Recent changes in technology have significantly altered how contractors do business.
- Specialized software is changing the way estimators produce bids.
- Building Information Software (BIM) is allowing teams to integrate design with costing.
- Drones record spatial location, distances, temperature, ambient and material humidity, as well as capture digital photos.
These solutions are only three examples of how technology is helping contractors grow while improving margins in some cases. Unfortunately, infusing digital technology into the job site is not top of mind for many construction businesses. Below are the top reasons why technology should be first on your list of improvements.
Access your software and files from any internet device.
Cloud computing solutions typically offer better security and reliability at a lower cost than housing your data within the office. Moreover, as cloud solutions continue to develop, utilization of off-site data centers will become commonplace; and the ability to access your files outside of the office will give your business more flexibility in the ways it conducts its day-to-day business. According to The 2018 JBKnowledge ConTech Report, nearly 93% of contractors are using smartphones on the job site, and about 65% are using tablets. Remote access allows contractors to be green, accessible, and have ready access to drawings, daily reports, quality control inspections, safety audits, and email.
Easily engage in advanced estimating and analysis.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) software gives its users the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. Architecture, engineering, and construction professionals can now collaborate on projects – in real time – to provide the most profitable and accurate estimates. The system doesn’t stop there – BIM software also enables contractors to organize their work schedules and place purchase orders for materials. Improving productivity is the answer to decreasing margins and hot competition. By implementing technology like BIM software, contractors can maintain their advantage.
Leverage toys to improve operations.
Drones, headsets, and laser scanning devices are the cutting edge on job sites. Digital transformation is one thing; these “toys” are another.
- The same survey that noted more than 50% of all contractors are using mobile devices, also said about 57% of general contractor respondents use drones to compile pictures that will eventually become a 3D site model.
- Mixed reality technology, like the Microsoft HoloLens, is helping the industry verify designs and improve quality assurance and control. Using this immersive technology, contractors can interact with the real environment overlaid with holographic data from a 3D model. New advancements include hardhats that feature VR technology and a product that combines hardware and software to educate teams and facilitate instant feedback.
- Laser scanning, also known as high definition surveying (HDS), captures and maps highly accurate building details. Once the scan is complete, the data can be used to render a 3D representation of the building project, from soup to nuts. This application can be used to guide the construction planning process, as well as provide owners with a record of what lies behind or beneath the finished façade. Laser scanning is an investment that offers great returns. Considering rework can account for up to 15% of construction costs, the ability to catch conflicts before they materialize more than covers the investment cost.
Technology solutions will continue to become more specialized. It is important to prioritize your investments based on what you are most likely to use or what is most likely to help your business grow. If you have any questions about how technology can help your business evolve to serve your customers better, call one of our professionals today.