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Commercial Construction Technology – Keeping Up with the Joneses

People have been constructing high-rise buildings for centuries. In the 16th century, mud brick buildings reached 30 meters in Shibam, Yemen. What technology enabled this amazing feat? Early high-rise buildings took years and even decades to complete. Today the average high-rise building (taller than 150 meters) takes approximately 3 years to complete. This is extraordinary considering what goes into constructing a building that is 45 stories tall and the commercial construction industry continues to pick up momentum. Timelines are so compressed, it seems that as soon as the thought has entered the owner’s mind, the building is occupied and the next project is beginning. One of the primary influences abbreviating the commercial construction timeline is technology.

Consider this scenario. Your IT department has devised a brilliant plan (or lack thereof) taking your business to the next level with Augmented Reality. “We will be on the leading edge of technology and this will identify us as the leader in commercial construction” they say. No one in your IT department has given any thought as to how it will help your business help your customers and in turn making your business more profitable. Everyone is walking around with VR headsets on, no one knows how to use this or why they are using it, the IT department does nothing but play video games and Michael from Accounting just fell down the stairs. So now you have invested an extensive amount of money, the IT guys are ordering Mountain Dew by the truck load and your experience modification rating (EMR or safety) is virtually off the charts. This is not a good method for embracing new technology in commercial construction. However, if you are an architectural firm that specializes in high-rise buildings, giving the owner a “virtual tour” of their new building can reduce their cost in many ways.

So now you know how you can help your customer with technology but will this make your business more profitable? Research, plan, research and plan. Questions need to be asked and answers need to be produced. Do your customers want this technology? Will this technology bring in more customers? How will you pay for this technology? How long before you will need to replace this technology? Who in the company will be using this technology? How much training is necessary? How will this enable you to bill more? Etcetera. Set goals. Everyone should understand that you are looking to deploy this technology for specific reasons (IE: assist your customer, be more profitable) and those reasons should be outlined. If you come to the realization that you cannot reach your goal with this solution, you can stop and reevaluate. Once you have answered these questions and set your goals, you can start testing. You should always test with a small group. As depicted earlier, starting off by just purchasing Augmented Reality for everyone in the company will probably not work. Get feedback. Ask the people using the technology what they think about this new technology. Getting buy-in from your end users will minimize resistance of the change using this new technology. Once your users are masters and proponents of the new technology, deploy in small doses. Get feedback from your customers and make changes as necessary.

This is not an exact play book for deploying new technology in commercial construction. The point is that just because the technology is available does not mean that it will improve your business. So, when your IT department tells you about the new fleet of drones that will be deployed at the next holiday party, give them some pause. Ask yourself, how will this help your customers and how will this make your company more profitable?


At ASST, we know that commercial construction technology is like the spice in cooking. The right amount at the right time will bring everyone to the table. ASST continuously evaluates the need for new technology and how we can better assist our customers. Let us assist you with your next commercial Casework, Millwork and Solid Surface project. Contact us now online or call us at 717-630-1251.


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