Annual Construction Technology Report Shows Progress Despite Low Information Technology Budgets

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JBKnowledge publishes fifth technology report, highlighting both expected and surprising trends in the construction industry.

As the industry progresses towards technology adoption, the insights that I get each year help guide my R&D and what I put on my radar.

The 2016 Construction Technology Report, published by JBKnowledge in partnership with the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), and Texas A&M University’s Construction Science Department, is now available for download. The fifth annual report compiles the survey results of over 2,000 construction professionals and provides analysis of technology trends within the construction industry. The analysis examines the AEC industry's software usage, integrations, cloud adoption, BIM/VDC workflows, mobile apps, data security, emerging technologies, and the role that IT staff plays within construction companies.

In the foreword of the report, James Benham, JBKnowledge CEO, explains the purpose of the annual report: "1) We aim to jumpstart the construction newbie who has no idea where to start. 2) We hope to inspire the seasoned veterans to fight tech complacency. 3) We want technology providers to see the opportunities and weaknesses of what we’re bringing to the table. And finally, 4) We want to encourage the individual construction professionals around the world to nerd out."

To produce the annual Construction Technology Report every year, JBKnowledge distributes a comprehensive online survey to over 50,000 professionals in the industry. This year survey respondents came from many sectors including commercial, industrial, transportation, waste management, power and manufacturing. The majority, over 70%, build in Commercial Construction, and 58% of those identify as a Contractor/Construction Manager. Age range was added to the 2016 survey and more than 50% of those surveyed were born in the 60s-70s. In 2016, less survey participants identified Estimator or Project Manager as their primary role, while more classified as Executive, Accounting, IT Staff and Owner/Principal. Thanks to survey partner CFMA, this year's survey reached a wide audience of decision makers in a financial role.

Stuart Binstock, CFMA President & CEO, stated, “For three years, CFMA’s members have contributed to the increased growth and distribution of this report and we are proud to continue our partnership. Knowing that the goal of this research is to provide valuable insights into the role of technology in construction companies makes it an important tool in building the professional success of construction industry financial managers who often serve as a de facto CIO or oversee a person who fills that job function.”

In the fifth year of the CT Report, there were many new findings and statistics. While IT spending in construction remains lower than any other industry, this year's report shows that 42.4% of companies are still finding a way to allocate budget for R&D. This is a promising statistic for institutions like Texas A&M who dedicate staff and resources to furthering a culture of R&D in the industry.

"The Texas A&M Construction Science Department is proud to be a partner in the development of the Construction Tech Report each year for multiple reasons," remarked Dr. Joe Horlen, the Construction Science Department Head at Texas A&M University. "First, our faculty is engaged in research that leads to the development of new technological solutions to industry workload and problems. Second, because technology is constantly evolving, it is imperative that we know what is being used in the construction industry, as it helps us better prepare our students for their careers," stated Dr. Horlen.

Surprisingly, the number of construction professionals surveyed that are using a manual process for invitations to bid grew yet again in 2016 - the highest level since the survey was launched in 2012. Cyber liability coverage more than doubled since 2015, indicating that more professionals are understanding the importance of protecting their sensitive cloud data. The report also supports that the AEC industry is entering the "Mobile Revolution," in which apps are becoming an accepted means for workflows. The report shows a 20% increase since 2012 in participants who see mobile capabilities as a "Very Important" factor when considering solutions to purchase. Due to MCAA members' participation, the report also shows a significant increase in BIM adoption, especially among mechanical, electrical and plumbing trades.

"For years, MCAA has promoted the results of this survey as an independent analysis on industry trends in construction technology," stated Sean McGuire, Director of Construction Technology at MCAA. "As a sponsor this year, we were able to get powerful data to leverage for our members and within our research projects throughout the year. As the industry progresses towards technology adoption, the insights that I get each year help guide my R&D and what I put on my radar," remarked McGuire.

For insight on how technology is impacting the construction industry and how your company compares to industry benchmarks, download the 2016 Construction Technology Report, at no cost, at JBKnowledge.com/Report.

About JBKnowledge, Inc.
JBKnowledge develops technology solutions for the construction and insurance industries. JBKnowledge is the maker of the SmartBid commercial construction bid software, the SmartInsight construction network for searching, selecting, and verifying contractors, SmartCompliance certificate of insurance and compliance management software, and the SmartReality augmented and virtual reality app for construction visualization. JBKnowledge also offers professional services including: IT Staff Augmentation; Strategic Consulting; Enterprise Application and Software Development; Mobile and Wearable Applications; Research and Development Outsourcing; and BIM Services. JBKnowledge is headquartered in Bryan/College Station, TX and serves construction clients on an international level. Learn more at jbknowledge.com or listen to the ConTechTrio weekly construction technology podcast.        

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