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Technology Adoption Rates in the Construction Sector

Posted by Charles Preuss on 12/5/18, 1:50 PM

Technology adoption rates in the construction sector

With outcomes like improved safety, lowered labor costs, faster issue resolution, increase of quality and an improved customer experience, recent emerging technologies are changing the game for the construction industry.

As of 2017, 83% of firms say mobile capabilities are important or very important. Recent developments in mobile apps for construction can lead to reduced construction delays by enabling real-time information gathering at the job site. Mobile apps also streamline communication with owners and project stakeholders, reducing errors, and more quickly resolving issues.

Emerging tech adoption rates

Mobile apps continue to have a large impact on the industry, but there are new technologies making their way onto job sites.

  1. 38% of companies are utilizing drones for surveying, analyzing data, displaying progress, and monitoring job sites. Drones can greatly reduce the time investment for each of these tasks while also making the project safer overall.

  2. Prefabrication/modularization has been on the rise for the past few years with 20% of companies incorporating it into their strategy. This growth can be attributed to the financial savings, flexibility, and consistent quality that comes from modular construction.

  3. Similar to the impact of drones, 360-degree photos and videos allow for clearer displays of progress and job site monitoring, which is why 20% of companies are utilizing it.

  4. 15% of companies utilize 3D scanning to streamline documentation and collaboration. Companies can create a 3D model, annotate it, and provide edits all before building anything.

  5. Like many of the previous new technologies, smart tools allow companies to maximize their profits. 13% of companies are utilizing smart tools to drive effective management of tools and equipment costs.

  6. Virtual reality and augmented reality both have enormous growth potential in the construction industry, but are currently only utilized by 13% of organizations. Augmented reality has the potential to significantly improve project efficiency while virtual reality is proving to be an effective planning and rendering tool. Both provide immersive, virtual environments, allowing the team to better understand the project before it physically exists.

  7. As household applications for 3D printing have grown, as have architectural applications. 10% of companies use 3D printing in the construction of walls and even full buildings which speeds up construction, reduces accidents, cost, and waste, and allows for the creation of more complicated designs.

  8. Safety is a large concern for an industry where people dying on projects used to be the norm. 9% of companies are fighting this with wearable devices. Devices like smart boots allow for the tracking of workers and can even sense when they are fatigued or get hurt. Smart vests, smart helmets, and smart glasses are all additional wearables increasing the safety of workers on job sites.

  9. 7% of companies are using jobsite sensors to build smart ecosystems since they can be used on nearly everything on a jobsite. These can be used to protect workers, prevent damage, and optimize assets.

Even with the surplus of new technologies all with their own benefits to safety, productivity, and revenue retention, more than half of companies don’t allocate any budget to research new tech and 38% of companies aren’t trying any new technology in 2017.


Understanding the roadblocks to adoption

Technology is scary to adopt in any industry. There’s a learning curve, it’s expensive, and there’s no guarantee of its effectiveness. Where does the construction industry struggle in technology adoption?

  1. Construction firms and crews tend to be old-fashioned or comfortable in how they do things and wary of fancy new technology offerings.

  2. Many firms understand the benefits of technology, but are reluctant to take crews off billable projects for internal training and implementation.

  3. Failed implementation of adoption of a past technology solution can make firm management averse to additional technology opportunities.

  4. Field workers often don’t want to change how they do their jobs and may feel threatened by technology. Less than one in four construction employees are “very comfortable” with new technology.

  5. In 2017, 46% of firms spent less than 1% of their annual sales volume on IT. That number is down 9% from 2016 (which means budgets are slowly increasing), and fewer than half of firms had a dedicated IT department in 2017.

There are multitudes of new technologies shaking up the construction world, but many companies aren’t ready to adopt because of an old-fashioned mindset and a fear of change. As companies adopt new technology, they will likely see an increase in profit margins, safer job sites, more efficient workers, and better communication across teams.

Tags: Construction, Communication, Tech solutions

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