quickly spiral into something else entirely. It’s important that you introduce this standardization as soon as possible.

Wrap up

In the end, digital signatures are here; they’re convenient, and the encryption and blockchain technologies have made them safe to use even for the highest-profile projects. Still, the majority of the construction industry is either not using it or not using it as much as they’re supposed to. Only with higher adoption will the full scope of its advantages become apparent to everyone. 

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