On September 19th, Triax joined FieldWire at General Assembly NYC for a discussion on “Changing Construction – Technology in the Built Space.” The tech panel, moderated by Professional Women in Construction’s Chelsea LeMar, featured insights from Jacobs Construction’s Ana Alicea Diffley, Turner Construction’s Nick Steinbrick, Triax’s Phil Epifano, and FieldWire’s Marielle Price. The evening started with a discussion of key challenges facing the industry that technology can solve, and to a panelist, real-time communication and information transfer was mentioned. As Marielle noted, technology can get us away from manual processes and double-entry, a benefit that Ana and Nick echoed.
As an owner’s representative and safety superintendent, respectively, Ana and Nick have experience identifying and implementing cutting-edge technologies, coordinating with managers, administrators and workers on the ground. One thing was clear from the evening: construction technology isn’t just a hot topic – a “what if” pipe dream that the industry is waiting for – but a reality that leading firms are testing, implementing and evaluating at jobsites today.
Keep reading for key takeaways and quotes from the panelists and attendees.
1. Tech is enabling automatic, standardized data collection and reporting
“One thing that’s constant is that clients want immediate reporting. They may not be out there at the jobsite, but they want the information. Early in my career, you would be forced to make it work. Now with construction technology, you make it instant.” –Ana
“A lot of communication gets lost between the job and the trailer. This helps with understanding projects – it enables immediate management and solutions to problems that come up at the jobsite.”
2. Across roles and generations, it’s essential to embrace emerging technologies or risk getting left behind
“I look at how I work now versus how I worked when I first began – there was photocopying and file cabinets – and we killed so many trees. Now we have a virtual file cabinet; it’s a tool in your virtual toolbox. You want them to always be ready and provide value so future owners say, ‘I want you on this next project.’ The industry is evolving and you need to be prepared, you can’t just say I’m not going to learn the new technology.” –Ana
“The [technology] train is in motion, but it’s not at the station yet. It’s great to see it evolving from where it’s not just accepted, but expected.” – Nick
3. Real-time technology tools are fundamentally transforming construction processes
“With Spot-r, there is certainly a reactive side to wearing it and knowing that I know they’re wearing it. They feel part of something larger than themselves, and it’s had positive effects on their behavior and actions. More importantly, by wearing it they are connected – and feel connected – directly to me. It could be as simple as ‘I need you on the 5th floor’ or ‘There’s garbage where I’m about to start work that needs to be moved…’ Suddenly they are connected to me and there’s a real-time line of communication without them having to physically move.” –Nick
“Construction technology has forced me to think differently. I don’t want to find a schedule document in the payment file, and now I don’t. It helps me make sure I can answer those questions accurately, readily and at any point.” –Ana
4. For successful implementation, make yourselves available to your workers
“When you’re implementing these technologies, make sure you find a partner who is willing to work with you. With Triax, we said let’s try this out, and they were willing to work with us and make it work for us. With my workers, I made myself available. Any questions they asked, I took the time to answer. You need to give them a voice in the process and eliminate any concerns or confusion.”
Triax has a busy fall with exciting, cutting-edge construction technology events. Join us at an event near you! Learn more here.