The construction industry uses too much paper. Ignoring any environmental impacts that may cause, the continued widespread use of paper in the industry is terrible for productivity and efficiency. Construction companies are burdening their employees with tedious paperwork instead of allowing them to excel at their actual jobs. It also greatly hampers collaboration with other team members or customers.
APE Mobile, a construction app company, recently put together the infographic below, explaining the current state of the industry with regards to labor, budgets, and technology; the problems with the lack of digitizing project data; and how construction technology can help solve those problems.
The problem with not digitizing project data, APE says, is the lack of communication, inconsistencies in paperwork, and a lack of coordination. Project data can include, for example: daily work reports, pictures, schedules, drawing changes, and budgeting, among others. If employees don’t have instantaneous access to this data when they need it, cost overruns of costly rework is more likely to occur.
The infographic cites some great articles, but if you’re interested in even more data about construction technology and how contractors are using it, I encourage you to check out JBKnowledge’s latest Construction Technology Survey, as well.
For over 3 years now, Trimble has been teaming up with Microsoft to make the mixed reality headset, the Microsoft HoloLens, a viable and useful tool for the construction industry. With Microsoft’s recent announcement of their next-gen headset, the HoloLens 2, Trimble also made an announcement about the impending release of a new wearable hard hat compatible device featuring the HoloLens 2.
Falls continue to be the number one leading cause of death on construction sites across the country, accounting for around 40% each year. Even if you can convince your construction crew to wear personal fall arrest systems each time they’re required, proper training is required to select the correct type of fall protection and the anchor points, as well as performing proper inspections of the equipment. An app called Harness Hero is trying to help solve the latter problem.
[guest post] Construction project owners are facing a big problem: paper based progress reports and invoices are making it nearly impossible to quickly find and address errors. The tool kit of the past included a magnifying glass, a pencil (and eraser) and a calculator. Armed with endless human resources, project owners would diligently review paper based documentation for discrepancies. This MO is no longer feasible in the modern construction environment.
JBKnowledge, a construction technology and consultancy company, has been producing their annual Construction Technology Report since 2012. Now in its 7th year, it is far and away the most comprehensive collection of survey results in the construction technology sector.
I’m a strong proponent of reducing the amount of pen and paper used on construction jobsites. Handwriting notes is great for personal use, but as soon as you need to get those notes or reports to someone else, you either spend time duplicating your work on a computer or never get around to communicating, because your notes were misplaced, destroyed, or illegible. Fieldwire, a field software for collaborating on plans, punch lists, and scheduling, among others, has recently announced the release of a custom form building tool to reduce the need for paper on your jobsite.
As much as we like to push for the digitization of the construction jobsite on Construction Junkie, there’s no doubt that there are many within the construction workforce that are still apprehensive to go fully electronic. There’s something to be said for feeling and manipulating something with your hands, as opposed to pointing and clicking. SlatPlanner is a new way that construction companies can electronically build a project schedule, while maintaining a hands-on approach.
Ekso Bionics has been making exoskeletons since 2005. Originally designed with the military in mind, but then later shifted to physical therapy. In more recent years, they have begun targeting more physical professions, especially those with repetitive tasks or a lot of lifting. One of their most recent products is called the EksoVest.
As mobile apps and project management software are becoming more prominent on construction sites around the world, it’s important that those getting ready to enter the industry, whether it be through college or trade schools, get the training they need to hit the ground running with these programs. PlanGrid,a construction project management and mobile productivity software, has recently announced the release of PlanGrid Schools & Unions, which gives access to hands-on training curriculum and software licenses to industry educators.
When we first began talking about construction technology in 2015, there were a lot of pie-in-the-sky ideas. Many products had financial backing, but no legitimate proof of concept or path to a commercial market. Fast forward just 3 years and many of those same products are starting to hit limited jobsites and have a viable chance to succeed in the industry.
Autodesk, the software company synonymous with architectural and engineering design, has gobbled up yet another construction related software just a few week after its massive acquisition of PlanGrid. It’s most recent acquisition, BuildingConnected, will help bolster Autodesk’s growing construction brand and help them grow additional profit pipelines.