Construction Technology Standards
October 09, 2012
At last week’s Technology Day conference, held October 5 at the San Mateo Marriott, much talk centered on mobility. A number of technology providers were showcasing new solutions and speakers were identifying trends in the markets. But another age-old topic garnered a bit of attention as well—standards.
On Friday, Sage North America, www.na.sage.com, Beaverton, Ore., announced it has been accepted as a member of COSA (Construction Open Software Alliance), www.constructionosa.org, which is a new organization dedicated to empowering better sharing of information between all project participants in the construction industry regardless of the systems they use.
COSA’s aim is to encourage the adoption of agcXML, which was developed by the Associated General Contractors of America, www.agc.org, Arlington, Va., in 2008 in an effort to standardize and encourage the exchange of data among technology applications in the construction industry. Since that time, a small number of technology providers have adopted the agcXML standard—although many have discussed the value of such as standard. Enter COSA, which was founded in August of this year and includes members such as SmartBidNet, eSUB, NoteVault, To-Scale Software, which provides Cloud Takeoff, and Online Plan Service.
Sage is now the newest member joining the alliance, supporting the agcXML standard. According to the company, by enabling Sage Construction Anywhere to work with other software systems, it allows customers to submit and respond to RFIs (requests for information) no matter what software system another building team member is using.
Phillip Ogilby, president, To-Scale Software, www.toscaleplans.com, Cincinnati, Ohio, says, “The potential is really exciting if you consider that through this group, we have the potential to make realtime data sharing across multiple, disparate construction software programs easier than ever to accomplish. In the end it will be the contractors—the people who rely on this data—that will reap the most benefit. After all, it is their data and they should be able to push and pull it into all of their software programs.”
During one panel discussion at Technology Day, Leigh Jasper, cofounder and CEO, Aconex, www.aconex.com, San Bruno, Calif., Robert Meunier, president and CEO, HeavyWorks – Construction Software, www.heavy-works.com, Houston, Texas, and Jim Paulson, chief operating officer, Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., addressed the changing nature of the technology market in the construction industry, addressing topics such as mobility, cloud, and others.
The topic of standards was also addressed in this panel discussion, with Paulson saying standards such as the agcXML need to move forward.
Collaboration is a big buzzword in the construction industry these days, with owners, general contractors, subs, and other partners looking for new ways to share critical project information. Standards and alliances such as this could be the first step in moving toward more interoperability among technology applications in the construction industry.