The times they are a’changing. With the recent tech boom, there’s technology that applies to every aspect of construction. There are things that can apply to everyone’s jobs, more than most of us can imagine. And then there are things like robotics and artificial intelligence that might seem a far distant mirage on the horizon to some companies. You’re bombarded daily by the promise of products and tools that will make your life easier. The events of this year have propelled tech adoption forward.
Communication has become of the utmost importance. As the construction scenery changes, people still have to do inspections, corrections, reviews, collaboration. When working remotely or onsite, teams have their work to do, and the project still must get done. In April, for example, the International Code Council published “Considerations for Virtual and Remote Inspections” as a guide for code departments facing the remote work situation.
It’s amazing but true: companies are still using faxes, a technology from the last century. There are still companies using hand-written invoices and filling out reports by hand. With these historical methods of doing business, there’s no way to track information or accumulate data about the project. Yes, the mindset that “we’ve always done it this way” gives people the impression that they’re fairly efficient at what they do. But when you compare their productivity to what it could be when using tech tools that can cut labor input by 90%, those old processes are not efficient at all.
That’s where artificial intelligence can help. There is a lot of digital data to be collected on a construction project. That data can be used if it’s harnessed properly. A computer is the perfect “team member” to sort through thousands of pages of documents and thousands of photographs and assemble spec books. They can create an accurate record of job progress. Using computers to analyze and create order from chaos, we can gain insights like we’ve never have.
It takes our collective voices to push the industry forward, and one place where that is needed is concerning overhead on a job. Sometimes a “benefit” may not seem like enough of a reason to adopt technology. You need to know how a tool will save your company money. Still, when a process is streamlined there will be a return on investment – if not immediately, then in the future.
Integrating technology has always been a slippery slope to climb. You’ve got active projects; people are already busy; it’s hard to take the hit to productivity that most certainly will occur as you implement a new process. It takes time and effort and commitment to integrate a new tool into your workflow. This is where a savvy outside technology partner can really earn their keep, quickly getting a construction team up to speed and productive with a new technology tool.
Join me on episode 53 of the award-winning Bridging the Gap Podcast with guest Shane Hedmond, creator of Construction Junkie, as we discuss attitudes around new construction tech and the challenges of getting people to adopt artificial intelligence.