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
CAT, the name synonymous with heavy construction equipment across the world, has been slowly adding technology to its brand over the past year. Early last year, the company announced it would be releasing a rugged smart phone, which was also the first ever to have a built-in thermal imaging camera. This year, they’re releasing their first step into the world of tablets.
Video feeds on a construction site are not only great for timelapse videos, they can potentially help stop intruders who enter your site.
On August 18th, around 200 new tools were showcased at the annual DeWalt Media Event. This particular event was held in Nashville, Tennessee, where you can’t escape country music no matter how hard you try.
Below are what we thought were the highlights of the event. Let us know what new release you’re most excited about!
Falls from height is one of the leading causes of death among construction workers and ladders are a major contributor to that number. According to the CDC, falls from ladders caused 64 fatalities and 11,500 injuries in the construction industry alone in 2011. There are many things ladder users can do to make their work safer, like setting it at proper angles on level ground, checking for damage, and maintaining 3 points of contact, among others. One technology company is trying to take some of the thinking out of ladder set up.
Almost exactly 2 years ago, we shared details about an autonomous, driverless construction work zone vehicle that would be the first to hit US streets of its kind. That vehicle is gearing up to hit US streets as the Colorado Department of Transportation has teamed up with its developers.
When construction companies initially started to adopt mobile technologies like tablets and smartphones, there was a race between many construction technology companies to be the future leader in the area. As the years rolled on, it became less and less likely that one app was going to be the end-all-be-all, like AutoCAD became in the architectural design world. There’s not one app out there right now that provides every single function that a construction company needs, because each company is very unique. The solution? Integration.
Communication is key to a safe and productive construction environment. One of the biggest challenges of effective communication on job sites is the complexity and size of the project, which inhibits being able to contact the correct people in a timely manner. Tracking devices have been a hot button issue in construction news for the last few years. Some examples include RFID tag sensors in hard hats, such as the one being used on certain job sites in Washington DC and time sheet applications, which allow employers to track their employee’s locations using the GPS on their phone’s or tablets.
In March of this year, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would begin taking orders on their Solar Roof Shingle concept. Tesla Solar Roof is a solar power roof system that eliminates the need for bulky solar panels installed over top of traditional roof materials. Instead, the shingles themselves, which come in a variety of different styles, are the solar panels.
At the company’s second quarter earnings report, Tesla announced that the first solar roof installations have been completed.
[guest post] The progress of construction sites is usually captured by taking still photos of different areas that have been subject to change. Documenting a full construction site requires a lot of pictures (usually more than ten per room), and even then not every corner of a room can be captured.
Standard vertical elevators have had it too good, for too long. After the first cable dependent elevator was unveiled in 1857, not much has changed in the elevator industry. They’re still using cable systems and still only going up and down. But not anymore. ThyssenKrupp has officially made a multi-directional elevator a reality.