How to grow your construction business with connected construction

Imagine a sales team unable to communicate with customers when out of the office, or an architect forced to print plans before going to a job site. Or, if you’re a construction contractor struggling to get the best return on your technology investment, a construction team unsure how many required materials are available for a construction project, or when a dependent task will be completed. .

Connected building, which describes the network of people, equipment and other building resources connected by wireless technology, is the solution to these problems.

Yet our Top Technology Trends 2021 survey (methodology below) of small construction companies found that less than 80% of these companies felt technology was either very important or extremely important to their success. But we believe that number should be 100%, and that having the right technology in place is of the utmost importance for the success of everything construction companies.

In fact, if you’re not getting the return you expected from your digital technology, you should invest After time and resources in this technology rather than going backwards. In this article, we’ll look at some steps you can take to improve safety, communication, and accuracy by empowering your connected building technology.

1. Start by improving communication and transparency

The term “connected construction” may conjure up images of drones delivering construction materials and enhanced construction sites in augmented reality, but you don’t need such futuristic apps to see big results. In fact, the most effective way to see big gains from connected construction is to make sure everyone and everything in your business is on the same digital page and using integrated apps.

the the vast majority of construction workers are already equipped with smartphones, your teams are already paving the way for this digital transformation. Your challenge is to ensure that your project team uses this capability to communicate and share data as effectively as possible.

This can be done by selecting a mobile-friendly construction management system and ensuring that all your teams use it to communicate with each other and update budgets, schedules and other project data as enterprise-wide source of truth.

Once that’s in order, make sure all your vehicles and equipment are tagged and visible through your construction software’s fleet management system. This will allow managers to always know where vehicles and equipment are, what they are doing, and even what condition they are in.

If you don’t know where to start to launch a mobile device program, here’s an eight-step guide from Samsung with advice on setting objectives, identifying stakeholders and selecting the right suppliers.

2. Then grow with connected technology that improves safety and efficiency

Once your teams and equipment are connected and communicating on the same network, you should prioritize using this new connectivity to improve overall security and efficiency.

According to Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Laborconstruction fall protection, ladders, and scaffolding violations were all among the 10 most frequently cited OSHA violations in 2020.

So how can connected construction improve safety in these areas and save lives in the construction industry?

Here are some examples:

  • Digital security manuals and training procedures. When your workers are all equipped with smart devices and mobile-friendly EHS softwaresafety instructions are at their fingertips when they are about to perform a potentially dangerous task such as work on a raised platform on a building site.
  • Wearable technology. Connected construction allows contractors and other team members to wear smart helmets which can be equipped with GPS for real-time location sharing and contact tracing, cameras that allow security managers to monitor what remote workers are doing, and even impact sensors to speed up emergency response in the event of an accident.
  • Training in augmented and virtual reality. A worker might read a safety manual 10 times without really understanding the potential hazards of a certain job. But experiencing a hazardous material leak or explosion, or falling five stories from scaffolding in virtual reality will undoubtedly leave an impression they will remember when they are on the jobsite.

Watch this video from Digital Engineering and Magic to see what VR construction safety training looks like in action:



Working at Height VR Safety Training (Source)

3. Allocate resources to culture change

You may have the most advanced tools and systems, but if your team doesn’t use them properly, those purchases will just be a waste of time and costly resources. And that can cause difficulties when it comes to justifying further investment in connected building technologies. That’s why it’s so important to develop a plan to deploy your connected building technology and train your teams to use it.

How can you do this? Use connected construction to implement connected construction. It might be a bit long, but by doing it this way, your team can learn how to use the new technology by actually using it instead of reading a manual or watching a video.

Here’s a five-step process to ensure your connected building technology deployment is as successful as possible.

  1. Identify personnel and resources that will drive adoption of connected building technologies. Establish connected construction culture champions across teams to lead the way.
  2. Perform a technical audit to find out where you stand. What percentage of your team is already equipped with smartphones? Is your construction software mobile-ready? Are all your vehicles and equipment equipped with sensors that work with your software?
  3. Increase the technical budget as needed. Don’t starve your connected building technology program to death by not funding it. Be sure to budget for new mobile-friendly software, GPS-enabled sensors and beacons for equipment, cameras, and smartphones for workers who need them, for example.
  4. Ask employees about their pain points regarding the use of connected building technology. Do they need training? Are their devices able to work with your build software? Do you have a BYOD policy (bring your own device) in place to ensure everyone’s device is secure and capable?
  5. Prioritize a wish list of resources needed to achieve your connected building technology goals. Present this wish list to management, then implement new technology and modify the first stage if necessary.

Here are some more examples of how you can use connected construction to implement a connected construction culture:

  • Distribute digital training materials through personal mobile devices.

  • Train employees on connected vehicles and equipment and show them how sensors interact with central tracking systems.

  • Use virtual reality for safety training.

Ready to learn more about how technology can help your construction business?

As we have seen in this article, the term “connected construction” refers to a wide range of capabilities and technologies in the construction industry. And any modern construction company should take advantage of this connected construction technology to minimize risk, improve efficiency and ensure project success. By following the tips in this article to get the most out of your connected building technology, you’ll avoid confusion about resource availability and timelines.

Getting up to speed with Connected Building won’t be easy, but it’s worth it, and we’re here to help.


Methodology

2021 Gartner Survey of Top Technology Trends

This study was conducted to better understand the use of technology, needs, challenges and trends of small businesses. The research was conducted between August and October 2021 among 548 U.S. respondents from education, financial services, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, media, natural resources, retail retail and telecommunications.

Respondents were selected for the job categories of President, CEO, Owner or Sole Proprietor, General Manager, C-level Executive, Business Unit Manager, Vice President, Director, Functional Head (Manager and Senior ) and office manager, and needed to have some level of influence over software and technology decisions. Additionally, participants’ businesses had to be in operation for 12 months or more, have between two and 500 employees, and generate between $5 million and $250 million in revenue.

The study was developed collaboratively by Gartner analysts and the primary research team.

Warning: The results of this study do not represent global results or the market as a whole, but reflect the sentiment of respondents and surveyed companies.

Michael J. Chiaramonte