For the past several weeks, we have been doing a blog series on various technologies that are making an impact on the construction industry. We have discussed many emerging technologies including generative AI (artificial intelligence), BIM (building information modeling), digital twin, and the metaverse, just to name a few. Now, let’s turn our attention to critical processes specifically in the construction industry—and how technology is evolving to enable better procedures in construction.
Today, let’s dig into the state of project management in construction. Today’s project managers have their hands full, to say the least. We all know labor shortages have been impacting nearly every aspect of the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry for decades.
The Need for Great Field Leaders
One of FMI’s recent reports focuses on the field. The report says a single foreman or superintendent leading a crew of six craftworkers is likely managing between $500,000 to more than $1 million in labor every year. Good field leaders are essential—but they face many challenges today.
FMI suggests there are three big ones including:
- Juggling unrealistic project schedules.
- Difficultly staffing projects due to lack of skills and labor.
- Balancing leading teams and executing work.
This research is substantiated by a report from XYZ Reality earlier this summer, which suggests 95% of U.K. construction companies report struggling with project backlogs. The numbers from this report are staggering, really. More than half of construction companies encounter error and rework at least twice a week and almost three in five are somewhat or very frequently delivered out of schedule.
The reasons were myriad, with ongoing supply chain disruptions (47%), rising construction costs (44%), and collaboration (39%) ranked by company executives as the top three greatest challenges for the coming year. Poor cooperation, coordination, and skills were also cited as major internal contributing factors.
These numbers can be a bit eye-opening when jotted down on paper—although anyone working in the construction industry knows these statistics to be true because they likely have firsthand experience with schedules going awry.
What Comes Next
In order to address all these challenges that construction faces today, companies will need field leaders who can coordinate field crews, plan weekly resource needs, manage productivity, and communicate effectively, according to the FMI report.
Here at Constructech, we would also argue that this simply can’t be done without the right people, process, and technologies. Technologies will be critical to ensure field leaders are driving the project forward, while collaborating in a way that works for all project stakeholders.
Many of the respondents to the XYZ Reality survey would agree, as the research suggests three-fifths of respondents highlight technology as a leading solution for addressing rework and errors. Augmented reality was particularly popular. Certainly, there are many types of new, emerging technology that are set to change how the project manager does business in the construction industry, helping to speed projects, while heightening project quality, safety, and efficiency.
Do you have a project-management program designed specifically for the construction industry? We want to hear about it! Soon we will have a call to entry for our 2024 Constructech Top Products award program. Make sure to enter your product for consideration.
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