Business
Technology

2022 Executive Insights: Leaders in Construction Technology

Leaders in the contech space answer questions about the industry.
October 6, 2022
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Business
Technology

What are the telltale signs that your current construction software isn’t getting the job done?

Zulq Malik
Chief Happiness Officer
SMARTBUILD

Knowing if your project management system is not getting the job done is directly indicated by having spreadsheets and or workarounds in your system.

Contractors are looking for a “magic box” that will do everything in one spot—hence the idea of large ERP systems that none of your departments are completely happy with. Great accounting platforms are not usually compatible with construction management workflows, and vice versa.

The main reasons for spreadsheets and workarounds are that your existing system has been shoehorned for contractors or workflows have been developed by non-construction folks. Either way, your system needs to be evaluated against stronger construction technology solutions.

The foundation of a tech stack, for many contractors, consists of a strong project management system complemented by accounting software. The need to have additional tech tools is largely driven by the sector you work in and the size of your projects. Further, your project management system could be missing key components. Real construction managers know that construction projects are working on a monthly versus daily cost cycle, project information is being updated routinely, and the reality is, very little information changes on a minute-by-minute basis.

Kyle Hamer
Chief Marketing Officer
Asite

We know that you have a problem if it takes you more than a few minutes to find the most up-to-date project documents for tracking and version control.

Your software shouldn’t make it harder to ensure everyone is working in sync. The growing demand for smart structures creates a need for owners, operators and contractors to have a highly configurable and flexible data platform. We’ve now reached a point in digitization where everyone on a project no longer needs to work in silos. If they’ve picked the right solution, owners no longer must accept project blind spots and hidden risks. When the data is all in one platform, you win with improved reporting and real-time dashboards.

Austin Conti
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Tenna LLC

We identify four telltale signs that a software isn’t getting the job done. We see contractors consistently fail when they implement software that is not construction-focused; fails to get adoption or meet needs for the entire team; does not integrate; delivers incomplete data with unreliable hardware; and lacks appropriate training.

First, the software is not purpose-built for construction specifically, but focuses instead on multiple industries as a one-size-fits-all. Contractors need solutions designed for their unique industry needs that meet workflows and use cases of real construction roles. Software that works well for the C-suite needs to function well for mid-level management and the field. Reports are great for executives, but only if managers feed the system with accurate data and utilize it to its fullest potential to support their standard operating procedures. The field will only adopt a system if it increases productivity or addresses a pain point. If there is a gap, businesses can’t leverage the benefit.

Second, the system does not integrate with other key business software. Today, many systems connect through integrations. Without this, contractors are forced to stay manual and piece segments of data together from separate systems, preventing them from seeing an accurate big picture.

Third, they require durable hardware built for rough construction environments they can trust to withstand the elements and deliver reliable data to the software.

Fourth, you don’t get full buy-in from all three tiers of the organization because human behavior is the hardest thing to change. Without clear understanding of why a system is being implemented and how the change affects their position, they are apt to resist. Thorough implementation, onboarding and training is needed to communicate and demonstrate why and how each user can maximize the software for their role to see greater progress for the business collectively.

Jim Lynch
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions
Autodesk Inc.

The biggest sign your current construction software isn’t up to par? You and your team are continuing to rely on unwieldy spreadsheets or are working with technology that cannot exchange data with other tech solutions. Your team’s productivity, accuracy and efficiency are negatively affected when the software it uses is disconnected from everything else that matters—whether that’s data from the field, project risk analysis or business-level insights. The most successful construction firms rely on software that centralizes all their project data, doing so seamlessly and securely throughout the entire building life cycle.

Now dig a little deeper. Are you using an “all-in-one” solution instead of a platform? The big difference between the two is that “all-in-one” is a marketing term that implies the software encompasses what your firm needs for every project and team member, while a platform safely assumes it cannot know all your needs. A construction solution built on a platform is designed to be more resilient, more flexible and more scalable to needs that cannot be predicted as your workflows change. The ideal construction solution will be built on a flexible platform that will align with your firm’s short-term project goals while offering the strong foundation necessary to achieve your long-term business objectives.

John Rosch
North American Sales Manager
Explorer Software

Sometimes it might seem like the biggest hurdle to running your business is the software you are using. What once was purchased to help your company compete has been outgrown, become outdated or simply never fit your needs in the first place. Here are some signs that your current construction software isn’t getting the job done:

You have many separate software solutions because your primary software does not integrate with or offer these necessary features.

Construction software should be making your life easier by bringing all the necessary data you need into a central source for you to make decisions with. If you are running multiple separate software solutions and must enter the same data because there is no integration in your main solution, then your current construction software just isn’t cutting it.

Your company is still primarily paper based.

Many of us might like the tactile feel of writing on paper, but if your business is still operating primarily this way in the digital age, you might need to look for better construction software. Between missed timecards, data-entry errors from copying from poorly written notes and keeping an organized budget, there are many benefits modern construction software has to getting rid of your reliance on paper. Mobile apps make it easy to collect the relevant info from a jobsite and quickly submit it to the workflow for approvals. Employees can easily attach photos and videos from the field and have them quickly tagged in a document management system so your stakeholders can stay updated on progress.

Construction industry has consistently been behind the trend when it comes to the adoption of technology, but the benefits to increased productivity and staying on budget that come from a comprehensive construction software mean that continuing to use software that is out-of-date can severely dull your competitive edge. Evaluate your software and ensure it can get the job done.

Aaron Levitt
Enterprise Solutions Lead
CMiC

  1. Data Accessibility, Management Issues and Weak Reporting Capabilities:
    --Field to back-office delays and the use of manually created reports can prevent project members from having access to the latest data and limit their ability to make business decisions in real time.
    --When teams face challenges in accessing, managing, sharing and reporting on key data points, this can lead to delays in workflows and job analysis.
    --Delays in job cost reporting and timesheet entries can impact when employees are paid.
    --Bottlenecks in calculating and generating client billings can impact the accuracy of job cost status and pose delays in paying subcontractors and vendors.
  2. Manual Data Entry Issues and the Use of Legacy Systems:
    --Manual entry often leads to duplicative or erroneous data, which can take a considerable amount of time to identify and correct.
    --Importing data between systems can increase the occurrence of errors.
    --Legacy systems prevent firms from keeping up with the pace of business today and adapting to changes.
  3. The Impact of Using Antiquated Tools on Employee Satisfaction and Retention:
    --Continuously assigning administrative tasks to employees keeps them from doing tasks that are strategic in nature—this also plays a role in employee retention.
    --Key signs that your tool contributes to employee frustration:
    *Inefficient team task execution based on rigid work procedures
    *Inaccurate decision making or forecasting from using outdated data
    *Frequent corrective actions or re-work; the lack of remote accessibility or offline capabilities

Woody Chamberlain
President
eMars

Payroll errors. Unhappy employees. Studies show that about 20% of all construction company checks have at least one Davis-Bacon compliance issue in a manually prepared payroll.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has mandated that electronic certified payrolls are a must for most districts. Why? They don't want construction companies or their subcontractors having errors in their payroll. Errors can lead to angry employees, large fines, jail time and going out of business. Compliance difficulties don’t go away with “I’m sorry.”

The Davis-Bacon Act, passed by Congress in 1931, requires private contractors to pay “prevailing wages” to employees on all federally funded construction projects worth more than $2,000. There are more than 30 compliance regulations that must be adhered to for every check.

To prevent manual errors and the repercussions that they can cause, contractors need to put in place a payroll solution that can take care of all the compliance issues, guidelines and mandates of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts and many state variations. Having a system that provides immediate, concurrent, real-time visibility of all payroll records adds another layer of protection for contractors.

Joel Hoffman
Directory of Product Management, Construction
Acumatica Cloud ERP

In today’s digital age, the construction industry is evolving rapidly. Ever-changing project scopes and customer demands, complex and multiphase projects with wide-ranging stakeholders in addition to evolving technologies make it difficult to keep pace. Construction software needs to be utilized for the entire project life cycle, including for financial management, project management, field communications and more.

Many companies still rely on pen and paper, spreadsheets and other manual methods for data collection, which leads to analysis of bad or out-of-date data—a sign that your current solution is not getting the job done. Project information should be easy to find. Running a profitable project requires the ability to track key metrics as well as accurately forecast and manage job costs, cash flow and change management. If this is difficult, your software is not getting the job done.

Your software may have some robust features, but legacy applications do not make use of new technology and platforms. Lack of mobility and open architecture can provide obstacles and additional work when needing to connect with customers, vendors and employees.

The ability to integrate new technologies that facilitate growth without extensive IT costs is essential for construction companies to gain a competitive edge and thrive in today's environment. Organizations rely on modern tools to manage every aspect of their business, and few companies find everything they need in a single system. Specialized software and add-on applications are regularly used to supplement or streamline workflows.

Mike Ode
Chief Executive Officer
Foundation Software

Figuring out if your current construction software programs are falling behind can be difficult to recognize, but there are a few indicators that it might be time for an upgrade.

One of the first signs that your software isn’t doing enough is if it doesn’t have the features you need. Take your accounting software, for example. If you’re still completing billing and reports by hand—such as AIA, certified payroll or work-in-progress reporting—construction-specific software can help simplify these tasks by generating these documents for you. If your team is wasting too much time getting reports in place, or having to work through several different programs to get the information to finish them, your software might be to blame.

Another common indicator is a lack of communication between office and field. Your software should make it easier to communicate between teams—not stand in the way of it. Construction-specific software can help by syncing data between field and office and keeping those lines of communication open. It will also save you time by eliminating double-entry since data from the field can go directly to your software.

One last sign is if your projects are consistently off-track and disorganized. Almost every project will run into an unforeseen issue at some point, but if it’s a regular occurrence, it’s likely the result of a bigger problem. With the right software, information is easily accessible between teams with integrated, automated tracking. Your budgets, reporting and general job information will also become more organized since all team members will be on the same page.

What it ultimately comes down to is: If you see your software isn’t able to address your pain points, it may be time to start looking into software that can.

What are the key benefits of workforce management technology?

John Herr
Chief Executive Officer
Arcoro

I’d use three words to sum up the benefits—efficiency, effectiveness and experience.

Construction has very specific workforce challenges that technology can help address. First, there’s the shortage of skilled employees, so getting the work done with the people you have is vital. To be most efficient, you need technology to do some of the work.

One example is tracking employees’ time with paper or spreadsheets that require manual entry or workarounds. That takes time and is open to mistakes. Time-tracking technology addresses that.

And there are other workforce management processes and tasks that can be done easier, faster and better with the right technology.

Take recruiting, for example. Most people looking for a construction job are doing it on their break or lunch hour and are using their phones. So you really need to have an easy, streamlined system for applicants to get to you from their phones. If it’s more than a few clicks, you’ll lose them, and that’s the last thing you want in this environment. In this case it’s about the efficiency of the process, its effectiveness and the experience of the applicant.

This also applies to learning, training and compliance. If you can deliver and track employees’ training and certifications in an online system, you make it easier for them and more efficient for you. That helps with retention.

These are just a few examples, but the bottom line is: Leveraging HR tech can help you work smarter and take better care of your employees.

Mallorie Brodie
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Bridgit

To understand the benefits of workforce management technology, it’s important to understand the problems with the current process. Workforce management has largely been spreadsheet-driven, resulting in a process that is more complex and time-consuming than it needs to be.

Operations managers spend hours consolidating emails and phone calls to keep track of their people, and by the time their staffing meetings begin, the spreadsheet data is already out of date. Simply put, they’re having to spend more time maintaining their spreadsheets than actually managing their people. The tools and technology general contractors use should simplify these problems, not add to the complexity.

The benefits of workforce management software go well beyond creating a more efficient process. Operations teams have the visibility and information they need to be more effective with how they allocate their people.

When you can rely on the information, workforce planning also becomes a collaborative effort.

Once the foundation is set, it’s important to have a longer-term workforce strategy. With a tight labor market, the ability to forecast staffing needs further out helps general contractors stay ahead of recruitment needs and internal upskilling while reducing the number of last-minute hires to support upcoming projects.

Tooey Courtemanche
Chief Executive Officer
Procore

The skilled labor shortage is the most persistent challenge our industry faces. On top of that, labor is one of the most variable costs contractors must manage. In a highly dynamic economic environment, contractors who already run on thin margins are seeking ways to drive efficiencies into their businesses. One highly impactful way to do this is through better planning and visibility, specifically around workforce management.

Workforce management technology helps contractors to plan better with centralized scheduling and insights into your workforce's availability and skill set. Contractors can better track how their workforce is performing in real time and flag areas that are out of scope to help protect the labor budget. It can also employ historical data to forecast what resources are needed from one job to the next, so future jobs are set up for success. It also simplifies the process of managing, organizing and analyzing this information, saving contractors on another precious resource: time.

Ultimately, workforce management technology gives contractors a real-time, forward-looking understanding of workers, empowering them to run more efficient, profitable businesses.

What are best practices for using data-collection apps and software in the field to ensure information collected is accurate and timely?

Michael R. Colapietro
Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Smartapp.com

Our industry, like many others, has moved from not having enough data to having too much. One of the only ways that we’ve found data collection to be useful and usable is by shifting the focus of automating data capture to the jobsite itself where day-to-day work is planned, completed and inspected.

“Automating” doesn’t just mean digitizing the data collection process. It means automating the very source that creates the data.

When the right team is equipped with the right physical and digital tools, jobsites turn into smartsites that seamlessly produce valuable data with every work event. Each work task planned, assigned or performed is data, and each worker on the jobsite is enabled with digital tools (like sensors, digital ID worker badges, mobile devices and interactive jobsite boards) to create data in real time all the time.

When viewed from that perspective, progress tracking and reporting should no longer happen after the task is done. Because that's not data collection! That's just data reconciliation.

The key is to turn your jobsite into a data factory that moves retrospective data reconciliation into real-time, from-the-jobsite data collection that is instantaneous, transparent and accurate.

Instead of wasting time and relying on communication channels that are delayed and prone to error, you can set up an experience where everyone on your jobsite is automatically creating your critical project KPIs and progress data. When data is being captured automatically in real time, where it happens, when it happens and by the person who did it—it becomes the most reliable, accurate information that any project stakeholder can trust. Replacing labor-intensive, error-prone manual or point-solution siloed systems of data collection with a comprehensive, unified, automated and accurate data-collection process creates a self-sustaining system of automated reporting and analytics for an agile jobsite that feeds your jobsite data factory.

Sina Falaki
Head of Industry Marketing
Motive

Construction is ranked as the fourth-most-dangerous job in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Helmets and workbooks can only go so far in protecting workers, and accidents are prone from jobsite to jobsite. Today’s leading construction companies are harnessing the power of automation to improve safety. This includes everything from 360° video footage on the jobsite to project management software to self-driving equipment and, of course, apps that monitor and address unsafe driving behaviors, such as cell phone usage, seat-belt usage and closely following other vehicles.

How does this work in practice? When a contractor en route to a jobsite follows another vehicle too closely, AI instantly alerts the driver to increase the distance in front of the vehicle. If a driver gets distracted or reaches for a cellphone, the AI dashcam alerts the driver to keep their eyes on the road. After the trip, automated coaching helps develop better, safer driving habits and lowers the EMR score and the construction business risk and liability.

Ty Kalklosch
Chief Executive Officer
Raken

Make sure the app or software being used by the field was made with them in mind. If the technology is too complicated and adds extra steps to their day, it won’t be used and the investment is essentially worthless.

Give field crews an intuitive digital tool that allows them to quickly enter updates and information while on the go. The more efficient you make the process for passing information to the office, the more updates you’ll receive. Look for a solution that automatically compiles any project details entered such as weather updates, work logs, cost codes, survey questions and more.

Eliminating the need to remember information at the end of the day and enter data manually will not only increase project visibility—it also mitigates risk and improves the quality of documentation.

Michael Bihlmeier
President
Computer Guidance Corporation

Data is the heartbeat of every successful commercial contractor and the lifeblood of digital transformation strategies. Stakeholders in the field and office rely on data to make informed decisions that have significant impacts on the bottom line. If data is unreliable or unavailable, it can hurt productivity and increase costs.

Here are three best practices to ensure accurate and timely data collection in the field.

First, make sure the data-collection applications used in the field are both reliable and easy to use. Applications should be designed to fit your business and should not add needless complexity to the jobs of end users. The more intuitive the interface, the greater likelihood of adoption and accuracy of data. Today’s applications can be used to capture videos, signatures, requisitions and more. Leading technologies also provide for quicker input with autofill, drop-downs, sticky keys, barcodes and metadata. The greater the degree of digital communication between the field and office, the greater the expediency with which a business can achieve its goals.

Second, focus on improving the accuracy of data by leveraging ERP integration to minimize mistakes. Information can be compared and contrasted in real time against the ERP. Validating wage rates, employee IDs, cost codes or calculations is critical to processing large volumes of data without errors. Accuracy is best achieved through a fully integrated ERP, allowing for bidirectional information flows with real-time validation and the flexibility to add people or information at any time.

Finally, embrace the utilization of digital workflows to completely replace inefficient processes. Digitizing paper processes is fairly simple, but it is also important to re-examine a process for opportunities to create an entirely new workflow that is more efficient and more effective by leveraging technology to simplify the process. Best practice involves advanced digital workflows that heighten the timeliness of construction data. Speedy, accurate data capture enables action through expedited workflows, which will propel your business forward.

Paul McKeon
Chief Executive Officer
B2W Software

Step one is to choose technology that is intuitive and easy to use in a construction environment. Involving end users in the selection process, explaining the big-picture benefits of improved data capture to the company and investing in training can help to secure buy-in from employees in the field and ensure a smooth adoption process.

The ability to customize apps for field data capture is important, too. With electronic performance tracking apps, for example, including or hiding fields or sections, changing the order of the fields and creating custom fields for information required for a specific business or work type all make it easier for employees to record data. This type of customization increases the likelihood that they will do so in a timely, accurate and thorough manner.

Once data is captured in the field, the ability to communicate it to other workflows immediately and without redundant manual entry can compound the value of the data and therefore the apps. Examples include using a field app to send labor hours directly to a payroll system or to relay equipment repair requests or resource needs directly to maintenance and scheduling systems respectively. This automated connectivity eliminates errors and makes employees in the field more efficient.

Using electronic signatures to validate data; sending event-triggered alerts and notifications; and working in an offline mode, syncing data later when an internet connection is established, are additional best practices supported by the capabilities of strong data-collection apps.

Richard Humphrey
Vice President, Construction
Bentley Systems

Mobile apps that leverage the power of the cloud are becoming the next platform for construction.

The value of mobile technology is driven by the undisputed need for construction teams to capture, access and analyze their project data at any given moment. When leveraged properly, the right mobile technology enables teams to quickly access project data on the jobsite, easily capture important data from the field and execute deeper field data analysis to make better data-driven decisions to keep projects in control.

It’s simple—construction staff need real-time access to the information that they require to do their work based on where they are and what they are doing. They require immediate access to documents, specs, plan sets, work packages and 3D/4D models. They also need to be able to capture data in real time, as well as access data that is accurate and structured for later analysis and rapid decision making. The type of data best captured by mobile devices includes schedule and cost progress tracking in the field, issue and observation capturing, daily logs, as well as quality and safety inspections.

With mobile apps, construction project leaders gain real-time access and capture of data directly from the field to make better, faster decisions to keep their projects on schedule and on budget.

Financial technology helps contractors get paid and pay out faster. What other benefits do fintech solutions offer?

Mike Milligan
Chief Growth Officer
GCPay

For many years in the construction industry, late payment has been a source of frustration between owners, general contractors and their supply chains. Subcontractors usually feel this the most as they are oftentimes at the "end of the food chain.” Not only does this have consequences, such as liens being placed on construction projects, but now across many states, local and state governments are beginning to enact prompt payment regulations to protect against these types of challenges. Technology can help to better manage this as well.

Automating payments between owners, general contractors and subcontractors is really not difficult at all, and incorporating lien management into the process is just as easy. The ability to manage compliance documents, such as bonding and insurance documentation, along with automating both the conditional and unconditional lien waiver documentation is paramount to finance organizations realizing some major time and cost savings.

Furthermore, the ability for some of these software applications to offer early financing on subcontractor payments is compelling now more than ever.

Ariela Wagner
Founder
SunRay Construction Solutions

Fintech solutions offer an array of benefits, but the most critical part must be the reduction of time by digitizing the payment process. While it is 100% possible for contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to handle liens, waivers and project management systems via spreadsheets, Word documents, or even old-fashioned pen and paper, doing so is the equivalent of using a shovel instead of an excavator. The most important part of financial technology is the ability to take complicated workflows and streamline them. Furthermore, without having a software solution, you can increase financial liability because of the manual processes. Simply put, the expression “the check is in the mail” should become obsolete. Either the payment occurred electronically within seconds—or not.

It is critical that your data is seamlessly integrated between bidding software, contracts, credit, collections, accounting, project management waivers and releases. Allowing all these moving pieces to be in sync creates a business masterpiece that flows together as one, making it more efficient and profitable.

Joseph Sforzo Jr. 
Chief Operating Officer
Surety2000

The advent of the electronic surety bond, an entirely paperless bond created in a web-based application where all parties to the bond interact in a secure environment. Surety companies grant powers of attorney electronically to agents. Agents create bonds and then sign them digitally, as do principals. Obligees receive the fully executed bond electronically—all in one secure platform. It is important that this criterion be met. Many systems may brand themselves as electronic surety without really meeting this standard.

The benefits of electronic surety bonding are numerous and realized by all parties involved. For the surety agent, a true e-bonding system will have workflow that helps reduce errors, provides for a fast and easy bond creation process and eliminates the need for mailing and transporting physical documents to their client. For a surety company, granting or revoking powers of attorney is done quickly and easily. Surety users receive email notification of bonds executed using their powers of attorney as well as the ability to view each bond when they log into the system. A fully transparent process that eliminates fraud should be at the heart of any e-bonding system.

Principals must be able to sign their bond directly within an e-bonding platform or sign their bid along with a bid bond through secure integration with one of the many e-bidding systems available. This will eliminate mailing or hand-delivering physical documents to an obligee. Owners are now able to view and maintain records of fully executed bonds without the need for handling physical documents. They can be confident in the authenticity of the bond, the elimination of errors and the assurance that a low bid on a project will not be disqualified over a clerical error on the bid bond. A true e-bonding platform will maintain integration points with agency management systems and e-bidding systems to assure a seamless flow of information throughout the surety supply chain.

Jim Campbell 
Senior Vice President, Construction
AvidXchange

Adopting financial technology solutions can help contractors do their jobs more efficiently with streamlined processes. Not only is payment execution more efficient with automation—all the steps before and after are significantly reduced. The technology eliminates the need for construction companies to deal with reconciliation and outstanding payment follow-up challenges as financial technology executes them automatically.

Contractors are often concerned about outsourcing payment execution because they fear losing control of the process; however, nothing is further from the truth. With quality payment automation, contractors have more precise control over the release of funds and easy digital access to all the approval and compliance inputs they need.

Additionally, payment substantiation is a beneficial byproduct of adopting financial technology. With electronic payments, payment information is tied to related cost data and readily available for retrieval with advanced reporting capabilities. For example, contractors can easily access anything from supporting documents for cost-plus billing to draw packages or other information tied to job cost codes.

Fintech solutions also help reduce the transfer of risk while providing greater security. Outsourcing payments mitigates fraud risk because modern financial technology is often built with more secure electronic payments, helping safeguard against check fraud.

Ultimately, financial technology helps contractors automate manual processes that drain time while helping them cut costs, improve productivity and gain better security, visibility and control of cash flow.

Why should contractors consider using preconstruction technology?

Michael Ho
Chief Executive Officer
Bespoke Metrics Inc.

Preconstruction technology selection has traditionally focused on efficiencies, ease of use and utility at the project level.

In today’s world, the list of things to worry about is extreme, never-ending and ever-changing. Compounded with unprecedented circumstances and massive, sometimes uncontrollable events, seismic transitions are being created and a reshaping of the landscape is being molded. We must manage today’s risk with tremendous diligence and respect; we must use every tool at our disposal.

One of the strongest responses contractors can have is to manage risk at the preconstruction phase by utilizing prequalification technology to mitigate risk in the entire supply chain. Equally important is that contractors must empower risk managers to enforce best practices. “Lowest-cost providers” are commonly not the best risk-management decision.

Prequalification software can provide clear benefits:

• Standardize data
• Employ analytics to support risk-management decision making
• Enforce best practices throughout contractor operations
• Continuously evolve best practices
• Support DBE and ESG efforts

The great divide between post-pandemic success and failure will rely heavily on construction companies' abilities to utilize technology better than their peers. With the extreme risk climate seemingly balanced on a gimbal, preconstruction technology should not consider not just risk-management functions but prequalification technology, and similar risk tools should be core to contractors' technology decisions.

What are the benefits of reality-capture solutions, such as webcams, drones and laser scanning, for contractors?

Troy Dahlin
Vice President, Heavy Construction, U.S./Canada
Leica Geosystems, part of Hexagon

Reality-capture solutions offer numerous benefits across the whole life cycle of a construction project for both building and civil infrastructure. During the design phase, laser scanning is essential to capturing existing conditions for architects and engineers to build 3D CAD models. Technologies like mobile mapping solutions can be used to capture large areas of terrain for highway development projects where bridges and/or tunnels are included. Drones are also useful solutions for capturing data for estimating and take off. Materials quantities can be precisely calculated, which ensures bids are accurate and on spec.

During site preparation, survey teams can rely on reality-capture solutions to measure areas of the jobsite that are difficult to capture with traditional global navigation satellite systems, such as underneath an overpass. Throughout construction, webcams using time-lapse technology and artificial intelligence make it fast and easy to automatically capture and document activity and safety, understand project status in seconds and share images and video with everyone involved.

Continuous scanning of a jobsite not only provides data for QA/QC verification, but also creates a digital twin of the asset as it’s being built. Developing technologies will soon enable this data to be captured autonomously through sensors on the machine. This data can then be provided to the owner during handover, enabling more efficient maintenance and operations for years to come.

Are paper-based plans and construction drawings becoming obsolete?

Varsha Bhave
Founder and President
Systemates Inc.

The move to living, digital records has transformed the construction landscape, especially during a time when stakeholders can be working on the same project from thousands of miles away. The ability to access and mark up documents in real time ensures everyone on the project has the very latest version, thereby cutting down on the amount of rework that happens when someone presses forward using outdated plans and drawings. Your organization benefits when everyone works from the same set of plans and is immediately notified when changes are made. An electronic system can automatically name, create versions, track, archive, retrieve and share documents.

The move to technology is also changing the way construction documentation is stored. Gone are the days when entire buildings were needed to keep paper documents safe and somewhat organized. Digital documents are much easier to search, sort and secure than their paper-based counterparts. And, you can reproduce documents when needed, not days later when someone finds them.

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