Construction Dive recently analyzed general contractors' responses to a survey, JBKnowledge 2018 ConTech Report, to see whether progress is being made regarding technology adoption in the construction industry, according to www.constructiondive.com.
Of 786 respondents, 41.5 percent indicated their companies' attempts to adopt technology are limited by lack of staff that can support new technology. Additionally, 40.7 percent said they were limited by budget, and 33.2 percent said hesitant management limited technology adoption.
More than a third of respondents (35.4 percent) said their company has two to five people on staff who research and implement new technologies full-time; however, 27.1 percent of participants responded that no one at their company occupies that role.
Forty-nine percent of respondents said their company has a technology research and development budget, and 51 percent said their company does not. Reasons given for not having a research and development budget included it being unimportant; important but not a priority for management; and the processes to launch tech are still new or developing.
Almost all respondents—92.2 percent—use smartphones on the job site, and 65.4 percent use tablets. Additionally, about 57 percent of respondents report their firms use drone technology. Meanwhile, some contractors continue to avoid building information modeling (BIM), with 28 percent of respondents saying their companies do not bid on projects involving BIM. Fifty-nine percent of respondents are using BIM for coordination and clash detection, followed by project visualization, project planning and virtual mockups.
Regarding technologies that have not yet become commonplace, respondents are most excited about augmented, virtual and mixed reality, with about 32 percent of respondents saying they believe they will provide their firm a strategic advantage. About 32 percent selected prefabrication, followed by job-site sensors, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
All respondents said their firms use multiple software applications across workflows, but nearly a quarter said there are no integrations across platforms. In fact, about 53 percent said employees have to manually transfer data across applications; about 47 percent said they transfer data via spreadsheets; and nearly 28 percent transfer data via custom-built integrations.