Aligning the Construction and Technology Sectors

Construction is changing. With a skilled labour shortage and other pressures affecting our industry, it is more important than ever to innovate and become a future-forward construction company. New technologies that help us become more productive and efficient are critical to moving the construction industry forward, but can also feel overwhelming at times.

This past year, we surveyed over 300 construction companies in all eight economic regions of British Columbia to understand the current state of Construction Technology in the province.

Why is there a need for better integration between Construction and Technology?

Construction and technology have been a part of the strategic alignment for the BC Construction Association (BCCA) for the past few years. We want to create new inroads and awareness for the adoption of technology within the construction sector. BCCA is confident through the deployment of our State of Construction Technology Survey, that we can better align our large construction industry with the innovation and attitudes that exist within the tech sector.

Why is there a looming skills shortage in the construction industry?

The predictors from labour force surveys indicate we will have a skilled labour shortage just shy of 8,000 people by 2028. The construction industry has an aging workforce, many of whom will retire in the next 15-20 years, and we aren’t replacing these skilled workers fast enough through our K-12 systems, immigration systems, and through our recruitment processes to fill this gap. One of the culture points that needs to change is the way we want youth, the construction sector, and the tech sector to work together. The youth eventually replacing our aging-construction workforce will have certain expectations of the tech available in our industry.

Why has the construction industry not adopted tech as fast as other industries?

Despite a number of construction companies throughout all our regions embracing technology, the vast majority are small to medium-sized businesses that are busy, working, and building don’t allocate the time or resources to invest or research new technologies. These technologies would likely help them be even more productive, efficient, and successful in their businesses in the long-term. The construction industry is currently building $115 billion worth of projects, and $260 billion is on the horizon. There is an opportunity for the tech sector to pay attention to our industry, and there is a need for better alignment between those who are providing emerging construction technologies.

What did the State of Construction Technology survey find?

We surveyed 320 companies across 8 economic regions who were generally aware of some construction technology, had some implementation issues, and were of an older demographic. The adoption strategy or willingness to change is a challenge in the industry, and while technologies do exists for the industry, there is a need for more integration and harmonization between the tech sector and the construction.

The younger generation entering the industry is coming in with technological expectations. We have vested interest in keeping the construction workforce vibrant, at full capacity, and inspiring for new workers. The tech sector, who are already building for tomorrow, are thinking ahead by implementing strategies and technologies that are going to transform our world. Construction is instrumental in that discussion as we continue to construct our built environment.

For the full results, see our ConTech Survey Results page.

Who is responsible for a large unawareness among the various construction companies that these new technologies and tools exist?

Neither sector is responsible for the large unawareness or adoption, this is an opportunity for both sectors to come together. By raising this issue, it’s a call out to our entire industry for the adoption and for investment in technology and our own future.

How can tools such as 3D printing, robotics, and drones play in the conversation for the construction industry?

There are many applications throughout the globe where there is greater adoption of drone technology and robotics. BC will be moving forward as we have our large general contractors and sub-trades interested in exploring applications and adopting them for their projects. From the tech sector perspective, we need to continue to seek out areas where we can introduce some of these technologies and market to companies within a very large sector.

Where can technology, such as drones, be helpful on the job site?

On some job sites, there are examples where drones are utilized to provide video imaging of the site so supervisors are alerted of potentially dangerous situations. Drones can also be sent out on a daily schedule to capture photos of a job site and these can be used in project scheduling, surveying land, as well as for safety purposes.

How might technology impact the overall cost of construction?

Companies want to be efficient, productive, and safe. When building at a world-class standard, there is a competitive requirement to build structures that don’t compromise integrity. If we continue to invest in our future, then British Columbia will continue to thrive.

Learn More

For the full results, see our ConTech Survey Results page.

In the meantime, if you are a construction or software company using or building technology to benefit the construction sector, we’d love to hear from you - send us an email or share your story on social media using the #ConTechBC hashtag. There’s never been a better time to be in construction than now, and we’re willing to bet that ConTech in 2019 will prove to be even more exciting!






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July 04, 2019

Aligning the Construction and Technology Sectors

Construction is changing. With a skilled labour shortage and other pressures affecting our industry, it is more important than ever to innovate and become a future-forward construction company. New technologies that help us become more productive and efficient are critical to moving the construction industry forward, but can also feel overwhelming at times.
Read More
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