For the past two decades, construction has been the most collaborative, yet most fragmented industry in the world. Over that time, construction productivity has only grown 1% a year on average. In 2018 alone, more than 1,231 billion was spent on construction in the U.S. That’s a large number, but the problem is that projects typically take 20% longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80% over budget, according to a McKinsey & Company report.
To change this, industry leaders are making the case for construction technology. But the importance of technology adoption goes beyond just productivity and efficiency. We asked general contractors about why it’s important for the construction industry to invest in technology
Make projects safer and more efficient
“The construction industry has been historically slow to adopt technology. Men and women still construct buildings with their hands, so no matter how much technology or machinery we have, adoption is going to be slow. It’s a profession of human beings. UAG is passionate about finding and utilizing technology that enables people to work more efficiently and more safely on projects. That has holistically been a good approach for us, and the more technology we can find that is useful to our business, we absolutely want to apply it to our projects.”
— Andrew D’Amico, President at UAG
Use technology to gain a competitive advantage
“It’s important to Implement technology to keep up with the fast pace of the construction industry. Humans can only do so much. We only have so much brainpower. There comes a point where you’re hindered by that human element. You have to bring in technology innovations and systems to mass release information. We have to be able to communicate very quickly, and the best way to do that is with new, innovative software. We use technology in the field every day to help fast track issues back to our management teams in our offices so they can quickly get that out into the field. But we use technology to communicate with our clients, not by taking notes in the field, but by going back to our desks and sending an email. Having technology that enables us to communicate in real-time is what gives us that competitive edge.”
— George Rodriguez, Cost Manager at UAG
Change with the rest of the industry
“Yes, the industry has been underserved by technology — I’ve heard horror stories from people who’ve been doing this for 30-plus years. But that’s changing, and it’s changing rapidly. These days, you see more people on the field with iPads than notepads.
“The last of the technological front is the estimating department because it used to just be a pen and paper. We would mark up our drawings and get estimating done that way. Now takeoffs are done on a dedicated computer with touch screens to do estimating directly on a 40-inch screen. So while it took a long time to get the ball rolling, it’s companies like BuildingConnected that are showing people it’s time to evolve.”
— Stephen Fontana, Estimating at Holt Construction