There is no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated a behaviour-change in one of the world's oldest industries: construction.
As the industry begins to shake off the lockdown effects and gain a newfound appreciation for digitization, many contractors are left wondering how to adopt construction technology (Contech) in a smarter way.
From running a safe site in the context of the pandemic to improving processes that create efficiencies, we explore how mid-size Canadian construction companies can leverage the impact of Contech on business continuity and remote project execution in four simple steps. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Start with a problem statement
For many construction company owners, particularly small and medium-sized companies—rebuilding the future while navigating today's start-stop-restart reality is the number one pain point. How can construction sites remain open and ensure work is progressing properly amid a lockdown? How do you begin to rethink what is possible and what technologies are available while trying to bring back some semblance of normalcy?
One way is to identify the gaps between your current working methods and your desired future state to create what is known as a problem statement. Ask yourself, how do our processes work now? Where do delays typically occur? Are our employees, project teams, and field crews well connected? By articulating the problem and quantifying its impact in terms of cost, time, importance, and urgency, you can establish the winning conditions for change and get closer to defining your technological goals.
Like many contractors, designers, and engineers, the goal may be to adopt digital collaboration tools such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), augmented reality, geospatial technologies, and Internet of Things (IoT) to help replan or rescale projects, and conduct inspections remotely.
Some organizations for example, have created centralized and digitized documentation to enable real-time information sharing amongst teams to provide a "single source of truth." Others are using field management software to conduct inspections, mark deficiencies with photos and task appropriate teams to fix, all on a mobile device.
2. Prioritize and plan
With so many Contech tools and stand-alone solutions on the market built to help project managers make schedules, monitor financials, and allocate project resources, how do busy owners and managers assess what makes sense for their business? Ideally, you want to find integrated software that covers all those areas. But then, what about the approach? Is it better to take an incremental path to technology adoption, or should you dive in at the speed of innovation?
Successful construction firms will take a hard look at each technological solution and its potential ROI to avoid choosing the wrong software solution. They will also assess how well the technology solves their challenge, improves their bottom line, and aligns with their strategic objectives. At BDO, we have helped many construction clients adopt an agile tech strategy through decision matrices and roadmaps that fit their current infrastructure.
3. Establish accountability and adoption
Creating a detailed strategy and infrastructure of accountability to roll out the new construction software across your business and various teams will help you gain momentum, focus, and seamless integration.
Ideally, the plan should contain a detailed description of the major tasks, roles, and responsibilities involved in the implementation process and the resources needed to support it.
Important things to consider include:
- Configuration of the software
- Data transfer from previous legacy systems
- Integration of other systems that need to talk to other applications
- Training for team members on using the software
- Forming an executive committee to set and oversee benchmarks
4. Measure back
This simple, but frequently overlooked final step, will help you ensure you are getting the outcomes you want. Define up-front what will be measured, by whom, how, and when you will analyze the results against your ROI. It is essential to include this in your Contech strategy to establish accountability, adoption, and whether you have reached your goal.
How BDO can help
Do you need help choosing the right Contech for your construction business? Our deep construction industry and IT expertise makes us well-positioned to support mid-size companies looking to optimize their business for today's competitive construction market. For more information, please contact:
Kyle Hulme, Vice President, Strategy and Operations, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jameson Bouffard, Partner, National Real Estate Construction, email@example.com