flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Data and analytics are becoming essential for EC firms competing to rebuild America’s infrastructure

Building Technology

Data and analytics are becoming essential for EC firms competing to rebuild America’s infrastructure

A new paper from Deloitte Consulting advises companies to revise their strategies with an eye toward leveraging advanced technologies.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | December 18, 2018

The ability of EC firms to capture, understand, and apply from all kinds of sources—including their job sites—is critical to their being able to deliver buildings for smarter cities in the future. Image: Deloitte Consulting

An expanding engineering and construction industry faces a digital future that is not only reshaping cities but also how the industry’s businesses operate.

This is one of the key observations that Deloitte Consulting presents in its recent paper “2019 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook.” The paper’s author—Michelle Meisels, Principal and Engineering and Construction Leader—emphasizes the centrality of data analysis in the ability of the industry to deliver urban projects for cities whose buildings and infrastructures are becoming “smarter” and more connected.

Deloitte anticipates that the industry’s growth in the U.S.—estimated at around 5% in 2018—will continue next year. Merger-and-acquisition activity, which this year has accounted for at least 344 deals valued at more than $20 billion, is allowing EC firms to compete for megaprojects “infused with advanced technologies.”

Meisels sees cities as growth engines for the U.S. economy and its society. However, America’s crumbling infrastructure right now isn’t up to the task of keeping pace with urbanization. She’s optimistic, though, about the willingness of cities around the world to invest in “connected infrastructure” that enables better management of urban assets such as public transit, wastewater systems, and roads. Meisels cites one estimate, from IDC, which projects that smart cities’ spending will reach $158 billion globally by 2022, with Singapore, Tokyo and New York being among the top spenders.

These investments should help to create digital touchpoints of connectivity between people and their vehicles, homes, and workplaces. What would advance this movement, says Meisels, is “a clearly articulated strategy for leveraging advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and artificial intelligence.” She points specifically to the recently announced alliance between AECOM and Arrow Electronics as an example of how scale and digital are intersecting.

Digital, in fact, is transforming how engineering and construction companies run their companies. Such things as robotic process automation and BIM are evolving and improving in ways that are making project development and management far more efficient and less costly. Meisels also speaks of “connected construction” tools, such as drones, wearables, and augmented reality, that are “revolutionizing” job sites, improving worker productivity and safety, and capturing valuable data.

Meisels believes that data and analytics will become the industry’s future core. But data are coming from outside traditional ERP systems, so companies need to devise a strategy to analyze this torrent of information “to deliver smart buildings and smart cities projects, identify and address diminishing margins, and manage increasing project size and complexity.”

Companies can use a data-driven approach to unlock smart decision making, identify the optimal location for their project, and source the best materials to use, all through an interface that enables decision makers to ask questions and work through scenarios.

This analytical approach might also provide some answers to a problem that continues to vex EC firms across the country: finding and retaining talent.

The U.S. construction industry has been consistently adding workforce, and currently employs around 7.2 million professionals, the highest levels since the Great Recession of 2008. But that’s still an 18-year low. “Labor shortages are reaching crisis proportions and are expected to continue through 2019,“ predicts Meisels.

Today, winning the talent war includes projecting a positive brand for your company out to the market—one that reflects the advanced technologies that are part of the connected construction site. To appeal to new generations entering the workforce, that brand should also showcase the sustainability initiatives that many firms have adopted.

On a fundamental level, Meisels tells EC firm that their talent search should be buttressed by their support of apprenticeships and technical schools. “And considering the rise of digital, it is also important to understand how skills are changing and then design a talent management strategy that reflects this,” she recommends.

Related Stories

Green | Jul 26, 2022

Climate tech startup BlocPower looks to electrify, decarbonize the nation's buildings

The New York-based climate technology company electrifies and decarbonizes buildings—more than 1,200 of them so far.

Building Technology | Jun 9, 2022

GSA Green Proving Ground program selects six innovative building technologies for evaluation

The U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Green Proving Ground program, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, has selected six innovative building technologies for evaluation in GSA’s inventory.

Smart Buildings | Jun 1, 2022

Taking full advantage of smart building technology

Drew Deatherage of Crux Solutions discusses where owners and AEC firms could do better at optimizing smart technology in building design and operations.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 10, 2022

Design guide for parapets: Safety, continuity, and the building code

This course covers design considerations for parapets. The modern parapet must provide fire protection, serve as a fall-protective guard, transition and protect the roof/facade interface, conceal rooftop equipment, and contribute to the aesthetic character of the building. 

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 10, 2022

Designing smarter places of learning

This course explains the how structural steel building systems are suited to construction of education facilities.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | May 2, 2022

12 factors to consider in evaluating tankless water heaters for multifamily housing projects

The pace of tankless water heater adoption in the overall residential market could portend greater acceptance in the broader multifamily market. Despite these positive signs, many developers hold fast to the notion that tankless units can’t produce enough hot water to meet the needs of hundreds of apartment or condo dwellers. Here are 12 factors to consider in evaluating tankless water heaters for your next multifamily housing project.

Concrete Technology | Apr 19, 2022

SGH’s Applied Science & Research Center achieves ISO 17025 accreditation for concrete testing procedures

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s (SGH) Applied Science & Research Center recently received ISO/IEC17025 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) for several concrete testing methods.

Sponsored | BD+C University Course | Apr 19, 2022

Multi-story building systems and selection criteria

This course outlines the attributes, functions, benefits, limits, and acoustic qualities of composite deck slabs. It reviews the three primary types of composite systems that represent the full range of long-span composite floor systems and examines the criteria for their selection, design, and engineering.

Wood | Apr 13, 2022

Mass timber: Multifamily’s next big building system

Mass timber construction experts offer advice on how to use prefabricated wood systems to help you reach for the heights with your next apartment or condominium project. 

AEC Tech | Apr 13, 2022

Morphosis designs EV charging station for automaker Genesis

LA-based design and architecture firm Morphosis has partnered with automotive luxury brand Genesis to bring their signature brand and styling, attention-to-detail, and seamless customer experience to the design of Electric Vehicle Charging (EVC) Stations.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: