This morning, James Benham, technologist and CEO of JBKnowledge, talked to the 2016 AGC Conference in a session about emerging construction technologies. JBKnowledge works with around 750 contractors providing technology information and solutions.
James began the talk with four reasons why the construction industry needs to adopt more technology. Construction is lagging behind other industries when it comes to spending on IT, and increasing our use of tech will result in:
- Greater Margins-Construction is still stuck with relatively low margins on projects. This is due to a reluctance to adopt new technology. Many companies are afraid of the cost of technology, and forget that technology delivers a return on investment. Do not reject expensive tech because of the price. If it has the ROI then it is worth the money.
- Greater Complexity-The buildings that owners are interested in these days are becoming more and more complex. In some instances technology is becoming a requirement for completion. For example, the Burj al Arab in Dubai would not have been possible without the input of BIM technology.
- Improved Safety-Injuries on the job site are incredibly expensive. There are emerging technologies that can improve everything from hard hats to safety vests. These changes result in safer job sites with fewer accidents and their accompanying costs.
- Better Worker Quality of Life-There are current technologies that can complete some of the more menial and repetitive tasks on sites. It is a fact that workers do not enjoy doing these things and the tech allows work efforts to be used on more fulfilling tasks. This results in happier and more productive workers.
The thing about new technology is that there is not one that is going to be a magic fix for the rest of your construction career. The key to capturing the competitive advantage is to continuously be on the cutting edge of tech. You have to have an approach of constantly adopting new technology to keep on a sustainable path of maintaining a competitive advantage.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend sitting in on one of James' talks. He was super informative and entertaining. If you can't see him in person, you can catch him on his podcast called ConTechTrio. The podcast features James (@JamesMBenham), Rob McKinney (@conappguru) and Josh Bone (@BIM2theBone) discussing construction technologies.