This year is poised to be significant for the construction industry and the technology that empowers its workforce.
Data capture and measurement hold much promise this year thanks to $550 billion in funding allocated to infrastructure projects as part of President Biden’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bill also includes $100 million to construction technology over the next five years.
Data enhances our understanding of a project’s success. Construction crews’ job site knowledge is rich with insights, and technology can convert these insights into process benchmarks to improve overall performance, validate workers’ skills and plan future projects.
Savings on even one task — such as rebar installation — allow superintendents to extrapolate those efficiencies into expedited project timelines, leading to less overtime and a healthier work-life balance, as well as improved efficiency and safety.
Despite recent strides in construction technology, general contractors are still hesitant to implement new technology, with some struggling to secure organizationwide buy-in for new tools. According to JB Knowledge’s 2021 Annual Construction Technology Report (registration required), 35.9% of employees are hesitant to try new technology.
General contractors want to see proven, vetted technologies backed by peers in their industry, reflecting not just how one person’s job is improved, but the entire crew’s.
Timing is paramount for capturing the full value of data. The sooner teams deploy technology, the sooner they can begin benchmarking.
Here are a few tips general contractors should follow to accelerate the adoption of new tech in this space.
Avoid week-long training sessions
After introducing a solution, the last thing general contractors need is a lengthy training session, especially one that keeps them from their work. Such long training sessions shouldn’t be necessary for solutions built to scale immediately. In fact, the quicker they’re implemented, the sooner the solution can be optimized into project plans.
Data and analytics solutions can begin evaluating and validating job site information immediately without a long training process. Data captured on the worksite (particularly by experienced crew members) serves as guidance to upskill other crew members — which can be critical, given that 41% of the current construction workforce is expected to retire by 2031, according to a recent McKinsey report.
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