Construction sector is one of the vast verticals in the world and has great value in the market. It has a great impact on our lives as we are completely surrounded by this industry. With the rapid advancement in technology, extensive transformations have got introduced in this sector. Technology plays an awesome role in the construction industry and overcomes so many perilous disasters from occurring. Many innovations such as IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), Automation, etc. are intensely reshaping the industry and helps in simplifying life-risky tasks.
Table of Content
- 1. Digital sign-in apps
- 2. Biggest trend is cloud system
- 3. Construction documents are valuable company resources
- 4. Real time energy monitoring (RTEM)
- 5. Building Information Modeling (BIM) used to create better collaboration using 3D modeling
- 6. Streamlining the construction communication process
- 7. Remote work will continue
- 8. Use of virtual reality
- 9. Real time data is on demand
- 10. Working smarter, not harder will be a key
- 11. Interesting to see how to deal with time saving tasks management
- 12. Futuristic Multi-trends on-demand
- 13. Conclusion
In this article, we will look at the array of technology trends in the construction industry and how they help to refigure the business.
Digital sign-in apps
"One trend in construction is the rise in digital sign-in apps on construction job sites. They replace the paper and pen based process and create a digital verifiable record of a worker, subcontractor or visitor's presence on a job site. They also allow for private health screenings and private contact tracing without compromising personal health information.
They emerged during the pandemic for COVID-19 health screenings. Construction companies see value in the apps beyond the pandemic. These benefits include:
Eliminates paper-based check in on job sites:
Tracking hours billed with invoices: loads of construction companies still pass around a clipboard and pen at the start of a shift. The paper process leads to mistakes in time tracking and knowing who is onsite due to illegible signatures. Construction companies using one app, Safe Site Check in, cite time savings of 2 hours per day on average.
Productivity: This is especially critical with subcontractors. If a union subcontractor is onsite, the construction company has to pay the union a certain fee per day. The digital sign in ensures the verification of hours worked so they can match up with union fees and invoices. If a construction company isn't up to date with union fee payments, they can lose access to union contractors. If there's any question about the employee's start or end time, digital check in that's done by the worker on their own smartphone is a better system than paper.
PlanningAttendance and sick records are important to HR and OSHA filings. They are more accurate with Safe Site Check In. These records can impact a company's ability to bid on future jobs.
Custom questionnaires and notifications: Looking at past check in data and employee productivity helps plan for future projects. The insight helps figure out how many employees are needed and when. You can also match sign in with the cost of employees and supplies for future project estimates.
Security and safety: : When employees sign in, they can be notified of jobsite changes or issues. For example, lumber delivery delayed, do XYZ project instead. Or the questionnaires can be changed to include confirmation of having received a vaccine. BTW – some vaccines are a two-step process. The Safe Site questionnaire could include what stage the worker is in.
- Kathy Keating from Fast Start PR
Biggest trend is cloud system
"1. Although construction is typically the last industry to digitize, the growing trend of construction companies moving to the cloud is up over 85% since 2012. With the growth potential on the horizon in cloud computing, why are construction companies moving to the cloud? Until the last few years, the options for digitizing construction companies complex workflows and challenging environments were not readily available. In the past few years, developers have created SaaS (Software as a Solution) solutions that automate everything from jobsite safety, to financial transformations.
2. What is cloud computing any ways and what does it mean for construction companies? Before the internet was insanely fast as it is today, processing had to happen locally and information was stored locally on a local server or workstation, or even better on paper with pens. Once broadband internet came into the picture, things drastically changed. With the internet being as fast as it is, these days, think of cloud computing as using a more powerful machine to do the processing of information, rather than local servers and workstations. Company's are able to accomplish more with less resources and as long as there is an internet connection, there is access to the Company's information. It's important for construction companies to migrate to the cloud, so they can connect to their remote jobsites, share information among all those that need it, and the most important piece, is to allow for advanced analytics. If everyone (including field personnel) is using the same software, imagine the analytics that come from tracking information like manhours, change orders, or jobsite incidents.
3. Where is the cloud anyway? The name says it; in the clouds. That means virtual servers, most likely hosted in remote and secure places unknown to commoners. With the right security credentials users would have access to the Company's own virtual server. There are many advantages to hosting servers in the cloud, and as mentioned before, it is easily accessible by those who have the security rights to the virtual servers. Just as with anything, there are some downfalls as well. For example, what if the internet goes down? Or worse yet, what if the virtual server provider's servers go down. Now to calm any fears, that does not happen very often, and there is probably more of a chance of a Company's own internal server going down before a virtual server built by a reputable provider going down.
4. When is it right for a construction company to switch to the cloud? In the current COVID Climate, it's now more important than it's ever been before, to make sure everyone who needs to access information to work effectively and efficiently, via the cloud. Construction is seeing a very large boom right now, from the COVID Climate, meaning all the walls that homeowners took down inside of their homes, over the past decade, to create the open floor plan concept, are being put back up because homeowners soon realized that they couldn't work at the kitchen table full time. Also, most office spaces are having to be retrofit to accommodate the pandemic we are in. The when is of course up to the individual companies, but looking at the current pandemic situation, now is the time to have all of your information accessible by those working remotely.
5. How are construction companies supposed to make the migration to the cloud? The biggest decision a company of any industry can make is moving to the cloud. There are many options for moving to the cloud, and that means there is a lot of discovery to be had to determine if it's one ERP system that can tackle all the needs, or is it an ERP system with many related partners to be the best fit for the construction company. No matter the choice, it has to be the best solution for the individual company.”
- Misty Palek from UHY LLP
Construction documents are valuable company resources
"When most people think of construction, they don't think of the accompanying documentation that makes it possible, but construction professionals always do – especially those who work on federal projects. Construction documents and Activity Hazard Analyses are black holes for valuable company resources, often burning through weeks of time and money as general contractors and enterprises alike scramble to submit lengthy documents accurately and on-time. Traditional solutions aren't much help; most companies that claim to address the problem of documentation offer no more than simple templates that require you to search and replace anything you need to change, sometimes through as many as 500 pages of documentation.”
- John Thurman, CEO at Gadzoom, Inc.
Real time energy monitoring (RTEM)
“An important technology trend in the construction industry is real time energy monitoring (RTEM). When a building uses energy monitoring hardware and software, they can detect and diagnose equipment performance issues, such as incorrect setpoints or equipment failures; improve building operations and maintenance; and reduce energy consumption and cost.
The data from the monitoring can be used to help with on-site and remote technical support, to fix equipment, and get commissioning to ensure all systems are running at their ultimate best.
Even better, when you use energy monitoring it reduces carbon emissions, saves money, improves occupant comfort, and helps limit equipment emergencies. A NYSERDA-funded study showed that buildings that use energy monitoring are 63% more likely to achieve energy savings and reduce their energy spend by an average of 5.2% annually.
Lastly, when we are in pandemics, if your building has energy monitoring, you can run things remotely. If a problem arises, you can address it without having contact with anyone or going in the building.”
Building Information Modeling (BIM) used to create better collaboration using 3D modeling
"Due to the many challenges created by the pandemic, we have worked with many of our clients to reimagine their businesses. We will often ask them, what lessons have you learned from this experience and what do you plan to do differently to protect yourselves in the future? Many of our clients have responded that they are investing in technology to remain competitive in the marketplace and increase efficiencies in all aspects of their business.
For example, upgrading project management, accounting, bidding, and estimating software has provided management with more reliable information to make informed business decisions. These integrated systems have allowed office personnel to work more efficiently and reduce wasted time, while also creating flexibility to work remotely.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) has enabled companies to use 3D modeling to create better collaboration between trades, while also allowing them to identify potential design issues early in the process.
Increased use of mobile technology in the field has created efficiencies by allowing information to be transmitted to office in real-time. Project managers have been able to significantly reduce both manual and duplicate administrative tasks, allowing them to spend more time focusing on managing the project itself.
The use of drones has enabled construction companies to quickly conduct job site inspections, monitor progress, and take aerial photos throughout the day, as well as easily identify potential hazards.
Some companies have started utilizing robotics to increase productivity, while others have begun to utilize virtual reality to help crews train and gain exposure to confined or hazardous spaces while protecting their safety.”
- Scott Derco, Construction Industry Practice Co-Leader at Citrin Cooperman
Streamlining the construction communication process
"Working with multiple remote teams, contractors and suppliers located at diverse locations can create a challenging project management scenario. One of the major components for success in scheduled construction projects is real-time communication and documentation between the management team and field personnel. Communication is the difference between having a job come in on time, on budget and safely, versus a job filled with cost and time overruns affecting profits and corporate reputation.
Material management and construction management software programs are trending as a way to provide field oversight and management – specifically for utilities transmission line and substation projects. A unique combination of services and software products can provide real-time project tracking with the ability to compare with project schedules. This software encompasses app-based mobile data collection in the field, an enterprise file share solution, and a dashboard solution, that reports current activities as well as performs historical analysis to provide actionable insight.
Streamlining the construction communication process (discussion, revision of engineering or manufacturers drawings) through the use of innovative field reporting tools and technology will be a trend that will continue to gain traction. We see this trend of streamlining construction progress – making reporting versatile and allow for quick interpretation at a high level, yet detailed enough to give construction management insight into any potential construction issues – one that is on a growth trajectory for 2021.”
- Hari Vasudevan, CEO of Think Power Solutions
Remote work will continue
"Remote work will continue being important for the construction industry even after COVID. That means technology that enables remote work will be invaluable. Things like drones will be able to survey the worksites and get a different POV of the project. Also, any other technology that helps control workflows will be necessary. Real-time information exchanges and updates on work progress will be highly valued, as opposed to antiquated methods such as spreadsheets.”
- Amanda Haynes, Communications Manager at Ganttic
"We're seeing quite an uptick in companies moving to an integrated platform as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and keep those in-office workers working remotely. A cloud-based platform provides users with a streamlined interface to easily accomplish all project management tasks on any device from anywhere-field, home, office. Plus, by incorporating owner-focused project control systems at the program level, the amount of productivity, cost savings, and ROI can improve dramatically and help the construction industry improve from decades of poor productivity and inadequate communication.”
- Laura Wards, Marketing Director at Projectmates
Use of virtual reality
“One dominating 2021 technology trend for the construction industry is the use of virtual reality to access, train, onboard and re-skill workers (especially those in HVAC, plumbing, electrical). Growth is being fueled by companies in the construction industry seeking safer, faster and more efficient training solutions for their skilled workers (this trend took off because of the pandemic and is here to stay for 2021).
Digital Experiential Learning platforms, specifically designed for workers in the construction industry, offer several innovations which are novel for this market. By incorporating virtual reality and 3D simulations, they offer lifelike, hands-on learning with immersive skills training that also uses gamification to create a highly engaging environment for the user. This cutting-edge training enables workers to be job-ready in weeks, versus months. It also allows veteran workers to refresh the skills they may not encounter regularly in the field. Its continuous learning format is always available anytime and anywhere, as a digital mentor, with VR simulation greatly improving learning retention when compared to traditional classroom instruction.”
- Doug Donovan, CEO of Interplay Learning
Real time data is on demand
"We Need Data, and We Need It Now! Contractors across the globe are calling for more real-time, on-demand data.
For years, contractors have used online tools or field specific technologies. However, in more recent years we have noticed a significant increase in the amount of contractors looking to use technology solutions in the field that relay information to decision-makers at the office. Site data has always been a critical component for forecasting costs, timelines, incidents, and help predict project results. The difference between construction in recent years, and today (moving into 2021) is that there is a variety of high-tech solutions that will gather data on-the-job and distribute that data to the necessary stakeholders in real time.
I predict that 2020 will leave behind lagging metrics, reports, and information that tells a delayed message. In 2021, contractors will demand real-time data from technology systems and solutions; allowing executives or leaders of a project to access detailed information instantly. The closer a contractor can be to their data and site metrics, the better chance they have to run a safe, more efficient project.”
- Zach Yuzdepski, Director of Marketing myComply
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Working smarter, not harder will be a key
"Working smarter, not harder, will be a key theme for businesses in 2021. With many organizations struggling to stay in business and learning how to achieve more, with fewer resources, the need for increased connectivity and visibility into their mobile assets has never been greater. For construction, this means needing visibility into the hundreds and often thousands of assets and teams have across the world at any given minute. Ensuring every asset is working as efficiently and productively as possible can be the difference between thriving in business amid difficult times and being the latest victim of the global pandemic and broader socio-economic challenges.”
- Jeff Clark, Sr. Vice President of Product Management from CalAmp
Interesting to see how to deal with time saving tasks management
"Contractors are getting wise to connecting technology: We talk to 5-10 contractors a week, and network with construction CRM (JobNimbus, CoConstruct, and BuilderTrend) and we've seen more contractors understanding how they can connect different technologies to each other (through Zapier and other connection tools) to save a ton of time and headaches. A few short years ago – I didn't see this level of sophistication in construction sales and project management, so I'm excited to see this grow in 2021 so contractors can do more with the time savings, and not have people sitting around do menial and repetitive sales and project management tasks and focus on higher value sales and PM tasks.”
- Tim Brown, CEO and Lead Strategist at Hook Agency
Futuristic Multi-trends on-demand
"There are 2 trends that most companies are attempting to solve or have rolled out:
1. Many companies like Leap Digital, Sumoquote, and One Click Contractor are responding to the overwhelming demand for a sales estimating and contracting tool. While CRM's like Jobnimbus and Acculynx are industry standards which have some basic sales / estimating features, they can be a bit lackluster in some departments like: offering financing options to the customer, accepting digital signatures, quickly displaying good-better-best options, etc. Many of the CRM's are offering integrations with the leading sales softwares and are able to push & pull a lot of key data making the overall user experience very enticing. Companies like Sumoquote are able to integrate a cover sheet, company story, photos with notes, youtube testimonials, multitrade proposals, alacarte upgrades, color samples, warranty information, terms and conditions etc all in one document. This is very appealing to the customer and also drives home the message that the contractor is a professional. What contractor would not want that?
2. For years, contractors have been begging for estimating tools that will auto-populate information from Eagleview and Hover. Historically, contractors had to be the jack of all trades. They would arrive, scope the issues at a home, then hand measure those products that needed fixed or replaced. From there, they had to make a list of materials & labor predicted to solve the problems, put markup on the cost & then create a proposal. This was a painstaking process and someone needed to have a myriad of skills to be good at this. When Eagleview and Hover were introduced, they changed the game because contractors now have been provided the measurement reports of roofing, siding, windows, gutters which are summarized with all those measurements. This easily cut out hours of hand measuring, summarizing, and then minimized mistakes. Once the report was received, contractors still had to convert those measurements to material and labor lists, they just no longer had to hand measure and do the math summaries. They still had to add waste, do conversions based on how many square feet or linear feet was in a unit... basically they still needed to be a math whiz. Knowing all of this, contractors have been begging for a software company to take the information from Eagleview or Hover, then do all those conversions for them to quickly create a proposal based on the measurement reports. Well there are a few companies that have been in Beta Testing, and/or have rolled out solutions. I can confidently say that contractors should look into the following software offerings to help with this: Hover, Sumoquote, Leap, Xactimate, & One Click Contractor. They all have an existing solution or one rolling out soon. They take the data from measurement companies, map the information into a template that is customized by the contactor and spit out proposals. This is pretty amazing and will absolutely help contractors scale their business IF they are willing to invest some time and money. If they do, their organization will be paid back in dividends.”
- Daniel Young, CEO & Founder of Kingdom Roofing Systems
"Throughout the pandemic architects, designers and engineers have found new ways to collaborate remotely with their teams over the course of 2020” said Chris Ruffo, Global Lead for architecture and engineering, Lenovo Workstations. “With an estimated 8,000 current building projects delayed in the US and Canada, we expect many in the industry to ramp up efforts to adopt a hybrid approach to key workflows on a more permanent basis in 2021. With this shift, IT departments in AEC and manufacturing will be looking at ways to enhance the mobility of their staff through innovations in mobile workstation technology, professional remote access, and virtual and mixed reality for collaboration and design review, just to name a few."
-Chris Ruffo, Global Lead for Architecture and Engineering in Lenovo’s Workstations Group
"As an interior and infrastructure designer with real-life experience in the construction of houses (from foundation to its fit and finish), here are my insights regarding the 2021 technology trends for the construction industry.
1. WORKERS PROTECTION
To ensure the safety of the workers as per the regulations, employers are encouraging the workers to wear wearable tech for increased efficiency and workplace safety. Site workers also have the option to get boots and jackets with dedicated active sensors for increased protection. The devices also allow the supervisors to monitor the locations of the members alongside sending alerts when a worker gets in an accident.
2. SELF-HEALING CONCRETE
According to experts from the construction industry, the usage of self-regenerating concrete in buildings, parks, homes, bridges, and roads is near. Concrete is the single most used and produced material in the construction industry and many producers believe that the percentage of concrete usage will exceed expectations by the year 2030. The reason is the rapid increase in urbanization in many developing countries.
3. 3D PRINTED MATERIALS
3D printing is going to change the face of the construction industry in both good and bad ways in terms of the employment of workers. 3D printers are designed to lay concrete in a vertical order and as per pre-programmed design. On a smaller scale, such printers are used to assemble and develop various components essential for operating larger machinery. Moreover, they are also aimed to reduce costs and for designers in the industry to make innovative use of it.”
- Atta Ur Rehman, Content Marketer at DSRPT
Technology has been incredible in the Construction industry and seamlessly helps in simplifying perilous and risky construction tasks. It provides great assistance in building mind-blowing structures with reduced wait times. Here in this blog, we have discussed the major technology trends and their positive impacts on the Construction industry. It would help you to understand how each trend aids in detecting the clashes, and concerns.