Technology investments moving up the priority list in construction sector

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The convergence of two irresistible forces has prompted an accelerated adoption of innovative digital technology in the construction sector.

Moving forward, that pace of change is destined to grow even more.

“Eighty-eight per cent of respondents believe technology will either play a key role in the

future of how we work in construction, or it will actually form the backbone of the

construction industry, something we can’t do without,” notes a report by Procore Canada titled How We Build Now Canada. “Technology is clearly vital to the future of building.”

It’s no surprise to Daniel Meissner, the director of Virtual Design and Construction at EllisDon, who took the role in January 2020 and quickly found himself and his team working at home in March like so many others.

One of the biggest changes within construction companies is the expanded role of IT departments which are no longer there to fix connectivity and hardware issues.

“IT has really upped their game,” he says and they are now responsible not just for the networks, servers and traditional services but also for researching and recommending software platforms, software rollouts, training, support and more.

“We’re scoping out tools, looking for what gives the best value and there are a lot of vendors out there,” he says.

While other jurisdictions integrated BIM 20 years ago Canadian operations have been late adopters and there’s more being done to further integrate those platforms into other software platforms.

Some of the change is being driven by necessity and COVID-19 has forced adjustments, but much of it is coming from the next generation entering the workforce and establishing themselves in middle and upper management.

“They’re curious, they want to know what’s next, how they can use it,” he says.

The shift is creating job opportunities within Canada’s construction management companies for both existing staff and others whose qualifications would not have been considered a “fit” in the past for the industry.