Multibillion Dollar BC Construction Sector Untapped by Tech
In the midst of a sector-wide drive for greater innovation and productivity in the face of a booming industry and a looming skills shortage, a recent State of Construction Technology survey conducted by the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) reveals B.C.’s construction employers are underserved by a tech sector that seems largely unaware of the huge potential market they represent.
B.C. technology companies are helping transform sectors such as gaming, entertainment, transportation and communications, yet research shows that many of the 25,000 companies in the construction sector haven’t found the technology products they need. That’s a serious issue for a sector that employs 242,000 British Columbians, with $115 billion in projects underway and $260 billion more on the horizon.
More than 300 companies across all eight economic regions took part in the survey, which looked at how aware companies are of the types of construction technology available to them in the administration, job site, and construction project categories. It also asked companies who have adopted the technologies how satisfied they are with them. The results showed that while the overwhelming majority of employers are aware of technology solutions and are interested in using them, the adoption rates are extremely low.
- On average, 87% of the companies surveyed were aware of the 14 subcategories of administration, job site, and project tools used in the construction sector;
- Beyond estimating software (used by half the companies surveyed) the average rate of adoption of tools in each category is only 27%; and
- The highest scores in the survey (89% average) were registered by adopters indicating they were highly satisfied with the technologies they are using.
“Making the switch to new technologies can be hard, especially for small companies that are more comfortable doing things the way they always have or who don’t have the time or staff to research different options,” said Stephen Richter, BCCA Project Manager. “But construction is changing, and with a skilled labour shortage and industry pressure to reduce costs and increase competitiveness, it’s more important than ever to innovate and become a future-forward construction company.”
To facilitate that, BCCA is calling for greater cooperation between the two sectors and encourages B.C.’s tech sector to see the construction industry as a largely untapped market.
“When an organization like Tech B.C has a near absence of construction-related companies among its members, partners, board and finalists for its Technology Impact Awards, it’s clear that much greater cooperation is possible,” said Chris Atchison, President, BCCA. “Events like Groundbreak and ConTech in the United States bring product developers and construction industry personnel together to build relationships and share ideas. We’d like to see stronger alignment at BC events like the #BCTECH Summit to facilitate industry adoption and showcase the potential for companies in B.C.’s tech sector with solutions for construction.”
BCCA is seeking to make construction sector employers aware of all the various technology tools that are available to them, especially in the following categories:
- Administrative: Estimating software; online construction materials and equipment marketplaces; labour and professional marketplaces; construction and project management software; and CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.
- Job Sites: Off-site fabrication, modularization, and 3d printing; robotics/automation/drones; AR/VR; and smart/green construction.
- Projects: BIM (building information modeling), 3D/4D modelling; bid & doc management tools; labour, HR, safety management tools; digital twinning / real-time monitoring & control.
Producers of any relevant products are encouraged to contact the BCCA via phone or email (Stephen Richter: 250-475-1077 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and also link employers to their company or products via social media using the #ConTechBC hashtag.
About British Columbia Construction Association
The British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) works with four Regional Construction Associations (NRCA, SICA, VICA and VRCA) to serve more than 10,000 employers in the provinces industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) construction industry. BCCA’s programs and services include employee benefits (BCCA Employee Benefits), technology tools for bid and project management (BidCentral), Employer services through the Builders Code, which strives to improve workplace culture, and employment programs (Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP), Integrating Newcomers, LNG Canada Trades Training Fund, LNG Canada Connect). BCCA advocates on behalf of all employers to ensure British Columbia’s construction sector remains productive and resilient.
For more information, visit: https://www.bccassn.com/
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BC Construction Association