Angelo Langadakis III, ESq.
Law Office of Angelo Langadakis III, P.C.
Automated field measurement with simultaneous CAD and BIM integration for project managers among all trades is likely to be the most disruptive technology in the construction industry over the next 30-year period. Reduction in measurement error, labor hours saved from avoiding redundant performance of the exact same task across all trades and an improvement in timely and accurate communication of field conditions and progress across all trades are likely to be benefits that owners, lenders and insurers will insist on in their standard contract documents moving forward. The benefits of risk reduction and savings far outweigh the costs.
As a result, we can expect an overall decrease in change-order work. On a more macro level, many blue-collar workers are due to retire soon, without many younger workers getting excited about picking up a career as a plumber or electrician. This shift in technology playing a larger role in construction is likely to turn an industry historically dominated by men into an industry more easily accessible by educated, white-collar workers, women and minorities. As technology replaces human labor in the field, we may see trade labor unions consolidating in order to preserve bargaining power. Some could even become obsolete.
Jobsite tracking is poised to have a huge impact on the construction sites of 2017. The question of how to track workers on project sites has gained a lot of attention in 2016. There are two important sides to this debate. On one side, workers fear extensive monitoring and the thought of Big Brother watching over them. On the other side, contractors are chasing the holy grail of productivity (aka percent complete), and worker tracking is a very viable solution. With major advances in mobile technology, smartphones now come equipped with features, such as GPS, that have created opportunities for third-party apps to know and track the smartphone’s location. This can be of great benefit in locating missing employees during emergency situations, issuing alerts in unsafe zones and granting access to various areas of the jobsite.
Where this technology gets a little sticky is in how the tech solution knows where the employees are working, all day long. There are several great emerging apps, such as BusyBusy, TSheets and Rhumbix, that are working on tracking the hours that employees are working to quantify productivity. These companies are also working with hardware options, such as Primal Sensors and Redpoint Positioning, to provide accurate X, Y and Z coordinates to precisely track employee movements in real time. These jobsite tracking solutions are likely to not only cause disruption, but also increased productivity in 2017.