Construction Technology in 2010

December 15, 2009

Looking back at 2009, it was a year in which improving efficiencies and productivity was top on the priority list for most contractors. In most cases, that trend will likely continue in the coming year.

Greg Duyka, senior product specialist, On Center Software, www.oncenter.com, The Woodlands, Texas, says, “As this is true even now, 2010 will most definitely continue on this trend of reducing time to prepare a bid and increasing accuracy, simply because there’s no room or budget for error on any level.”

But what other trends will likely be significant in the coming year? Technology providers point to a number of trends and what they plan to do with technology in the year ahead. One of the big areas of discuss is collaboration, or technologies to enable the BIM (building information modeling) process.

Giovanni Marcelli, founder and CEO, Accubid Systems, www.accubid.com, Concord, Ont., says “as more states are mandating the use of BIM for new projects, our industry will be forced to learn and adopt BIM.”

In fact, he says the biggest factor driving technology initiatives forward will be better understanding the impact of BIM, and Accubid is helping prepare its clients through the hosting of educational programs and training on CAD (computer-aided design) and BIM.

Bruno Berti, Meridian Systems, www.meridiansystems.com, Folsom, Calif., agrees saying, “More support for Web services and extending our solutions to complementary technologies, like BIM, mobile applications, user interface flexibility, support the Microsoft stack, etc. (will be a big trend in 2010). Our goal is to provide the industry with flexible users choices to drive efficiency and productivity.”

Meridian Systems is already beginning to deliver on this promise. Last week, the company released Proliance 4.0 for construction firms planning large capital building programs. The new release has improved workflows, an enhanced RFI (request for information) review process, a new transmittal feature, improved anticipated cost reports, redeveloped register grids, and technology upgrades, which includes integration to Microsoft Outlook.

Jay Haladay, president, Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., adds, “There is a growing demand for collaboration between the increasing numbers of stakeholders in a construction project. It is important that the data shared during this collaboration be accurate and timely. These new integrated software suites allow for this to happen with a minimum of effort.”

Of course, beyond collaboration and BIM, improving efficiencies and productivity on construction projects will also take center stage. Jeffrey Girardi, president, ProEst Software, www.proest.com, San Diego, Calif., says efficiency is the biggest driver of new technology initiatives in today’s market.

Along the same line of improving efficiencies, many technology providers also say reducing costs will continue to play a large role in a tough economy. Jim McFarlane, CEO, Explorer Software Group, www.explorer-software.com, Vancouver, B.C., says contractors are looking at ways to reduce costs, and technology can play a role in reducing perational cost and the cost of gathering information.

In other instances, construction companies can look to decrease expenses by reducing some of the overhead costs involved with technology in general.

Bassem Hamdy, vice president, solutions, CMiC, www.cmic.ca, Toronto, Ont., adds, “The biggest initiatives will be to lower yearly spending on multiple systems maintenance fees and the ongoing cost of maintaining integration bridges.”

With CMiC Real Time Integration (RTI), construction companies can increase interoperability through connections to outside systems, such as BIM, payment management, and plan rooms, which can be integrated to the ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.

Hamdy says, “CMiC tools and Real Time Integration apps will allow companies to become the hub of all technology in the construction lifecycle. CMiC customers can expect to be able to show owners the most complete collaborative platform, allowing owners, engineers, and architects to work in their own systems and through the power of RTI have data transported in a secure a validated manner.”

What is coming in the year ahead? It seems collaboration, technology to help improve efficiencies and productivity, and technology to help reduce costs will continue to shine. Look to the January 2010 issue of Constructech magazine to find out what other technologies will be hot in the coming year.