Engineering News-Record (ENR) has a long history of being one of the top construction news outlets, providing analysis, commentary, and data to help construction professionals do their jobs more effectively. Their list of the top 400 contractors is one of the industry’s key barometers of success. That’s why we’re always so excited to attend ENR FutureTech. This year didn’t disappoint.
It was a pleasure meeting some of the top construction professionals in the industry and attending with the rest of Autodesk Construction Solutions. Here are some of the top takeaways from construction’s leading technology forum.
1. Construction professionals want ease of use and training, not ROI
There was a common theme during the conference when it came to adopting new technology: construction professionals don’t care about ROI. During the first keynote of the conference — “Controlled Chaos: Putting a Framework Around Disruption” — Kaushal Diwan, National Director of Innovation at DPR Construction, explained that rather than just looking at financial returns on technology investments, the metrics companies should track are things like employee engagement, the health of internal technology advocate groups, and the number of technologies that are widely adopted. It starts with creating a culture that helps employees feel empowered to innovate and try new technologies.
Steve Jones, Senior Director at Dodge Data & Analytics, drove this point home during his keynote about his company’s economic forecast and recent studies on technology adoption in the industry. The report found that when construction companies evaluate technology, they ranked ROI last. They care more about ease of use, initial costs, and training and support.
2. It’s time to create data-driven tools for sustainability
Buildings can’t just be big, beautiful, and functional anymore — they also need to be sustainable. This isn’t just a U.S. problem, it’s a global one. There are seven general contractors that are paving the way for sustainable building, and one of those is Skanska. At ENR FutureTech, Skanska’s Stacey Smedley, Microsoft’s Katie Ross, and Autodesk’s Tony Saracino had a great panel discussion on sustainability and the Embedded Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3). Developed by Skanska in collaboration with Microsoft and support from Autodesk, EC3 tracks the carbon footprint and operational emissions of a building and is changing the way owners and contractors think about the environmental impact of construction. With open source tools like EC3 and the right data, contractors can reduce CO2 emissions at no cost.
3. Construction's digital transformation
Over the past decade, investment in the construction space has doubled. According to T.G. Jayanth at McKinsey & Company, every industry reaches a tipping point where digital capabilities become a matter of survival. Construction has reached that point. Technology investment in the industry has doubled over the past decade. Integrations between construction technologies are happening, but there are now advanced incumbents and established “startups” that are constituting the new normal. He also highlighted practices that are common denominators of success in engineering and construction’s digital transformations, from the project to the enterprise.
Thank you ENR FutureTech!
We’d like to give one last thank you to ENR for putting on another successful event, and thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth. It was a pleasure getting to learn about what’s coming next for the future of the construction industry.
If you weren’t able to attend ENR FutureTech and would like to schedule a demo, get in touch!