Illustration for post on 2018 smart tech trends in construction

Work Culture

Building to 2018 with smart technology


Published on December 19, 2017

With the cost of materials rising to their highest price in more than 5 years 1, and 70% of construction firms struggling to find qualified workers 2, construction companies are looking for news ways to adapt to changing times. As we move into 2018, technology is poised to become more and more integral to the industry as it offers new tools for running an efficient team.
"There will be a continuing and expanded trend towards project team collaboration. I call that moving from an art to a science." —Sue Klawans, Senior vice president and director of operational excellence and planning at Gilbane Building Company 3

Modern challenges, modern solutions

Current labor shortages have far-reaching effects across the industry. It takes time to find skilled workers, and they’re likely to cost you more money. Construction spending has dropped in 2017 as well, a trend that will likely continue in the coming year. 4 But recruiting great talent is where technology can step in and fill gaps that would otherwise cause costly delays. In fact, using construction tech as a recruitment tool can lead to some surprisingly effective results.
“Not many people coming out of school understand there's this much tech in construction. It's an exciting time to be a part of it.” - Garrett Harley, vice president of strategic accounts for the building sector at Aconex. 5
In addition, construction firms have noted a serious problem with rising inventory costs, with oil products rising at a 20% pace, metals rising at a 10% pace, and other building commodity costs growing in the high single digits. 4 But technology presents unique ways to combat inventory challenges.

Emerging tech paves the way

Emerging tech can provide a sharp rise in the speed and quality of your projects. Plus, the efficiencies created by these time-saving tools can make up for money lost from labor shortages and rising costs.
Experts predict that offsite or prefab building method will grow… as time and labor concerns make these alternatives more attractive. 3
With the right tech tools, your team can view and comment on files wherever they’re working. And that can lead to immediate results. Construction professionals found the largest return on investment from integrated project management information systems (68%), followed shortly by BIM (53%) and advanced data analytics (48%). 6 From CAD and BIM files for building renderings, PDFs for receipts, or XLS for working through budgets, tools like Dropbox allow for easy access from any device. When there are no limits to connectivity or access, you have more time to devote to building an effective team and a lasting project.

Save time with Dropbox

Adapting to a changing construction industry landscape means making technology work for you. To learn how our integrated tech solutions can help you save time and money in 2018, check out our eBook, Build Smarter With Tech. 1. “Construction Economic Update,” 2017, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. 2. “2017 Workforce Survey Results,” 2017, Autodesk and Associated General Contractors of America. 3. “10 Construction Industry Trends To Watch in 2017,” 2017, ConstructionDive 4. “Moderating economic growth triggers construction forecast downgrade for 2017 and 2018,” 2017, AIA 5. “What the evolving con-tech industry looks like to one new Aconex exec,” 2017, ConstructionDive 6. “Make it or break it: Global construction survey”, 2017, KPMG