Preparing your workforce for future success
by Tony Glockler
June 26, 2017

General contractors don’t have the time or resources for excessive rework while working on large projects. This means that implementing new technology tends to get pushed to the back burner, because new technology means training yourself and your team on how to effectively use the tools. With little downtime between projects and no room for mistakes, construction business owners often delay implementing new technology, even when they know it will save them time and expense.

One such technology, building information modeling (BIM) software, provides general contractors with the ability to visualize projects, estimate costs and operate more efficiently. Proposed changes can be tested within the model to estimate budget and schedule impact. Through clash detection, issues can be resolved before they become problems. Construction business owners can utilize technology to communicate with customers, collaborate with their teams and manage planning. BIM software is changing the way projects are constructed to achieve substantial time and cost savings.

So, why aren’t general contractors investing in training and equipping their teams with BIM solutions? Often, the short-term expense and potential delays in off-site training deter construction business owners from prioritizing learning new tools and technologies. However, on-demand BIM training can increase productivity without taking team members off the jobsite. Web-based platforms offer learning resources wherever and whenever teams need them, providing answers to questions as they have them.

Implementing BIM software and the training required to use it effectively requires a new mindset. It is now important for general contractors to become technically adept at using BIM software to manage projects and collaborate on designs. This training can also help streamline communication, which shows designers how your real-world insights and field experience can improve the design and building processes. Technologically-adept general contractors can benefit from the advancements in BIM with a relatively small training investment.

For general contractors, it isn’t a question of if they should be using BIM software, but how to do so most effectively. Which solutions will increase business profitability and quality? How do you get your team up to speed on new technology quickly? While BIM software can have a great return on investment (ROI), it is essential to ensure that your team is fully benefitting from the capabilities.

First, assess the technology you currently use. Determine the team’s level of proficiency, and assign lessons in any functions that could use improvement. BIM software adds new features and capabilities regularly, but without ongoing training, many teams do not fully utilize the advancements. Next, look for new tools or upgrades that can help improve the bottom line.

While it is important to factor in disruption costs, don’t put off adopting new tech any longer than you have to. Many business owners view technology as an expense, but often, new technology can save more money than it costs. It’s important to consider is that BIM software can only provide a positive ROI if it is being used effectively.

Review your business goals for the year, and put in place a plan to obtain the resources to get there. Some business owners view technology as an expense and an attempt to save money by not providing their team with the resources they need, but skipping this investment costs much more in decreased efficiency. Cutting-edge construction businesses who implement software tools and provide their team with training resources to effectively use those tools quickly recuperate costs through increased productivity. These business owners also see long-term returns through attracting and retaining customers.

Technology is evolving more rapidly than ever. Construction business owners need to be proactive in planning for their company’s future. Instead of becoming comfortable in your current practices, challenge yourself to think about how you can continue to evolve. You will be able to anticipate where the industry is going by implementing a professional development program that puts your team on the path to future results. If you wait until a technology is common practice to start implementing it, you will be left behind. Get ahead of cutting-edge technology by thinking about where the industry is headed and how to create a path to get there.

By adopting on-demand training to get up to speed on new technology and ensure their team is fully utilizing the capabilities available, contractors can maximize their business potential long term.