Laying the foundation for construction's IT future
INSIGHT ARTICLE |
Authored by RSM US LLP
The construction industry has seen gains in employment since April 2020, despite overall declines in spending, as workers were brought back to complete necessary emergency projects and jobs begun prior to the pandemic. While employment has pushed upward the past three months, total spending has decreased since a peak in February.
Despite the decline in spending, the Dodge Construction Momentum Index, a measure of the first report for nonresidential building projects in planning, saw its first increase of 2020 in July, moving up 3.4%, and suggesting there might be a pick-up in in construction in the second half of the year.
As construction companies continue to deal with the fallout from coronavirus, they should look toward technology to help grow their operations. The pandemic has expedited a significant digital transformation across many industries. Schools and offices have moved to living rooms and kitchen tables, increasing the need for more space at home and faster internet speeds through fiber broadband. Meanwhile, retailers are tracking even more online transactions as consumers shy away from stores. Construction companies should look to participate in this digital transformation, both on and off the jobsite, to build flexible and resilient operations that can promote long-term growth.
We have noted below some recent trends in these areas through discussions with clients.
Jobsite technology trends
With significant social distancing measures and safety guidelines being put into place, contractors are turning to virtual management tools and new onsite technologies to help maintain productivity and prevent delays on jobsites. One notable tool that has gained popularity among construction workers is Spot-R by Triax Technologies. The Spot-R technology uses a wearable sensor for employees (also a tag for equipment) that provides real-time worker activity. This technology provides multiple benefits to contractors including:
- Elevating jobsite management: the technology replaces workers’ badges to get onto a jobsite and provides supervisors with real-time and historic information on who was on the jobsite, when they arrived and where they worked (zones and levels).
- Increased visibility into employee interactions: the technology tracks employee movement and proximity to others on the jobsite, which can help companies assess individual employee risk in the event of COVID-19 infection.
- Improved worker safety: the Spot-R contains a push-button, which alerts superintendent or safety managers in real-time of safety issues and their location.
This technology and others like it are helping construction companies remain open and safe through the pandemic.
Off jobsite technology trends
In addition to the increased use of technology on jobsites, contractors have also identified a need for off-jobsite technology to help keep operations moving forward. In one recent roundtable discussion between RSM and several construction executives, a key theme noted was that each of the companies represented had either recently undergone or was in process of implementing Procore, a construction management software tool, to allow better collaboration among personnel as employees are forced to practice social distancing, with many off-jobsite employees working remotely from their homes.
Additionally, construction management software is becoming more sophisticated to allow for better interaction with other software platforms, providing greater visibility for users of these systems. One example is the integration between Procore and Prophix (a corporate performance management software tool). Integrating Prophix and Procore allows construction companies to automate job cost reporting, WIP reporting, forecasting and cash flow projections from a single platform.
This article was written by Nick Grandy and originally appeared on 2020-08-24.
2020 RSM US LLP. All rights reserved.
RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each is separate and independent from RSM US LLP. RSM US LLP is the U.S. member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax, and consulting firms. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit rsmus.com/about us for more information regarding RSM US LLP and RSM International. The RSM logo is used under license by RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM US LLP.
Harding, Shymanski & Company, P.S.C. is a proud member of RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the United States. RSM US Alliance provides our firm with access to resources of RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM US LLP is a licensed CPA firm and the U.S. member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries.
Our membership in RSM US Alliance has elevated our capabilities in the marketplace, helping to differentiate our firm from the competition while allowing us to maintain our independence and entrepreneurial culture. We have access to a valuable peer network of like-sized firms as well as a broad range of tools, expertise and technical resources.
For more information on how Harding, Shymanski & Company, P.S.C. can assist you, please call (800) 880-7800.