Technology Overload?

Earlier today I ran across an interesting post on ENR’s Blog Site by Dr. Patrica Galloway called Are More “Widgets” Better?” . I thought I would use this opportunity to discuss my thoughts on Technology in the construction industry and how Less is sometimes More.

2008 Construction Spending

It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the construction industry has a tendency to lag behind other industries when it comes to technology, research and development. We are one of the only industries that builds it’s final product at full scale, for the first time, outside in the elements. This is one of the unique and challenging aspects of construction that creates the love-hate opinion we often have about the business. Technology is helping us better manage some of these challenges with everything from project management software, GPS tracking, and virtual modeling . More and more products are going to continue to enter our market as the technology world realizes that construction is a $4.6Trillion dollar industry and the United States controls nearly 23% of the market ($1.06Trillion). If you’re wonder where this money is spent the above is a chartshould help. Considering the size of the industry we have had little investment in technology over the years until now, the secrets out, more and more money is going to be spent on technology in the construction industry.

So as we start to see more and more construction related technology products enter the market companies need to be investing in products that are easy to use and provide the greatest return on their investment. If you need a computer science major to explain how to use the thing it may not be the best tool for your company, less is sometimes more. Use technology that you and your employees understand. It may be as simple as managing your progress photos online or maybe your firm may be ready to start building 4-D BIM Schedules. Companies need to find products that meet their basic needs. Make sure you’ve thought about how the new product will be implemented and used throughout your company and with your clients. Make sure your new technology fits your company. There’s a lot of good products out there, focus on the ones that are easy to use and meet your needs.

*United States Spending on Construction – 2008
Residential $     344,447,000


Commercial $     197,162,000


Health Care $       45,860,000


Educational $     105,552,000


Religious $        6,720,000


Recreation $       22,588,000


Telecom $       23,227,000


Manufacturing $       66,515,000


Public Infrastructure $     248,007,000


Total $  1,060,078,000


* Davis Langdon – World Construction 2007-2008