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Technology is Renovating the Construction Industry

acelab recently interviewed Tim McManus about construction industry trends including effects of the pandemic; usage of technology and opportunities for improvement; enabling the supply chain and architects to work together more productively; and attracting young, diverse professionals and workers.

Matt Samson

Recently, we had a chance to tap the wisdom of Tim McManus. Tim is a consultant and advisor to government agencies and companies involved in the planning, development and delivery of major infrastructure, urban development and sports projects and capital programs. He has worked with companies to develop growth strategies, enterprise risk management plans, organizational restructuring and the adoption of innovation strategies. Tim currently serves as a senior advisor with McKinsey.

Matt Samson, CRO at acelab, asked Tim questions about several current topics in the construction industry such as short- and long-term effects of the pandemic; usage of technology and opportunities for improvement; enabling the supply chain and architects to work together more productively; and attracting young, diverse professionals and workers.

Following were our key takeaways. You can see these and more in the full interview below:

  • Design is being influenced by several macro factors including Covid-19 for the short-to-medium term; increased levels of urbanization; an aging population; and a desire for access to open spaces and nature. Some of these will prove inconsistent and call for highly creative design.
  • While the construction industry represents an astounding 13% of GDP, it invests the least in technology and R&D. This results in flat productivity, delays and cost overruns on the majority of large projects, tight margins and arguably creates a barrier for the much-needed entry of young adults.
  • Good examples of current technology include modular construction, some utilization of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and safety tools.
  • Many opportunities to use more technology relate to interconnectivity of the different segments in the design-to-build cycle. Sourcing, delivery, collaboration and spec writing could all be improved through technology. This includes the productivity of architect and supply chain collaboration through visualization and discovery, communication and commerce platforms.
Katerra is focused on optimizing the building materials supply chain through the application of technology, including offsite to reduce time to completion at the project site.
  • Attracting young and minority professionals and workers will be the lifeblood of the industry and inform better design solutions.
Cheryl McKissack Daniel is using her business savvy to equip New York-based McKissack & McKissack, the oldest black construction company, for future growth.

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Interview references include: Bridges to Prosperity, Ace Mentor Program, Entech Engineering, McKinsey & Company, Reinventing Construction, No Ordinary Disruption, Art of Project Leadership, McKissack & McKissack, Katerra, Gillette Stadium, Turner Construction

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