The complicated relationship between construction companies and technology
With the world becoming progressively more digitalized, it is now critically important that construction and AEC companies join that race too. The construction sector must recognize and understand the significance of implementing versatile construction technologies for business impact.
The construction industry is evolving every year, which implies that companies need innovative technology-based solutions that will assist them in adapting to the continually changing needs of their customers and to face up to the challenges of the new age. The business is competitive, economic conditions are inconsistent, cash flow is always tight, and profitability is constrained.
But even as the construction industry is considering embracing technology it is not exempt from the difficulties of adopting these new advanced digital technologies. To choose and adopt an advanced technology suitable for such traditional organizations is usually a long and rocky road. There’s a tricky balance to be maintained here. This post is about that balance.
As the complexity of construction projects increases, companies that are enhancing and incorporating these new technological advancements and digital tools into their organizations are setting themselves up for success in the future. Those that refuse to innovate and adapt and continue to work the same way; they are likely to struggle to keep pace.
Building Information Modelling and project management software, and the growing capabilities of mobile devices can help construction companies with scheduling, planning, and estimation. The coming together of these solutions can enhance communication and collaboration between teams. This can help construction companies deliver better quality projects, in a shorter time, and with optimized effort outlays. Better estimation can help reduce waste. Better communication and collaboration can reduce clashes and rework. All of this can lead to better effectiveness, greater efficiency, and higher profitability.
Drones and wearable can be used to monitor workers and ongoing work and keep people safe on construction sites. VR can be used to train workers in safe conditions. Robots and other equipment will allow workers to be more productive by easing some of the strenuous tasks. These technologies can help construction become safer, improve compliance with rules and regulations, and also be more green and sustainable.
The advantages of implementing innovative construction technology include:
· Avoid costly errors
· Increase in revenue
· Improve customer satisfaction
· Decrease liability issues
· Increase safety & security
· Stay up-to-date
· Flexible documentation
· Increase worker accountability
· Better communication
Clearly, companies that are embracing new tech stand to gain significant advantages.
Regardless of all the clichés about the reality of change, the truth is that it can be hard for people to acknowledge impactful alterations to the way they do things. This is especially true in the association we have with technology-based products because the change can be very fundamental. The result is that construction businesses continue to under-invest in innovations, even though there are significant benefits the technology can provide to their construction projects. The challenges are many.
The ability to diminish old or redundant frameworks and focus on high-value systems that will guarantee productivity and reduce cost is essential in the construction industry. But making this switch from legacy systems is hard and disruptive.
As more innovations penetrate the enterprise, organizations must have adequate IT specialists on their teams and access to a large digitally savvy workforce. The existing staff may need to gain an in-depth understanding of the technology. But is it easy for these companies to train their existing people? And is it even feasible for them to hire technology resources, engage, motivate, challenge, and retain them in the face of competition from technology-specific companies from centers like Silicon Valley? In fact, access to tech-savvy resources may be the single biggest barrier to the adoption of technology for small and mid-sized construction companies.
These companies need to invest time and resources, executive support, offer robust training, and create autonomy and adaptability to track and measure key metrics. Many of these areas call for a cultural change, revamped organizational workflows, and changes to the operational and performance metrics the organization has become used to. Such changes are excruciatingly hard to implement.
Despite the challenges, we are rapidly reaching the point where tech-driven innovation will become a critical component of all construction projects. At that point, the organizations that are early adopters and are implementing the changes into their workflows will have a noticeable advantage over those that don’t.
Picking, validating, and adopting technology is all about planning and executing correctly. The solution may be to start with planning and then move to implement innovative technology in stages. Defining priorities, achieving small wins, and driving incremental change that everyone can see, sense, and be a part of could help the new ways take root. Talent constraints can be addressed by finding a technology partner with the available bandwidth to help you kick off your own technology initiative. This kind of partnership will help your organization get started with the benefit of hand-holding from an expert who would have “been there, done that.”
The construction industry is on the cusp of a digital transformation that could lead to the downfall of companies that refuse to adapt to the advancements. Technology from drones to robots to Building Information Modelling (BIM) and big data is rapidly changing how the construction and development industry will design and build structures. It’s up to these companies to sort out their complicated relationship with technology to live long and prosper.