Controls Platforms for a
New Construction Generation
September 01, 2022
Fact: As the construction industry continues to grow and expand, it’s becoming more important than ever for companies to find ways to compete for talent. One way to compete is through technology. A new generation of construction professionals is entering the industry, and unlike prior generations, they’ve grown up with technology from day one, using it for everything from school to entertainment, effortlessly tracking data as they go. Naturally, they expect to use technology on the job.
Fact: Construction companies are still hesitant to move forward with their technology investment. According to this year’s InEight Global Capital Projects Outlook Report, part of that hesitancy involves trying to get their existing systems to work together and, ironically, not having enough workers who are comfortable and fluent with modern technology.
Where these two facts converge and solve for each other is within a single integrated project controls platform that incorporates all the functions that support a successful construction project — from planning, estimating and risk management to scheduling, documentation and commissioning — and the employees’ tech expectations. Let’s look at some of the non-operational benefits such a platform can offer this new construction generation and the companies that employ them.
Connectedness and communication
Immediacy defines how millennials and Generation Z communicate. With the click of a link, a touch of a button and a voice command to a virtual assistant, they gain access to information they can promptly act on or share with others. Interestingly, that same sense of “now” also applies to how they prefer to receive feedback and recognition, which has been reinforced by the immediate and constant engagement that social platforms facilitate.
How can this need for instant gratification be met when substantial projects take months or years to complete? By proactively setting themselves apart from the tech-hesitant, construction companies can highlight the capabilities of the integrated platforms they’ve adopted to manage these large-scale projects and their resources more efficiently. Through a combination of cloud technology, mobile app capabilities, real-time reporting and connected analytics, these platforms provide real-time visibility into task and phase progress, as well as developing risks, through dashboards that display key metrics. This is the kind of transparency this group appreciates because it gives them a better understanding of how their work fits into the big picture.
And as a rather unexpected reciprocal bonus: Once they’ve learned the platform technology, the up-and-coming construction professionals can help those who are less technically inclined to better understand and use the technology. Likewise, the older generations can refer to their years and range of experience to provide context to the data, putting more of a human spin on the data for the younger generations.
Competitive hiring advantage
Construction companies need a succession plan. But they face a perception problem as being part of an “older” industry with little room for innovation due to its reliance on manual labor and outdated technology. That has made it difficult to attract young people who grew up with technology at their fingertips and prefer to work with employers that are on the cutting edge.
This is gradually changing. The growing need for skilled workers in the construction sector and the rise of digital technologies have created an opportunity for construction companies to compete for this demographic by adopting an integrated platform. It demonstrates to those entering the field that a company will not only make use of their valuable skill sets, but are more likely to provide them with richer opportunities to learn and advance their careers. And it provides these companies with a more direct path to recruitment of strong candidates who are comfortable with and embrace such technology.
This has a knock-on effect of helping companies remain competitive within an industry that is seeing larger, more expensive capital projects incorporate more advanced technologies within the structure itself that require more efficient, precise project management.
The chance to interact with the latest construction technology is certainly a big draw for millennials and Generation Z. But it’s far from being the only criteria by which they consider their future opportunities. They’re also known to be more socially aware and concerned about the effects that companies have on the environment. This runs counter to the industry’s reputation as being responsible for a disproportionate amount of industrial pollution and one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
Construction companies have a unique opportunity to make their projects greener — not only to satisfy the environmental concerns of younger workers, but to be an active part of the solution in controlling waste and reducing its emissions. Integrated platforms can play a significant role here.
With one integrated platform, rather than several siloed point solutions, construction companies connect with and act on data throughout the entire project life cycle. For example, accessing takeoff quantities and pulling them into an estimate yields a more fine-tuned list of materials for procurement to order, resulting in less waste. And using standard or customized digital forms helps companies track and report on compliance with environmental regulations — not only for auditing purposes but for timely decision making and action should any hazards surface.
There’s another more obvious and tangible way these platforms can make a difference. Consider how much of construction is based on documentation, including daily reports, timesheets, checklists for safety and commissioning, and the big one — handover. Integrated platforms digitize documentation throughout the project life cycle, replacing paper with interactive digital ones. Where digitized documentation appeals to prospective environmentally conscious employees, it has a benefit for construction companies, too, by removing much of the labor-intensiveness of manual data entry and updating. When you think of the extensive time it takes to build a capital project, that can add up to an extraordinary number of hours wasted on repetitive administrative work.
Experience the benefits of an integrated platform
Making integrated platforms part of a recruitment strategy puts a more human-focused spin on the technology. It not only adds to the value such a platform can deliver, but it becomes a differentiator in the eyes of the new construction generation as well as capital project clients looking for more efficiency and ROI on their investment. Find out how you can leverage the full value of your connected project data by scheduling a demo of InEight integrated project controls platform.