Technology and artificial intelligence (AI) are making their presence known in the construction industry. Many top firms have found seen vast improvements to safety, productivity and quality with this new construction tech in use. The 21stcentury has secured data and analytics at the forefront of virtually every industry, with construction being no exception. They range from large-scale enterprise platforms to standalone web-based systems with niche purposes. Regardless of the complexity, they all have one crucial characteristic in common, which is proof of impact (many times dramatic impact) in case studies. Success breeds success, and the spotlight on these construction tech tools will only gather in strength as more top firms implement them and the evidence mounts.
Current State of the Workforce
Technology is born out of needs, and one of the primary driving forces behind construction tech is the workforce and where it is trending. Unemployment levels are at an all-time low, resulting in a tight labor market that requires an increased priority on employee retention. Several varying estimates on the true cost of attrition to a business have been reported. Although there is variance, a commonality is seen that losing a single employee will cost over $100,000 after the recruiting process and training. Couple this with the increasingly millennial workforce, which has placed further emphasis on prioritizing development, and the needs become clear. The needs for retention and development see an increase in their focus, while safety needs always remain priority number one within the industry.
Productivity and Performance Technology
Several tech companies are jockeying for position to be the top productivity and performance solution within the industry, although construction firms have been lagging in their adoption of these systems. One of these companies, Performance Scoring, released a 2019 study finding that within one industry of the construction sector only 10% of companies utilize a performance management system. As a standalone performance management platform, Performance Scoring brings objective performance data to construction companies and reports in real-time where performance is high and the areas where improvements are needed. This platform offers a long-term development and retention solution to companies that will evolve as the company evolves, and the workforce evolves. These productivity tools are a space for continuous employee coaching and feedback that will increase in prominence at top construction firms as the workforce trends continue to play out. Effective performance tools that are long-term solutions tie together all aspects of high-performance construction companies into one system, and their benefits go far beyond just retention and employee development, according to the Performance Scoring website.
Artificial Intelligence and Safety
As mentioned previously, safety will always be the number-one concern within construction for obvious reasons. The leading-edge construction software for safety uses advanced AI that will identify the risks of a jobsite from photos and videos. The AI reports on safety risks which lead to a proactive strategy at a company to eliminate safety liabilities. Other available construction technology monitors the movement patterns of equipment and people to improve safety and efficiency. These enterprise platforms have dashboards that report on daily risks and quality to ensure safety is always of paramount importance. A decade ago, these AI advances in safety were unfathomable to many, but fortunately for employees they are continuing to increase their foothold and their intelligence. It is an absolute certainty that construction technology focused on safety will continue to thrive and see innovative developments that secure their need well into the future.