We are currently in the perfect storm and the Constructech Top Products are trying to address the challenges. We have a labor shortage that has intensified in the past few years, along with a supply-chain crisis that collapsed under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Add to this material shortages and a looming economic crisis, and it has created this perfect storm for the construction industry. The solution has to come in the form of digital transformation and the IoT (Internet of Things), which will enable construction companies to do more with less.
We know digital transformation is set to grow at a rate of roughly 23.1% by 2030, according to Grand View Research. Innovation can help improve efficiencies, minimize rework, reduce tedious and manual tasks, and heighten safety, just to name a few. If done right, technology can help improve the bottomline over the long term of a project. Add to this the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and the metaverse, and the way we work simply isn’t going to look the same as it has in the past.
The challenge becomes wading through all the hype and to avoid shiny technology syndrome, which is the tendency to follow a tech trend without first weighing the potential. This is where the Constructech Top Products again enter the equation—which aims to cut through all the noise to find the truly best products serving the construction industry.
To help identify the best technology on the market, Constructech recognizes the most innovative solutions in the construction industry with a Top Products award. On this year’s list, we see everything from ERP (enterprise-resource planning), PM (project management), estimating and accounting and job costing software to AI, robots, and more. This year, the Constructech editors left no stone unturned when looking for the best products to serve the construction market.
In years’ past, Constructech has put out a call to entry and companies had the opportunity to submit their products. This year, in addition to technology companies submitting their own products, those on the editorial staff and editorial board could also nominate products they thought would qualify.
Once all the nominations were submitted, the ballots were sent to an independent panel of industry analysts and experts to vote if the product would qualify or not for this year’s Constructech Top Products. A big thank you to this year’s panel of judges including:
- Dana Atkinson, research associate and faculty member, Georgia Tech
- Mark Bryant, chief information officer, PCL Construction
- Mark Federle, professor, Marquette University
- Jim Kissane, consultant, public speaker, author, and technology industry veteran
- John Leet, senior business manager and director of strategy and continuous improvement, Clark Pacific
- Mehdi Nourbakhsh, founder and CEO, YegaTech
- Joshua Peschel, assistant professor, Iowa State University
- Bill White, senior lecturer, IUPUI
When judging the Top Products, the judges take into consideration the backbone and core functionality of each platform, but also new functionality that will allow contractors and homebuilders to develop strategies around technology.
After the judging was complete, the judges’ scorecards were tabulated to select this year’s winners. Top Products can fall within three categories: Concept Product, New Product, or Trusted Product. The Concept Product category features new technology concepts that are less than three months old, while New Products have been in the market for less than two years. The Trusted Product category features technology that has been in the market for at least two years and have been upgraded or enhanced.
The hope is the research that is conducted will help you identify the best products in the construction market as well as the solutions necessary to implement in 2023 and beyond. This is perhaps more pressing today than ever before, as economic uncertainty looms and builder confidence continues to decline. High mortgage rates, elevated construction costs running well above the inflation rate, and flagging consumer demand due to deteriorating affordability conditions have dragged builder sentiment down every month in 2022, according to the NAHB (National Assn. of Home Builders).
AGC (Associated General Contractors of America) concurs, saying the price of materials and services used in nonresidential construction continued rising at a double-digit rate in November from a year earlier, propelled by outsized increases in the cost of a variety of building materials.
While we can’t be sure what lurks beyond 2022 and in 2023, we know technology can improve efficiencies, minimize rework, reduce tedious and manual tasks, and heighten safety, just to name a few. It can be the tool to propel a cost-constrained and labor and material-depleted industry into a more profitable future.
Certainly, this is just the beginning to solve all the problems heightening that perfect storm in construction today. Companies will need to take the technology and implement it in a way that works for their organization. As Peggy Smedley says, we need to a human-centric purpose at the center of process and technology.
Below are this year’s Constructech Top Products leaders, with a few that have more in-depth coverage. Happy reading!
AirWorks’ software interprets data collected by drones, aircraft, satellites, and through laser scanning.
Arvizio Immerse 3D
With model optimization and efficient WAN transport capabilities, Arvizio Immerse 3D is an ideal way for industries such as AEC to use their 3D data for impactful, interactive web meetings.
With Avvir Accelerate, customers get help streamlining their entire project with Avvir tools and best practices for finding, communicating, and acting on project information more efficiently.
B2W Employee App
The B2W Employee App makes it easy to create and complete individual work logs, so contractors can track critical data as work is being performed.
Visibility into project performance and progress is key to ensure projects are finished on time and on budget. To enable this, SYNCHRO Perform is a field-based construction delivery platform, leveraging both web and mobile technology, and captures realtime cost and production rates—all while connecting project leaders with insights. The technology helps remove manual performance trackers and end-of-month reporting delays by giving managers early feedback to course correct sooner. With rich project insights, teams make better and quicker decisions to minimize project errors and maximize team productivity. At the end of the day, this technology captures project progress in realtime, helping managers to understand the impacts of events on schedule and budget—which is critical on all construction jobsites.
4D on Your Project
4D offers huge opportunities, as it can solve the time-cost conundrum, increase safety, and reduce both employee and project risks. This is where SYNCHRO 4D from Bentley Systems comes into play. The product is a 4D digital construction management tool designed for construction modeling, planning and scheduling, visualization, simulation, and project controls. With SYNCHRO 4D, all construction team members can build and access digital projects and extend the value of 3D models by adding time, the fourth dimension. Users can communicate and present the construction plan and schedule, allowing for trade partner collaboration, hyper-accurate QTO, and quicker approval for payment. In the past year, Bentley Systems has added capacity to view models in Android, updated model viewing, and has better export viewpoints, among others. What makes this product so unique is integrated CPM scheduling is smart linked to 3D model geometry, creating a visual time machine.
Move It to the Field
Construction, by nature, has always been mobile, and now technology enables an easy way to access, capture, and communicate information from the jobsite. Such is the case with SYNCHRO Field from Bentley Systems, which improves data quality with geolocated forms and automated weather data, which allows project data and location accuracy across even the largest civil projects. In the past year, Bentley Systems has enhanced the product with updates to plan sets like markup and review capabilities; improved map functionality; the ability to update the status of resources; and more. One of the biggest values of this product is it makes it easy to access and capture data in context through maps, geo-PDFs, 2D CAD, and in 3D/4D models. Further, teams can easily capture project updates, handle inspections and RFIs, create custom forms, flag issues, and view model progress.
Project and cost managers can oversee contracts and project budgets more easily to better manage risk, as well as gain realtime insight into the financial health of their projects with SYNCHRO Cost from Bentley Systems, which is a cloud-based SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution designed for managing construction contracts, change orders, and payment applications. All construction team members can now collaborate on their assigned contracts and related forms in one place with a seamless workflow engine that allows users to approve, reject, and revise any workflow form. With features like multi-contract capture, payment tracking and change order management, users can easily track financial updates on the job, making SYNCHRO Cost the tool to track all financial progress through contracts and keep control of your budget.
Spot the Robotic Dog
Spot is an agile mobile robot that navigates terrain with unprecedented mobility, allowing you to automate routine inspection tasks and data capture safely, accurately, and frequently.
Lien Waiver Management
Built Technologies’ lien waiver management allows borrowers and lenders to digitally manage the process from creation to completion.
Trade Partner Management
Built Technologies’ Trade Partner Management is a suite of solutions that allows construction stakeholders to effectively verify, qualify, and monitor trade partners prior to, during, and at the completion of a project.
eCMS v.4.2 Construction Cloud ERP
A construction company’s ERP (enterprise-resource planning) system is central to its business, enabling both financial and project management to make decisions. To help users gain insights, eCMS v.4.2 Construction Cloud ERP from Computer Guidance Corp., is a cloud-based, construction-specific ERP solution tailored to commercial contractors. Contractors can manage multi-company, multi-division, and multi-department accounting, union and non-union payroll, and federal or private reporting. Also, it facilitates the exchange of project and financial data to ensure expedited completion through realtime collaboration between operations and financial teams. In the past year, the company has enhanced the product by seamlessly connecting jobsite personnel and office employees through a web-based Web2 interface. The company also released various Interactive Data Inquiry advancements that continue to allow users to easily serve up data from the eCMS ERP database and make it available in purposeful ways through dashboards, views, and launchpads.
EquipmentShare T3 and Cloud
From telematics and hardware technology to monitor equipment health, software optimizes rental utilization and mobile applications for team members to clock in and off on the spot.
Exodigo 3D Subsurface Mapping Platform
Exodigo fuses data from the most advanced sensors in electromagnetics, gravitation, light, ground penetrating radar, lidar, and seismic to create a clear picture of the underground through non-intrusive discovery.
Intuitive, Flexible, and Powerful
Enterprise software is all about the data it delivers—but it also needs to be delivered in a way that is easy for contractors to understand and is available where and when they need it. Explorer Eclipse from Explorer Software does a great job of meeting contractors where they are. Eclipse is an integrated job cost, accounting, equipment control, and project management solution, providing realtime data to users throughout an organization. The company says the technology goes beyond managing debits and credits and delivers tangible results through advanced accounting and analytical tools. As such, the company has added web time entry-role based workflow; a hired truck ticket entry app; and email tag editing, just to name a few. This global solution stands out due to its flexible, powerful, and intuitive software.
GCP Applied Technologies
CONCERA All-in-One Admixture
The unique combination of polycarboxylate dispersants and rheology modifiers give CONCERA All-in-One Admixture its flexibility for a variety of applications, from low slump mixes to higher flow mixes.
HomeSphere Capture allows builders a simple means to capture and catalog the serial number/model number of major mechanical systems within a given home through easily taking a picture of a product plate or label with their mobile device.
InEight solutions support project cost management, scheduling and risk mitigation, field execution, project administration, and document management and control.
Kojo enables trade and self-perform general contractors to take control of their margins by consolidating the procurement process onto one, all-inclusive digital platform.
McNeilus Fuel Saver powered by FLEX Controls Operating System
Save Fuel, Save Money with Technology
With the cost of nearly everything rising, construction companies need tools to save money. This is where technology can help—more specifically McNeilus Fuel Saver powered by FLEX ControlsOperating System. It uses proprietary algorithms combined with its pump and motor solution to help contribute to fuel and energy savings. This product can help companies reduce their total cost of ownership with expected savings of up to 7% annual operating costs depending on conditions. FLEX Controls is continuously advancing, always keeping customers and the industry at the forefront. As the company develops new mixer features, it is integrating them into the connected platform and making them available for current and new customers. With current fuel prices where they are, the ability for Fuel Saver powered by FLEX Controls to help to save fuel and reduce engine wear shows a direct effect to a company’s bottomline.
ALLPLAN AEC 2023
Allplan offers powerful integrated cloud technology and a comprehensive partner ecosystem to support interdisciplinary collaboration on structural and civil engineering projects.
Revu is Bluebeam’s foundational project efficiency and collaboration solution that allows you to create, edit, mark up, and organize PDFs with project partners on desktop.
nPlan’s AI forecasts project outcomes using historical data, making risk assurance easier, faster, and more reliable.
OpenSpace gives construction industry workers the ability to move backward, and forward again, in time, creating a visual record far more powerful than memory or any written document.
OpenSync is a carrier-grade open-source software, which covers layers from just above the drivers within a device, to the connection to the cloud within that device.
Procore’s cloud-based platform includes preconstruction, analytics, action plans, realtime labor costing, correspondence, search, and custom and configurable fields.
Better Project Management
Make better, more informed business decisions and deliver projects faster, with fewer errors, by using the right technology. With easy integration and full mobile functionality, Projectmates provides every tool needed to manage and monitor projects throughout their entire lifecycle, from planning to closeout, in one platform. The web-based platform is available on all devices, so project owners, architects, engineers, and general contractors have continuous collaboration and instant project visibility. Using Projectmates, owners can track and report project progress, status, changes, and issues so major project stakeholders are fully aware of the project’s current status and are in a position to take any appropriate action. The new application now leverages the power of React. This open-source framework created by Facebook produces a lightweight, fast, modern application that is highly responsive and interactive. A new identity server and a new learning management system have also been added.
Highly customizable construction management software that connects to popular business platforms for integrated project and financial management.
Rugged Robotics Rover
The product tackles the challenge of field layout, and replaces slow, error-prone, manual layout with an autonomous vehicle that marks fully-coordinated A/E designs directly onto unfinished floors.
Sage Intacct Construction
Enable proactive management of critical financial and operational metrics, increased efficiency, reduced time and cost of audits, and improved cash flow with technology. Sage Intacct Construction is a native cloud accounting solution that gives users the power of choice to use the right mix of solutions to support their unique business needs. With an open API, it enables customers to integrate the best-of-breed solutions they are using today and will use in the future. This means they can leverage key data from the field, payroll, budgeting, customer relationship management solutions, and others to track metrics that are critical to their organization’s financial and operational success. The company has added new enhancements including Sage Field Operations integration, Sage Intacct Real Estate for property management functionality, and other new integrations with third-party technologies. At the end of the day, this product helps businesses navigate the complex demands and nuance of construction financial management.
The Data to Decide
Keep users informed when designing for a variety of civil engineering applications. Based on rigorous full-scale testing, Tensar+ software provides specification generation that incorporates the benefits of Tensar geogrids into industry-accepted design methodologies. With the technology, contractors can compare design alternatives, automatically generating a performance spec. Additionally, they are able to calculate time, cost, carbon savings, and other sustainability metrics. In the past year, the company has been hard at work, adding several new design modules including liquefaction mitigation for shallow building foundations, unpaved road design based on a brand-new design methodology, sub-ballast stabilization for rail applications, and scour protection for hydraulic channel scour. Tensar+ software packs in extra features like the ability to customize performance specifications. Customer can also design with the best performing products and compare with alternative technologies to see the true value.
Trade Hounds, Inc.
Trade Hounds believes a construction-only hiring platform is what’s needed to meet the unique demands of both workers and employers in construction.