Whether it is bringing the innovations of a smart home to reality, shaping the future of sustainable architecture, or improving civil infrastructure, the construction industry plays a vital role in urban as well as societal developments. Yet, it is hard for small- and mid-sized construction companies to take advantage of cutting edge developments because of the upfront cost and scale.
But it doesn't have to be that way. If you find your construction business to be another needle in the haystack, here are five ways how you can stand out in the highly competitive industry taking advantage of new technology.
1. Use Cost Estimating Software
The thing about construction projects is that it is a client-driven process, shaped by budgets. Therefore, cost estimation controls a construction business' life-cycle. And the order of the cost would stream inputs from multiple sources.
Your costs are broken down into the categories of direct and indirect costs:
Direct cost involves the mainstream prerequisites such as the bill of quantities, including labor charges, equipment, as well as compliance fees.
Indirect cost involves supplementary essentials such as utilities, security, hardware, etc.
A cost breakdown is essential to understand the multiple layers of construction plans and make accurate, precise quotes.
Customers want fast, accurate price quotes on projects, but construction firms generally see speed as the enemy of accuracy. But the longer a construction company takes to come up with a quote, the more likely that customers will shop around or choose another firm, even if they end up costing more or doing worse work.
If you can present an accurate quote on the spot, customers are sure to be impressed.
Such fast, accurate quotes can be a reality now with the availability of commercial contractor software. This software technology is developed for high precision and the fast cost estimation required by contractors. It’s capable of creating diverse scopes of work and making line-by-line estimates of all costs.
2. Take Advantage of Robotics and Automation
Artificial Intelligence is a technology that leverages machine learning and computing processes to capture information and data through inputs set by users or the staff. The computing device can analyze a job in the form of patterns and codes. Thus we have a machine to perform the regular jobs and repeat-tasks with far more speed, accuracy, power, and precision than manual calculations. This technology also plays into the development of automation and robotics.
The usability of AI and robotics, however, is still at a nascent stage in the construction industry. But since the advancements of technology depends on the gaps left by traditional work processes, it is only a matter of time for contractors to consider a digital shift. The construction industry is crucial to economic stability, which runs at an estimated revenue of $10 trillion, and it is believed to grow up to $1.6 trillion with the increased production speed offered by AI and robotics.
So how can construction companies incorporate this technology into their business? It can be the choice of equipment and systems that will help in the following:
Raise the consistency of skilled labor
Construction design and planning
Autonomous and robotic equipment
Real-time monitoring and management of projects
3. Implement the Use of Drones
The time and precision needed for land surveying in construction projects may be reduced by half with the use of a drone, and that’s just one of the many benefits of this sophisticated machine. Drones are little, unnamed miniature aircraft that come with several features, such as built-in sensors or cameras. A drone pilot would control the craft remotely.
Originally devised for military surveillance, drones are now widely used for commercial purposes, notably construction. The little flying machines can be used in construction sites for imaging and data collection, getting real-time projections of the site, curtailing costs and time for various surveys and estimation, creating maps, and monitoring labor safety. In order to use drones for commercial purposes, construction companies would require an FAA license. There are several training schools in the US that train and certify individuals to use drones.
4. Embrace Green Technology
In the face of mounting climate change, green technology has stepped up. Green tech is all about using elementary methods and materials to construct a building that helps sustain the environment. It includes objectives like energy efficiency, waste management, use of materials low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), and endorsing new innovations owing to sustainable building.
Since buildings and infrastructure are a great cause of deforestation and environmental pollution, if more and more contractors are willing to endorse green technologies, it may aid bridging the gap between nature and urbanization. This is a sensitive issue and a highly valuable avenue worth pursuing to gain a competitive edge. Building Information Modelling, for instance, is highly functional technology for planning, designing, and managing construction projects that can help contractors analyze the performance of buildings, concerning energy, water supply, communication, gas, sewage, and waste.
5. Incorporate the Use of Prefabricated and Modular Buildings
Did you ever think that buildings can be made in factories? With modular and prefabricated construction, either an entire building or parts of the building are prefabricated in an off-site workshop and assembled on-site, like modular furniture.
Prefab building is actually an ancient technique with sundry examples from both Western and Eastern cultures. Unfortunately, it is still a niche in the modern construction industry. Many contractors have a preconceived notion that prefab buildings are only for tiny homes or motorhomes, whereas they hold great potential for building apartment blocks, prefabricated steel building components, and faster housing development after a disaster like an earthquake. Prefabricated and modular buildings help the construction company get ahead of the competition through:
Faster completion of the project
Reduced on-site inefficiency
Reduced weather-related delays
Reduced energy consumption
Better scope at BIM and design exploration
Evolve With The Building Evolution
No matter what your brochure says, what’s on your website, or how creative you are with your marketing campaigns, you need to be truly innovative to stand above the competition. Evolve with the newer advancements that are good for both nature and people. Have a voice of your own that speaks toward the greater benefits of not just your industry, but also those of the society and environment.