Building Construction Software Technology

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Building Construction Software Technology: Case Studies

The selection of construction software delivers operational efficiencies and cost optimization opportunities for construction companies. Wright Contracting selection of Jonas Construction software delivered project management tools that delivered project collaboration organization processes streamlining opportunities. The Beck Group selection of Procore Management software delivered cost, labor and time savings in its construction projects.

WRIGHT CONTRACTING

THE BECK GROUP

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Building Construction Software Technology: Challenges

The most significant technological challenges/concerns of manufacturers and suppliers in building construction include the adoption and implementation of new technologies, discerning the right technologies/software/apps to use, lack of collaboration between systems and organizations, and cybersecurity.

TECHNOLOGICAL CHALLENGES

1. ADOPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION

2. DISCERNING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGIES/SOFTWARES/APPS TO USE

  • Material suppliers have to adapt to innovations in different spheres of the industry, and this requires that they be able to search for, discern, and be updated with the best technologies and apps/software in inventory and delivery tracking, contract lifecycle management, and cash flow management, amongst others.
  • Suppliers thus encounter challenges in trying to identify the best-suited technologies, software, and apps to adopt, as some might not be useful in their operations and because they do not have the same functionalities.

3. LACK OF COLLABORATION BETWEEN SYSTEMS AND ORGANIZATIONS

  • Another significant challenge for manufacturers in the construction industry is a lack of collaboration and access to seamless data.
  • For example, "a large construction engineering organization may operate with 30 or 40 different applications in their organization, but the challenge for them is how seamlessly they can migrate the data from one application to another."
  • The ability to collaborate with other manufacturers and fabricators using high accuracy data in 3D models have created opportunities in modular and pre-construction that were unthinkable 20 years ago. However, this process is slow, as "many construction companies want claims made by vendors about improved productivity, safety and prefer to buy into a technology only after another company, especially a competitor, has successfully used it."

4. CYBERSECURITY

  • While manufacturers and suppliers in building construction are beginning to rely more on technology and software for their services and operations in building construction, they risk exposure to potentially-crippling cyber-attacks.
  • While most of these companies feel that they are hardly at risk, "ransomware attacks and data breaches can target proprietary data including project designs, bid information, materials pricing, employee data, financial records, and more.
  • As such, they have to readdress their security plans to go beyond safeguarding email addresses and consider the vulnerabilities of different "project management software, mobile devices, online collaboration tools, financial applications, and more."

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To obtain the biggest technology concerns/challenges faced by manufacturers and suppliers in the building construction industry, we leveraged several industry reports from companies and research journals such as Handle, MDPI, Science Direct, and GoContractor, among others. We found a lot of information regarding digitization in the construction industry as a whole, and little that was tailored to the US alone. Also, most reports available provided info about how digitization will propel the industry forward, without mentioning any negatives/problems due to digitization, and some were not focused on building construction manufacturers and suppliers. As such, we could not find a pre-compiled list of the most significant challenges faced by the manufacturers and suppliers within this industry. However, we found a few sources such as GoContractor, McClone, and Handle (both US company reports), which mentioned some concerns and challenges in the industry, which we used to compile the list presented. We then researched further on those findings to provide a more robust outlook of what these challenges are. However, some reports consulted did not provide country-specific information, but rather a general overview of those challenges for the industry. We used the findings from these sources nonetheless, because they corresponded with our findings from the US-tailored reports.
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Building Construction Software Technology: Disruptions

Virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, and construction management software are three of the biggest technology or startup disruptions that have had a significant impact on the construction industry in the past five years.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

  • Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) have significantly disrupted the construction industry in the past five years because this technology is allowing construction professionals like architects and builders to "test every centimeter of a building in an artificial computer environment."
  • Professionals use VR goggles and software to visualize how a project will look when completed. All aspects of the building can be examined using this technology, including HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing, and more.
  • In that virtual environment, professionals can detect where coordination errors may occur and avoid them when actually building the structure. In addition, safety concerns for employees can be addressed before they ever arrive on site.
  • VR and AR impacted the construction market by preventing injuries to workers, avoiding costly and wasteful change orders, providing better team coordination, and essentially improving "efficiency during every step of the construction process.
  • Iris VR, located in New York, NY, is at the forefront of the construction VR disruption. Its system allows builders and architects to communicate their vision to their clients, make quick decisions, and catch costly coordination problems.

3D Printing

  • In construction, 3D printing is used to "create very detailed models as well as particular real-size objects or parts of them that are difficult to produce."
  • 3D printing has disrupted the industry by allowing structures to be built in a fraction of the time they have traditionally taken. In fact, the entire building process is sped up exponentially and far fewer resources are used
  • Moreover, design constraints that are often limited to rectangular shapes are no longer in place because with 3D printing "curvilinear forms are possible without the cost and process limitations of rectangular processing."
  • The engineering process can also be simplified through 3D printing as a structural order can be placed and immediately projected to a 3D printer, which can be operated by a single person.
  • ICON, located in Austin, TX, is a leading 3D printing company for the construction industry. It "creates printers, robotics, and advanced materials that are revolutionizing homebuilding."

Construction Management Software

  • Construction management software that uses AI and machine learning has transformed the industry by providing detailed analytics and reports, measuring and managing building materials stored in warehouses, predicting material procurement, and receiving automatic invoices.
  • This software also has the capability of storing large amounts of data from other technology disruptors such as drones, 3D printing, and other digital services.
  • The mobile component of some construction software allows technology to be available on-site, which reduces costs and paperwork.
  • Another way construction management software has impacted the market is by allowing changes made in the office to be immediately relayed to on-site workers, saving both time and money.
  • Procore, located in Carpinteria, CA, is a leader in the construction management software space. It offers a single platform to manage projects, resources, and project financials.

Research Strategy

To find the "biggest" technology or startup disruptions that have made a significant impact on construction in the past five years, we used a variety of industry publications such as BuiltIn, ForConstructionPros, ConstructionDive, and others that provided articles on the disruptions that have impacted the industry the most in the last few years. We selected the three that were mentioned most often across all publications. The details for these disruptors were then sought from these same articles, Crunchbase, and leading company websites.
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Building Construction Software Technology: Major Investments

Three major investments made by private equity firms in the construction market with a focus on software and digital transformation are SoftBank Vision Fund's investment in Katerra, Tiger Global Management's investment in Procore, and Blackhorn Ventures' investment in Rhumbix. The details of each investment are below.

Katerra

Procore

  • Procore offers a cloud-based construction management platform that allows construction managers to "connect the entire business process from bidding to closeout with every member of [their] team working together in the same system."
  • It is located in Carpinteria, California.
  • Tiger Global Management, which has a private investment vehicle, invested $75 million in Procore on December 14, 2018.
  • The reason Tiger Global Management invested in Procore is that its funds are focused "on the global Internet, technology, telecom, media consumer and industrial sectors."

Rhumbix

Research Strategy

The details for each investment were straightforward and were obtained from reliable sources such as the companies' own websites, Crunchbase and Global Newswire. These are considered some of the biggest investments made by private equity firms in the construction market because they were all highlighted as some of a "handful of sizable investments in companies" by Curbed, a reputable publication in the housing industry.
Sources
Sources