Software Advice Summaries of Construction News

on August 19, 2019

We scour the web for the most impactful construction management news. Here are the top news items affecting the construction industry right now.

Week of August 19, 2019

Robot swarms, the future of mixed reality, and more construction news

The construction industry must deal with an aging workforce
The construction industry workforce is getting older, and firms are already struggling with a skilled labor shortage. So how does a company hold onto those skilled workers? One way is by mitigating injuries. Injuries can be a costly problem for companies with aging workers, so construction managers should take proactive steps to prevent them such as implementing rotating schedules and robust safety programs. [Read more]

Swarms of robots may change construction
We’ve long talked about drones as a new technology that construction managers should take advantage of, but what about swarms of drones? Teams in Europe are examining using drone swarms for situations such as if a bridge is destroyed in an earthquake and a temporary structure needs to be built quickly. While this is very nascent technology, it’s something to keep an eye on, as drone swarms one day could be quite useful to construction managers—particularly in difficult-to-reach areas and dangerous environments. [Read more]

Construction managers should pay attention to mixed reality
Virtual reality and augmented reality are common terms in construction, but mixed reality is one that should not be left out. Mixed-reality tech combines real-world objects with digital content overlays in real-time. This is similar to augmented reality, but mixed reality doesn’t just overlay virtual objects in the real world, it anchors them as well, allowing you to interact with both the real world and the virtual environment. It could transform the construction industry by helping workers understand the relationship of complex conditions throughout a construction project. [Read more]

Construction management software Bridgit raises $1.5 million
A construction project management platform that already raised $6.2 million in a Series A back in March has just raised another $1.5 million in debt growth capital financing. Bridgit struck the deal with CIBC Innovation Banking as it expands to Bridgit Bench, a tool for resource planning just unveiled in the spring. The aggressive investment is a sign that this platform is one to watch. [Read more]

Week of August 12, 2019

Industry growth slows, the problem of construction waste, and more construction news

DIY is changing the construction industry
“Do it yourself” has been around for ages, but modern DIY is having an impact on the construction industry beyond what it did in the past. That’s because there’s more software options than ever before that can help even inexperienced people take on bigger and more complex projects. It also means people are often choosing to improve their homes rather than move to a new one, which has an impact on the housing market and new construction homes. [Read more]

Construction industry growth is slowing down
The construction industry continues to be adding jobs, but there are signs for concern: growth in July was the slowest it has been in the last six years. The industry added 202,000 construction jobs, a 2.8 percent increase compared to July 2018. But that is a steep drop from 5 percent, a rate the industry enjoyed last year. It’s a sign that construction managers should not be overconfident in the strength of the market. [Read more]

Dealing with the problem of construction waste
An interesting new report finds that as the Australian construction industry has grown in the last two decades, so has its output of trash, creating questions of what to do with it all. The construction industry in Australia produced 20.4 million tons of trash in 2017 from construction and demolition. The country may soon have to take action to make producers more responsible for their waste and create innovative ways of reducing the accumulation of it. [Read more]

Problems in the UK construction industry could have spillover effects
There’s more problems in the UK construction industry, which contracted for the third month in a row in July largely due to concerns about how Brexit will impact the industry. As a result, concern is growing among experts that this slowdown could have a spillover effect into other parts of the economy. Confidence in the sector is the lowest since 2012, and the lull could last for a while. [Read more]

Week of August 5, 2019

Bracing for a downturn, the future of the internet of things, and more construction news

Blockchain is changing construction—here’s how
Blockchain hasn’t really gained a foothold in construction yet, but that may be about to change. It has incredible power when it comes to recording and securing large amounts of numbers and transactions—vital for construction businesses that must manage and share a lot of data on complex projects, all while protecting it from unauthorized access. Blockchain has great potential to make construction projects much more efficient with all stakeholders on the same page. [Read more]

Is a construction industry downturn on the horizon?
The numbers have been looking great for a while in the construction industry, but one new report suggests that firms are bracing for a downturn. Research from the Federation of Master Builders found that companies are reorganizing their workforce and tightening up on hiring, preferring to bring on subcontractors instead. However, the skilled labor shortage could be a factor as well, as firms may not be hiring simply because they can’t find the workers they need. [Read more]

IoT has a growing impact on construction
The internet of things (IoT) has been a big trend in technology, but IoT and sensors are really coming into their own in the construction industry in recent years. Specifically, they are collecting job site data more efficiently, which helps stakeholders follow the construction of a building in real time and make adjustments on the fly. [Read more]

Solar energy helps construction firms close in on “zero-carbon” model
Construction firms are incorporating solar energy in new and interesting ways, and the technology is going to show up more and more in future buildings. It’s also helping firms get closer to a “zero-carbon” model—solar-powered buildings could be built by solar-powered construction firms, reducing net emissions to zero. [Read more]

Week of July 29, 2019

The future of eco-friendly construction, OSHA warns about opioids, and more construction news

Summer heat waves causing problems for construction industry
Temperatures are rising during this summer of record-breaking heat waves, resulting in productivity at construction sites going way down. As temps surge into the triple digits, construction companies are monitoring the health of their workers, giving them more breaks, or altering their work hours—and that means a dip in productivity. Construction managers need to factor in the heat as they make their summer plans, and adjust their expected labor expenditures accordingly. [Read more]

A new age of eco-friendly construction is coming
The construction industry is notoriously slow to adapt, but firms must start moving toward eco-friendly architecture in today’s environment in order to stay ahead of competitors—and to be more environmentally responsible. The construction industry is a significant contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions. As a construction manager, you should be looking to sustainable materials and other green building practices. [Read more]

OSHA warns suicide, drug overdoses a major problem in construction
OSHA is sounding the alarm about suicides and opioid-related deaths in the construction industry. The industry had one of the highest fatality rates in 2017 and is responsible for around 19% of all fatalities in the workplace based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A total of 25 fatalities could be attributed to self-inflicted intentional injuries in 2017. Construction managers should make resources available to workers who are dealing with severe depression or drug addiction. [Read more]

Week of July 22, 2019

Construction worker pay surges, the future of AI in construction, and more construction news

Procore snaps up project management software company
Construction software behemoth Procore has made its latest acquisition, taking on project management software company Honest Buildings Inc. “This acquisition will allow Procore to create the construction industry’s first full-stack platform,” the company said in a statement. The move is an indication of the growing importance of integrating financials with construction management software. [Read more]

U.S. contractor group calls for reforms as worker pay skyrockets
The Associated General Contractors of America expressed concerns over surging construction worker wages caused by a continuing shortage of skilled labor. The group says there are “too many over-qualified baristas and not enough bricklayers,” and education and immigration reforms are needed to solve the problem. It’s a sign that the ongoing labor shortage is a long way from being solved, and construction managers should be looking at apprenticeship programs to avoid hiring at sky-high rates. [Read more]

Here’s what’s next for AI in construction
The construction industry continues to be “under-digitized,” and artificial intelligence represents an important new tool for construction firms who want to get out ahead of their competition. Despite a significant up-front investment, AI is a potential gold mine for companies seeking a competitive edge. AI can theorize plumbing and electrical work, for example, through Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, potentially saving time as well as costs in the initial stages of the project. [Read more]

New construction job-training program unveiled in R.I.
Considering starting your own job-training program to deal with the ongoing skilled construction labor shortage? You might learn a thing or two from a new program unveiled in Rhode Island. The Real Jobs Rhode Island Program would partner employers with state labor and community college leaders to create training programs. It’s worth reaching out to your local labor and community college organizations to see if they have similar programs you could tap into. [Read more]

Week of July 15, 2019

Stable construction job growth, Brexit labor woes, and more construction news

Construction industry showing stable job growth
A new report from Associated Builders and Contractors indicates that the industry is experiencing stable job growth after adding 21,000 new jobs in June. Nonresidential construction employment is particularly strong, with 14,900 jobs added in June. The unemployment rate stands at a strong 4% and the future looks bright despite worries about a downturn at some point. [Read more]

How drones are changing the construction industry
Drones are tempting construction managers with promises of improving stubbornly-stuck productivity levels among contractors. While drones themselves may not be a game-changer—at least not yet—they can be combined with software to analyze data and boost productivity on a construction project. If you haven’t started looking at ways to use drones (for example, to conduct a survey), you should start now because adoption levels are rising among your competitors. [Read more]

Brexit may cause problems for the London construction industry
The construction industry in London is facing a skilled labor shortage similar to the U.S., and Brexit may be worsening this problem. Uncertainty about Brexit combined with an aging workforce may be causing issues for construction managers who are dealing with a “massive” skills gap. Construction managers should consider creating apprenticeship programs to deal with a labor skills gap. [Read more]

Data analysis could change the construction industry
Not all new technology in the construction industry is hardware: A report from Dodge Data & Analytics claims there’s been a significant change in the way that data is gathered on construction projects and analyzed by construction managers. The report found that 64% of respondents take advantage of new software tools to better gather and analyze data. Construction managers who want to stay competitive should take advantage of the data analysis tools available in today’s construction software. [Read more]

Week of July 8, 2019

UK construction industry hammered, tech woes, and more construction news

Not enough sand for construction industry despite abundance?
Sand may seem like something we’ll never run out of, but as demand for sand and gravel rises worldwide, some shortages are being reported. This is important news for construction managers that need sand, particularly for roads and buildings that contain ferroconcrete (another name for reinforced concrete). The problem is not a lack of sand, but a lack of permissions to extract it as well as the difficulty in finding affordable ways to transport the heavy material long distances. [Read more]

UK construction industry suffers worst month in a decade
Britain’s construction industry was hammered in June, recording its worst monthly performance in a decade. Concerns about how Brexit might disrupt the industry may be to blame, with many contractors taking a wait-and-see approach to commissioning projects. Construction managers should monitor the unfolding situation closely to learn how it may affect the global construction industry. [Read more]

Construction a massive untapped market for tech industry
A recent survey by the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) found that, in comparison to other industries, the construction industry as a whole has been slow to adopt technological advances—despite a high level of awareness about tech options among the construction companies surveyed. This represents a tremendous opportunity for construction managers willing to take risks and incorporate new technology such as automation and prefabrication, as firms that do so will have a leg up on their competitors. [Read more]

The Power of AI can radically improve the engineering & construction industry
Yet another recent survey found that the engineering and construction sector, worth $10 trillion globally per year, has been slow to adopt the latest innovations. In particular, the report highlights artificial intelligence as a major opportunity that construction firms just aren’t tapping into. The report points to image recognition, continuous design optimization, and project schedule optimization as key opportunities for construction managers. [Read more]

Week of July 1, 2019

Blockchain revolution, good economic outlook, and more construction news

Blockchain transactions poised to revolutionize the construction industry
Blockchain may finally be ready to make some serious inroads in the construction industry. As systems become more complex and with more money at stake than ever before, construction managers will need to avoid costly mistakes and may use blockchain-powered “smart” contracts to deal with project impacts in real time, like change orders or schedule adjustment. Blockchain can also be used in BIM modeling to improve coordination between stakeholders in designing a project. If you don’t know what the blockchain is, it’s time to bone up on it, because in the coming years it will be vital to your business. [Read more]

Construction data shows US contractors ‘highly confident’ in 12 month market outlook
Rumors of a market downturn appear to be unfounded, at least according to the majority of contractors in the United States who say they are “highly confident” they will have enough new business opportunities in the next 12 months, according to second quarter data from the 2019 USG Corporation + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index. That’s an 11% jump from the previous quarter, suggesting surging confidence in the construction industry in the underlying economic situation. [Read more]

Security by sector: construction industry ‘most vulnerable’ to phishing scams
A new report suggests that when it comes to phishing scams—when users are tricked into giving away vital data to malicious individuals or entities—no industry is more vulnerable than construction. The report, Phishing by Industry published by KnowBe4, found that employees in both the small and medium-sized business categories were most prone to fall victim to phishing. Construction managers may not think of their data in the same way that large IT firms do, but the reality is your data is also valuable and you need to take steps now to prevent phishing attacks in your business. [Read more]

The aging construction industry: keeping skilled employees longer
The construction industry is facing a labor shortage, but there may be an additional problem with the workers they have: they’re getting older. A new report from the National Association of Home Builders found the median age of construction workers was 42 years old, which is a full year older than the national median. In some states, the median age is as high as 45 years old. It’s an indication that the labor problem for construction managers is complex and multifaceted, and every firm should be working on a plan to address it. [Read more]

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