Overcoming technology problems in the construction industry
The technological revolution has taken the world by storm, with all major industries investing in advanced technology solutions to help foster growth, productivity, and efficiency. The construction industry is also not peculiar to this. However, it remains one of the least digitized industries in the world. A range of challenges in the construction industry hinder the adoption of technology. Understanding these challenges lies at the foundation of digital transformation of the industry. In this article, we will focus on the technology problems in the construction industry and the methods through which construction professionals can overcome them.
Understanding resistance to technology in the construction industry
Construction management technology can help AEC companies save time and money. However, solutions applied in the AEC industry are often inefficient and thus counterproductive. There is also a lack of acceptance in the AEC industry concerning automation, and employees often feel dissatisfied and threatened when new technology is introduced. While many stakeholders might want to believe that the challenges in the construction industry are black and white, it is not as simple as that! Technology problems in the construction industry are an amalgamation of multiple factors. For example, resistance to construction technology is one factor that has slowed the adoption of technology solutions such as construction management software. Let’s explore why this resistance is prevalent in the AEC field and how companies can overcome it.
While many business owners want technological revamp, the construction company is run by the managerial team and the staff on the ground. It is important that these people, who are managing all your pipelines, are onboard with the new changes. Most people in the construction industry develop resistance to technology and are more comfortable with paper-based processes. Furthermore, there is a known fear of change in all business industries regarding any shift from the pre-existing norms. This makes the introduction of construction management solutions or automated business processes difficult. There are three major reasons why construction professionals resist technology:
- They do not understand the benefits of new technology
- Learning new technology is overwhelming for them
- They do not feel the need to upgrade their processes
So how can a project owner or manager get his team to comply? The solution to this construction industry challenge does not lie in technology. It lies in the leadership style of the management. Change management is a known systematic approach when a company is transitioning or transforming its organizational objectives. It helps companies implement strategies for effective and smooth change by assisting people to adapt to the new policies, software, or roles the company has planned. This management style helps organizations to:
- Educate resources on the benefits of the new technology being introduced in the organization
- Provide on-the-job training sessions on how to use the new technology
- Emphasize on the need to stay cutting-edge in the highly competitive global market
The new world – construction challenges of 2022
Green trends and construction
In recent years, green and disaster-proof technology has been introduced in the construction industry to help reduce the overall carbon footprint. More and more companies are now adopting green initiatives in their business models. Since climate change and sustainability are growing concerns, these initiatives are likely to become more prevalent in the coming years. Project owners and general contractors need to study the latest green technology to incorporate them into their business offering. This is a huge learning curve and will require construction professionals to seek out new vendors, familiarize with new materials, and study location geography to understand what kind of buildings to build (earthquake-prone cities usually use seismic base isolation methods which require different building materials), develop new supply chains, etc. With all these new factors, it becomes difficult for construction professionals to make accurate and competitive bids, and as a result, they lose projects.
Incorporating technology can help construction industries resolve this problem as well – construction management solutions such as BUILDFitters have advanced bidding capabilities for sales, preconstruction, and construction phases. For example, the BUILDFitters sales module allows users to increase their hit ratio as the system takes over the mundane, error-prone administrative work. Automated bid tracking, easy access to RFPs, accurate bid data and analysis, and interactive and user-friendly dashboards save the construction teams time, money, and effort, which they can then utilize towards learning the new green trends in the construction industry. Concerning vendors, the BUILDFitters Vendor qualification application can help subcontractors streamline the process of finding trustworthy vendors who have the right material for their projects.
Connected devices for collaboration
Today’s construction folks are not tech-savvy. Construction technology is intimidating for them. However, modern-day construction management solutions utilize many AI, BI, and IoT features. Augmented reality solutions have helped construction professionals mitigate site risks, promote site safety, and provide training for workers by simulating scenarios. Cameras and drone technology have also helped companies with virtual inspections. Wearable technology and virtual reality are also making their way into the construction industry. Wearable equipment uses sensors to collect construct site data and then transmits the information to the stakeholders. Wearable equipment includes watches, vests, helmets, glasses, and even shoes! Such technology has helped the industry mitigate risks and increase the overall visibility of the project site.
IoT has also enabled construction companies to overcome certain supply and material challenges. For example, the emerging trend of utilizing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags facilitates construction professionals to automatically track the availability of tools and materials on construction sites.
Equipment control for construction
Many construction professionals complain about the difficulties they face concerning the monitoring status and location of their project equipment. Unfortunately, many of these complaints come from construction companies that still use spreadsheets and paper records to track their equipment. Not only is manual tracking and record keeping time-consuming, but it is also unnecessarily complex. It results in many errors and, thus, inevitably, results in data loss, miscommunication, and overbooking of equipment. A simple solution to overcome such issues is digitization. Automating equipment control through RFIDs, data analysis, and predictive maintenance are a few ways of enforcing equipment control. GPS tracking and monitoring for equipment allows construction professionals to track location and equipment health in real time. Predictive maintenance is a cost-saving feature as it helps eliminate downtime, making the construction site more secure and efficient. By extension, all these enhancements help keep the construction project under budget and on schedule.
3-D imaging in the AEC field
The demand for 3D scanning and imaging has grown exponentially over the last decade, and the construction industry is observing steady adoption. Construction professionals need solutions that help perform 3-D scanning and imaging of their sites.
BUILDFitters also incorporates 3-D imaging within its set of features. It allows construction stakeholders to visualize the project building to integrate design changes within time. It also helps give project owners a preemptive view of the finished building.
3-D scanners are also an emerging technology that has significant implications in the AEC field. These scanners are programmed to provide deep insights by capturing measurements of specified areas. The scanners can capture data at a 360-degree radius to analyze the construction site. Site verification eliminates chances of human error, thus allowing for utmost efficiency in the construction project.
Digital transformation opens many new opportunities for the construction industry that can be utilized to overcome the many prevailing challenges in the construction industry. Not only does technology help construction stakeholders gain a competitive edge, but it also allows them to minimize the company’s carbon footprint overall. Sooner or later, the construction industry will reach a point where technology adoption will become necessary, and companies that fail to jump on this trend will suffer. The construction industry must start investing in technology and take measures to remove the roadblocks towards technology adoption. This article investigated the technology problems prevalent in the construction industry and how these challenges could be addressed.
If you are struggling with any of these challenges, and want to overcome them, reach out to us using the comment box below. Our industry experts will get back to you!