Construction businesses are under immense pressure. With more projects in the pipeline, construction and field service businesses are struggling to complete their jobs within the deadline and budget, with data showing that 20% of projects go past the deadline and 80% blow their budgets.
The remedy to this problem is technology. Construction business owners embracing technology to manage projects and their crews are experiencing better productivity. Some of the technologies transforming the construction industry include artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), drones, site sensors, and field service management software.
Here’s what you need to know about technology in the construction industry and how your business can be at the forefront of adoption.
Table of Contents
What is Construction Technology?
According to the Construction Industry Institute, construction technology is a collection of machinery, innovative tools, software, and modifications used in a project’s construction that enables advanced field construction methods.
New construction technologies are being developed at record speeds. Modern construction businesses use advanced technologies such as telematics, connected tools and equipment, autonomous heavy equipment, mobile apps and field service management software, robots, drones, 3D printing, and augmented and virtual reality.
Data shows that venture capital firms invested $1.05 billion in construction tech (Contech) startups in the first half of 2018. That figure marked a 30% increase from 2017 figures. The same data shows that since 2009, investment in Contech has surpassed $4.34 billion.
The Impact of Technology on the Construction Industry
Construction businesses are relatively unresponsive to new technology. However, there are various reasons why your company and crew should adopt new technologies. Here’re the most compelling ones.
Technology Makes Collaboration Easier
Using technology makes it easier for your crew, contractors, and clients to collaborate and communicate. Your crew can collect information quickly on the job site and share it with the team at the office while asking the client important questions and getting their input in real time.
Online and mobile apps make collaboration much easier, with useful tools for document sharing, reporting, auto-archiving, construction management, and data collection.
Technology Simplifies and Automates Information Capturing
You can use technology to capture crucial information for your construction business, such as your crew’s working hours, schedule, and customer information. Therefore, your business no longer needs paperwork, which reduces errors and improves process efficiency.
Technology Improves Decision Making
Technology makes it easier to visualize data in your construction business, such as inventory trends and levels, allowing for more informed decision-making. Having accurate data also allows your business to assess how various changes will affect facets of the business, such as operating costs and labor.
Technology Makes Job Sites Safer
Using technology such as drones, your crew can observe a job site remotely and assess the risks of working there. Therefore, they can report hazards sooner and handle potential dangers appropriately, such as wearing helmets, fire suits, and other appropriate gear.
Some Top Technology Trends in the Construction Industry
These are some of the top technology being adopted in the construction industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Construction firms are increasingly using data to make informed business decisions, improve job site safety, increase productivity, and reduce risks. With AI and machine learning systems that can predict future outcomes based on data, general contractors and construction businesses are using their business data more powerfully.
They can predict seasonal inventory levels, sales, and outcomes of bids and estimates. Businesses using this technology have a massive competitive advantage.
AI and machine learning also help improve your crew’s productivity by reducing the time wasted performing repetitive and complicated work.
Drones and Site Sensors
Drones are used in job sites to assess potential hazards and perform fast routine inspections. Some construction businesses also use drones to monitor the crew and ensure their safety as they complete a work order.
Other businesses are using drones to take photos of the work in progress and share them with clients in real time, ensuring they’re up to speed with the project as it progresses.
GPS tracking is essential for construction businesses managing a large fleet of trucks and equipment. GPS hardware in work trucks and vehicles makes it easier for your office team and crew to track the vehicle’s location and how long equipment delivery or arrival at a job site will take.
GPS tracking also helps manage fleet costs by allowing the crew to use faster routes to a job site, saving time and fuel in traffic.
Software and Mobile Solutions
Software and mobile solutions are among the most effective ways for general contractors to manage projects and their construction business. Mobile and software solutions allow for real-time data collection and transmission between the crew in the field and the in-office team, saving hours of data entry.
Cloud-based solutions make it easier for your crew to submit expense reports and timecards, request information, verify documentation, and submit work records. These solutions, such as construction estimating software, also help with invoicing, bids and estimates, and scheduling.
Advanced analytics makes analyzing timelines, costs, and other parts of your business and projects easier. Therefore, you improve your business’s productivity and efficiency by providing insight into areas you can change.
For instance, analytics on your crew’s skills can provide intelligent insights into who is the best fit for a particular work order. Therefore, the crew becomes more efficient, resulting in better service delivery and excellent customer satisfaction.
How Your Construction Business Can Effectively Adopt New Technologies
More construction companies are realizing the power rapid technological adoption has on their customer experience and service delivery. Therefore, they’re trying to speed up adoption.
Your organization can quickly adopt new technology by being keen on research and testing and allowing employees to embrace the latest solutions.
Research and testing allow you to asses a solution’s pros and cons and see it in action in your business. You should seek technology that solves your business’s most pertinent issues, such as scheduling, invoicing, or inventory management.
Once you’ve decided to adopt a new technology, ensure all your staff embraces it and are well-trained to use it. This will ensure that they can extract the most value from the solution.
Invest in the Right Technology for Your Field Service Business
Technology will change how construction businesses run projects and other internal operations. Most solutions promise excellent gains in productivity and efficiency. Talk to a technology partner today and learn what technology your business needs based on its challenges.
Garrett Wilson is the President and Co-Founder of FieldBin. FieldBin is a field service management software designed for trade business owners. The software allows professionals in the fields of Plumbing, HVAC, Electricians, Roofing, and Commercial Cleaning to solve their back-office nightmares quickly. Garrett has expertise in Marketing and Project Management, with experience in multiple industries, including cyber security, healthcare, and manufacturing. If you are looking for electrical contracting software Garrett and FieldBin have the expertise to help your business succeed.