There are two very group mindsets in the construction industry right now: those who embrace technology and want to see more of it in construction and those who just want to build buildings the way they always have. One always has the latest smartphone, the other just wants a phone with buttons that can make calls. One wants to use drawing management apps, the other wants to carry around a hard copy set. One wants to store their documents in the cloud, the other wants to file their papers away in a cabinet. You get the idea and I’m sure you live it within your own company. Both systems work, but there is strong evidence that points to technology as a time and money saver.
A big challenge for all companies, not just construction companies, is trying to force the new technologies onto those who are, let’s say, “technology resistant.” Let me be clear, this is not always a generational thing, I know some 20-year-olds who can barely use email and I know some 60 and 70-year-olds that are excited to get their hands on the next new gadget.
The example that I’m going to highlight is a story written by Casey Logan, of News-Press, in which a construction company, Suffolk Construction (based throughout the United States), has paired an experienced, 66-year-old, not-so-tech-saavy superintendent with an inexperienced, 30-year-old, tech saavy assistant project manager. That’s the combination that nightmares are made of, right? Not for Suffolk. The company has chosen to embrace their differences and encourage each of them to learn new skills from each other, instead of just one of them learning. Butch Shull, the superintendent, teaches Nico Zepp, the assistant project manager, skills like project sequencing and job site safety, while Zepp teaches Shull how to use technology to harness Suffolk’s “build smart” approach. “Build smart” is the company’s commitment to using the latest technologies to gain a competitive advantage, such as virtual models, lean construction, and BIM.
This “reverse mentorship,” in which the younger employee trains the older, is certainly a smart approach to gain commitment from those working in the field. The need to train folks on technology probably seems obvious to you as you’re reading this, but I can assure you that there are many construction companies across the world who make their employees use new software and expect them to learn it on their own. Those are the same companies that will tell you that “construction and technology don’t mix.” This isn’t just a one-time training either, Suffolk’s plan, at least from an outside perspective, seems like a long term training environment, which the company happens to pride themselves on.
Have you used these types of mentorships on your jobs or have you employed another type of training that you think has been successful? Tell us in the comments!
Full Story: 'Reverse mentoring' a double win at construction firm | The News-Pres
Construction companies rely on two main assets to get their jobs done every day: their people and their equipment. Without either component, you will not be able to serve your customers well. You wouldn't think of sending your people to a site without proper insurance coverage and safety gear, yet if you are operating your fleet without fleet tracking, then you are putting those valuable vehicles at risk. Here are some ways that fleet management systems protect your assets, and therefore your business, from serious financial loss.
There’s no doubt that drones are the hot technology item for the construction industry. They allow you inspect your overall site more quickly, take aerial photos for marketing and documentation, measure tonnage and volume of on-site stockpiles, and even monitor employee productivity. Now, one company has designed a drone that can safely inspect structures for damage and detect cracks as small as .0039 inches wide (.1mm), when fitted with an HD camera.
One thing’s for sure about Milwaukee Tool, they aren’t satisfied with putting the same tools out year after year. They’re constantly improving age old classics and leading in the innovation of new tool solutions. Their latest announcement is a variation on their extremely popular line of M18 tools.
There’s no doubt that construction is one of the toughest jobs in the world, but there was a time when power tools and heavy construction machinery didn’t even exist. Even with those tools being absent on job sites, amazing structures were still built for thousands of years and with extremely intricate detail. SO how exactly did they do it? Tons of manpower and tons of time, something that many modern jobs don’t have the luxury of. Ignoring all of today’s modern conveniences, a group of French construction workers and other skilled tradesmen and women have teamed up to build an authentic 13th Century style castle.
Even though self-driving vehicles are just that, self-driving, they’ve always still had a seat for a driver and a steering wheel. Perhaps that means that designers were afraid that their technology wouldn’t work correctly. Or maybe, customers weren’t fully committed to only being able to use them as a self-driving vehicle. Well, it seems as if Komatsu isn’t worried about either of those things anymore, as they’ve officially unveiled their newest autonomous (self-driving) haulage vehicle this week at MINExpo, which was held in Las Vegas from September 26-28, 2016.
There’s no doubt that road work can be a huge inconvenience to drivers, but many times businesses in the route of the work can suffer more, even causing some to have to close permanently. While many projects around the country have been navigating towards pre-fabricated and modular construction to reduce the time workers actually spend on site, a project in Canada will be opting for the giant inflatable tunnel method.
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This 6-1/2” circular saw fits perfectly into the light duty category for circular saws. With the 4.0ah battery, 50 degree bevel, and 4000 rpm saw speed this model delivers performance comparable to many of the heavy duty saws on the market while still keeping a very reasonable price point.
Concrete, the construction industry’s building material of choice for hundreds of years, is an extremely tough and durable product. Being such a rigid product, concrete has inherently poor tensile strength, which is its ability to withstand being stretched, as opposed to compressing. This poor tensile strength leads to cracking, which eventually leads to failure. Scientists have been racing to discover the cure to concrete’s cracking problem for years, most notably Henk Jonkers’ bio-concrete, which uses microorganisms to “heal” cracked concrete.
The newest challengers to the material’s flexibility problem are a group of scientists from Nanyung Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. The team calls their product “ConFlexPave” and it not only bends under pressure, unlike concrete, it’s also thinner and maybe even stronger than its traditional brethren.
We have a lot of safety rules in construction and it’s practically impossible to monitor your job site for compliance of every single rule. To complicate matters, many rules are based upon exposure limits, especially when airborne particles are involved. OSHA recently reduced the allowable exposure limit of silica dust, which is found in concrete, stone, and brick, before additional PPE or engineering controls are required. This rule change has caused a lot of grief among construction industry groups, who called the rule technologically infeasible, because what contractor is really set up to measure when 50 micrograms of silica dust per cubic meter of air is actually reached?