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How the Technological Evolution is Transforming the Construction Industry

Laura Smith, Virtual Construction Specialist, Miron Construction

How the Technological Evolution is Transforming the Construction IndustryLaura Smith, Virtual Construction Specialist, Miron Construction

  1. In your opinion, how has the Construction industry evolved over the years?

Looking at virtual construction within Miron over thepast five years, our department has doubled in size. We believe that trend will continue and we’ll see our department double again in the next five years.

Until recently,virtualconstruction wasn’t a common industry term. It was often a person in the corner of the office working on an oversized computer doing “BIM stuff.”Everyone was unsure what that person was doing and was too intimidated to even ask. Now, it’s a standard tool in the industry. The majority of our projects have a dedicatedvirtual construction specialist assigned to them from start to finish. Whatfelt before like a forced subject when we talked about BIM or virtual services is now acommon workflow.
 

2. What are some of the advantages of the current technological evolution?

There are a lot of options available and very little room for excuses when it comes to technological capabilities. There are so many software and hardware options to use and learn from that it creates this platter of services and options that I’ve never seen before. The days of,“We couldn’t do this because of this” or “We didn’t have this in time”are gone.

So much can be done virtually from anywhere at any time. If a stakeholder can’t make a meeting in person, it’s no problem.

They can attend virtually. If an owner can’t walk the site, we can take a 360 video of the project and share it.If a specific area of the project is difficult to understand, we can provide a link to a 4D to illustrate how we are going to put it together.My specialty is preconstruction, and the advancement of technology has changed the game. We are constructing a building multiple times before we ever put a shovel in the ground, andbecause of that we are able toget buy-in early on from all our trade partners.

3. What according to you are some of the challenges plaguing the Construction industry and how can they be effectively mitigated?
 

The obvious answer would be the supply chain issues stemming from the current state of our economy. It’s affecting us in every aspect of our lives, so we are certainly familiar with it.It’s become standard to have long-leadtimes, product changes, and increased pricing. That said, our clients are understanding about the reality of the situation, but I think a large part of that is also because we have an amazing team of people who are finding ways to manage the challenges the market presents. Whether it’s suggesting different product options, breaking up packages so we can bid out work earlier and get the product on time, or being creative with scheduling and manpower, we are finding ways to navigate escalating prices and shipping delays.

Within ourvirtual construction department, we are specializing in different phases of construction so we can put more time into effectively planning and preparing for these uncertainties. Given my role in the preconstruction process, I am involved very early in the preplanning of our projects. The topics of concern are brought to the surface right away to effectively plan forand visually convey concerns or strategize with the owner.

4. Which are a few technological trends influencing the Construction industry today?

The advancement of laser scanning is definitely influencing the industry.

The device enhancements, ways you can laser scan, and efficiency of collecting the laser scanhas changed at a rapid rate. With these advancements, there’s not much room for error. You can take a laser scan of an existing space and have that precise data for design, coordination, and construction.Another trend I’m seeing is the elimination of silos. Being able to connect different software platforms to enhance productivity and viewing has come a long way. I was a naysayer a few years ago because what they said the softwarecould do and what it actually didwere two completely different things. Now, they are starting put the pieces together. You can easily connect your project management software to estimating or modeling software. If you want to add cost managementin the mix or include a dashboard to manage those changes, it’s no longer a problem. This technology has come a long way, and I only see it getting better from here. I am becoming a believer

5. What are some of the best practices businesses should adopt today to steer ahead of competitors?

Providing a quality product is not easy, even with the advancements in technology. You still have toput the time and effort in; technology can’t do it all for you. The saying,“You get what you pay for” still holds true. It comes down to really listening to your client and making sure you are thinking about all the details. The proof is in the details.

6. Do you have any advice for industry veterans or budding entrepreneurs from the Construction industry?
 

Don’t lose sight of the goal at hand just because you want to showcase your skills or show how much you already know. I have sat in many meetings where the topic being discussed is pushed aside because people become focused on showing off what they can do or what they have already done instead of really listening to what the other person needs. Allowing yourself to create that space to listen is a very powerful tool. Once you listen to what a client or partner wants, then you can go knock their socks off with that powerful 4D or visual you have been excited to show them.

 

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