Survey of construction pros reveals industry tech trends

James Benham

See the 2018 [report] ( .

Data security, automation, and a rising demand for digital modeling are three technology trends impacting the building industry in 2018, said James Benham, Texas A&M guest lecturer of [construction science] ( and CEO of [JBKnowledge, Inc.] (

The trends were revealed in the sixth annual [Construction Technology Report] ( , a survey headed by Benham and sponsored by JBKnowledge, a Bryan-based firm that develops technology solutions for construction and insurance companies. The firm’s survey partners also include the Texas A&M Department of Construction Science.

More than 2,600 industry pros answered survey questions relating to their firms’ information technology budget and staff, data security, mobile device strategy, research and development, software and building information modeling use, and emerging technologies.

In a report summarizing the survey’s findings, Benham said that data security is a key industry issue because the lines between personal and corporate data, hardware, and software on the jobsite are blurring.

“Contractors opt to use their own devices and try personal solutions to solve short-term jobsite problems,” he said.

In another survey finding, automation has arrived in the construction industry and will gain traction, said Benham. “Education about what automation means for each company is key.”

Building information modeling’s influence on how construction projects are bid and won will continue to rise, said Bentham. “Companies still not exploring BIM will find themselves more and more limited in areas of work.”

Also, he said, as building companies continue to digitize their employees’ workflows, the need for integrating data across multiple devices and applications will increase.

“To remain competitive, tech providers will have to continue to develop solutions that offer builders simplicity and data continuity,” he said.

Firm leaders, Benham said in the report summary, should create a culture of “geeking out” to help employees become comfortable with tech.

“In the office and on the construction site, firms should investigate how tech games, contests and other incentives can encourage employees, no matter their role on construction projects, to adopt new technology as a step to ensure companies get their money's worth on every tech investment.”

Bentham said firms can also benefit by expanding IT staff, especially the position of construction technologist, a IT team member with construction management experience who can solve problems that costly, unspecialized third-party resources cannot.

Richard Nira

posted March 5, 2018