ConTech Conversations: Automated Processes Will Help Build Successful, CEO Says


Construction has a reputation for lagging behind when it comes to technology adoption.

The pandemic, however, has forced many contractors to remotely monitor the progress of the construction site. Pre-existing problems in the industry worsened as new ones emerged from the pandemic, said Graham Hunter, CEO and founder of 3D laser scanning company GeoSlam. As work continues and new projects begin, contractors determine which practices to adopt as standard.

UK-based GeoSlam recently launched a project tracking platform using the cloud point data generated. The Construction Progress platform uses a GeoSlam handheld scanner to collect data, process it, and generate a model showing on-site changes by date and time.

Construction Dive spoke with Hunter to learn more about his take on the reputation for adopting construction technology, the issues construction faces today, and what both mean for the future.

The following has been edited for brevity and clarity.

CONSTRUCTION DIVING: The construction industry has a reputation for lagging behind in the adoption of technology. Why is that?

GRAHAM HUNTER: Innovation in construction has a bad reputation, often scoffed at as an industry that lags behind others in technology adoption. It seems somewhat unfair. As a “brick and mortar” industry, it relies heavily on equipment, machinery and a practical workforce in many ways. In recent years however, and certainly spurred on by the effects of the global pandemic, many forward-thinking construction companies have adapted and deployed innovative solutions to save time and money. However, few companies have grasped the full benefits of digital technology.

Graham hunter

Authorization granted by GeoSlam

Driving the technology is one thing, but getting company-wide adoption is another. As construction projects are typically fragmented, companies face a number of logistical, financial and physical hurdles. Pressure has now started to mount on the area, with a growing population and housing demand reaching a boiling point in the post-pandemic boom.

Construction technology is reshaping the industry, helping large and small teams meet deadlines, keep project costs to a minimum, and keep workers safe in potentially hazardous environments. But to stay ahead of the competition and meet these demands, construction companies around the world must embrace these new innovations rather than hesitate to invest in their future.

Why are project mapping and documentation important?

Project mapping and documentation throughout construction is imperative to stay on track, especially with the many stakeholders, suppliers and customers involved. And with much of the world working remotely or adopting hybrid work models due to the ongoing pandemic, accessing live project updates has become even more of a challenge for the industry.

Being able to see the progress of a project gives management and people working on site a clear and objective view of the progress, broken down into different stages of the construction process. It helps prevent missed milestones or costly conflicts between contractors and building owners, and highlights problems ahead of time.

As more companies begin to embrace digital technology, the construction process remains one of the least digitized industries in the world.

The trend towards automated processes should be seen as the future of the industry, as ever increasing demand, along with financial and time pressures, keep growing.

How can small entrepreneurs who build smaller projects use emerging technologies?

The main advantages of using this technology are the ease and speed with which tasks can be completed. These improvements are invaluable to large contractors, allowing them not only to meet project demands, but also to collaborate effectively with growing teams that may be spread across different networks and locations.

But more than that, it would be integral to the survival of small businesses which, with manual and traditional tools still at their disposal, are unable to deliver the mass production that large corporations can achieve.

The technology offers greater reach to small construction companies. Easy-to-use portable scanning devices not only greatly reduce costs, but also do not require specialist knowledge or experience to perform precise and highly detailed scanning. Businesses that rely on ground scanners to map a location, however, would be hampered by the financial implications of outsourcing to an expert.

What are some of the biggest problems facing construction today?

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion, and other statistics suggest two in three people will live in cities. With that in mind, the demand for better, faster and greener construction has never been so evident. Additionally, the pandemic has increased pressure on the construction industry to help “upgrade” the economy.

But, without the technology to keep pace, how can construction companies hope to achieve this ambition?

The majority of processes used in the industry still rely heavily on manual applications prone to human error, ultimately leaving businesses at risk. In the industry, there is a three-in-four chance that the planned completion date will be delayed by 40% or more on megaprojects, meaning that costly delays and costly overruns are common for companies that fail to make it happen. automate. Well-deployed technology could solve these problems.


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