Integrating Tech in Construction Is an Investment, Not a CostIntegrating Tech in Construction Is an Investment, Not a Cost
Integrating modern tech into any business can be an investment, not just a cost. Consider the example of what construction companies can gain.
October 26, 2023
The construction industry has seen steady technological advancements in the last several decades, resulting in better safety and efficiency than our ancestors could ever hope for.
Although adopting the latest technology is financially challenging, the long-term benefits more than outweigh the short-term expenses. Integrating technology in construction is an investment that every contractor, like other business leaders, should make.
Tech Integration Pays Dividends
There are many costs associated with using new construction technologies, including acquisition, deployment, maintenance, risk management and long-term opportunity costs.
This list of expenses might look intimidating, but integrating new technology pays dividends in the long run.
Efficiency: Using state-of-the-art technology leads to more efficient project management, service delivery and business administration. It’s much easier to control expenses in these areas with advanced software and automated tools that eliminate human error.
Mobility: The growth of mobile technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) makes multi-site supervision much easier. Everyone on each site can seamlessly communicate and share data from their mobile devices, resulting in fewer misunderstandings and delays.
Visibility: Advanced monitoring tools like construction drones and on-site wearables also simplify project supervision, giving managers access to more relevant data and driving informed decisions.
Safety: Unsafe working conditions have held back the construction industry for decades, but data from drones, wearable smart sensors and other tools helps managers identify safety hazards and prevent accidents.
Sustainability: Environmental benefits are another reason to invest in new technology. Greater efficiency and less wastefulness leads to eco-friendly projects, which is quickly becoming a huge priority for younger generations.
According to the 2021 KPMG Global Construction Survey, construction and engineering professionals believe that the following technologies have the greatest return-on-investment potential for their organizations:
Integrated project management information systems
Building information modeling (BIM)
Advanced data analytics
Mobile communication platforms
A growing number of companies report being in critical financial distress due to global economic instability.
How can professionals make the necessary upgrades when supply chain disruptions lead to cost overruns, and they don’t have enough materials or labor? The answers to this question are more obvious than you might think.
How to Accelerate Tech Integration
Fortunately, construction companies have several resources that can help them overcome economic obstacles and accelerate their technological advancements. Here are the most effective strategies you can use to deploy new technologies despite the industry’s economic shortcomings.
Tax benefits: Taking advantage of tax benefits is the simplest way to make technological investments more financially feasible. Section 179 of the IRS code is a flexible tax write-off that can provide multiple benefits, including price deductions for both purchases and short-term rentals. You can earn an $11,600 deduction for equipment used 50% of the time. This deduction applies to any machine with an enclosed cab and cargo area.
The US’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also includes $100 million for digital construction technologies, which could be a blessing for the industry moving forward.
Employee buy-in: The technology purchases are only as effective as the employees using it. You need to get full employee buy-in for ambitious investments to pay off. The construction industry’s workforce has never been fond of change, so this obstacle can be difficult to overcome. It might take time for veteran employees to come around.
The most effective employee engagement strategy is to take a bottom-up approach and engage with the lower-level workers who will be using the technology on a daily basis. Gather their feedback and aim to improve the technology’s integration based on their experiences.
Implementation strategies: It might be tempting to introduce several new technologies at once, but this is a poor strategy for getting employee buy-in. Companies need to create implementation strategies for each new digital tool to emphasize their importance and provide more effective training.
Start by identifying your company’s main inefficiencies and determining how the technology can address them. Then, take a layered approach and solve each problem one at a time. Some technologies like project management software and smart sensors already offer a step-by-step implementation process for convenience.
Tech Integration Can Overcome Weak Economy
The post-COVID world hasn’t been kind to the construction industry, but the tide is starting to shift. New technologies can help construction companies overcome the weak economy and maintain steady growth. Although the integration costs are steep, the long-term returns in terms of efficiency, mobility and many other key factors are too valuable to ignore.
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