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Construction Administration

Understanding Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems

July 19, 2023

Exploring the what and why behind these efficiency-boosting platforms

On June 27, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that $34 million in funding would be made available for organizations that want to implement Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems. The goal of this funding package is to accelerate the adoption of technology that takes advantage of our digitally connected world. FHWA has even put out a national strategic roadmap aimed at guiding organizations through the adoption of these systems and other systems that support Building Information Modeling (BIM) and asset lifecycle management.

But what defines an Advanced Digital Construction Management System, and why should organizations be interested in implementing them? As developers of civil construction management systems, we’re particularly well-prepared to answer that question. Let’s dive into how these helpful platforms can transform, streamline, and automate your construction management process.

What is an Advanced Digital Construction Management System?

Let’s start with the FHWA definition, and then we’ll break it down from there. According to FHWA, Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems are “digital technologies and processes for management of construction and engineering activities, including systems for infrastructure planning and coordination, design, construction, maintenance, modernization and management, and asset management including hardware, mobile devices, software, ‘internet of things’ (IOT), and personnel.”

That’s a lengthy definition, so we’ll try and simplify it into four core elements. This definition is from the book of Infotech, so don’t try and use it on any standardized test - but hopefully it paints a clear picture of Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems. An ADCMS should:

  • Digitally automate a previously manual and time-consuming process

  • Capture construction project data once and use it many times in a digital, accessible, and translatable format

  • Integrate with other digital systems to keep data flowing throughout a project lifecycle

  • Provide a collaborative environment for all project stakeholders

Any system that just supports that final bullet and assists the transfer of data between systems - defined as interoperability - is also considered viable for grant funding by FHWA.

Why use an Advanced Digital Construction Management System?

Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems offer a variety of advantages that we touched on briefly in our simplified definition. We’ll explore those benefits further in this section.


One key characteristic of Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems is the ability to automate manual, time-consuming tasks. Those tasks can include, but are not limited to things like duplicate data entry, traveling back and forth between the office and the job site, and searching through files to find a specific report. An ADCMS platform can eliminate these in one fell swoop through digital connectivity.

For example, an inspector can use an inspection app to capture daily report information in a digital format, then seamlessly sync that data back to the office through a hotspot connection. Now, that data is available in a digital database that can be searched by keyword or date, instead of a large filing cabinet.

Record-Keeping and Reporting

LPAs and engineering firms are often required to keep comprehensive records on construction projects, sometimes for years after a project is completed. What’s more, with additional grant funding from federal initiatives like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or the discretionary grants discussed in this article, the need for a watertight reporting process is greater than ever.

In the past, when project information was captured in an orange fieldbook and daily reports were filled out and stored on paper (or even Excel!), the record-keeping and reporting process could be a nightmare. Files could go missing, inspector quantities would be off, and in the event of an audit, compiling the necessary reports could take days, if not weeks.

With an Advanced Digital Construction Management System like our own Appia platform, reports are templated, data is stored electronically and easily searchable, and all information is stored securely for years in a cloud database.

Interoperability and BIM Foundation

Finally, an ADCMS promotes interoperability to help organizations lay the foundation for Building Information Modeling (BIM) and associated asset management technologies. The underlying constant to all BIM technologies is data - specifically, easily accessible and transferable data. That latter aspect - the transfer of data - is a challenge to many organizations, even those who are capturing project data electronically. Despite having the data in a digital format, they may have disparate systems that don’t speak to each other so that data can flow through multiple phases of the asset lifecycle.

Thanks to an increasing focus on integrations and open data standards, many Advanced Digital Construction Management systems now seamlessly integrate with other digital tools. For example, our own Appia platform mainly assists teams during the preconstruction and construction phases of a project. But by integrating with Esri’s ArcGIS platform, Appia data can be leveraged for full lifecycle management.

Federal Funding Opportunities for Advanced Digital Construction Management Systems

FHWA offers a competitive, discretionary grant program to organizations seeking to implement an ADCMS, with $34 million in available funding. Eligible activities include anything that promotes, implements, deploys, demonstrates, showcases, supports, and documents the application of ADCMS practices, performance, and benefits.

Due to our 45 year industry experience and role as an industry technology provider, we’re uniquely positioned to provide insight and help organizations with the grant-writing process. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your organization, please contact Chad Schafer at

Advanced Digital Construction Management System Use Case Examples

These case studies cover examples of the efficiencies gained by using an ADCMS - feel free to use them to help justify a grant application to decision-makers and executives.

With Read-Only Access, the City of Terre Haute Keeps Information Flowing Freely

This municipality leverages an ADCMS to make project information more accessible to project stakeholders.

Read the full story.

C&S Companies® Partners with Infotech® to Standardize Cloud-Based Construction

Remember those cost and travel savings we mentioned? This engineering firm saved ~$100,000 in travel expenses when they implemented a platform that vastly reduced the need to travel for their inspectors.

Read the full story.

Texas CEI Firm Streamlines Fund-Tracking and DOT Reporting through Appia®

After a few painful audits, this CEI firm was determined to find a solution that would simplify the audit process and that was robust enough to be able to provide the necessary documentation to meet federal requirements

Read the full story.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your organization, please contact Chad Schafer at


Nate Binder
Digital Marketing Manager
A proud graduate of Florida State University, Nate works with subject matter experts and sales professionals to produce targeted marketing collateral.