Constructor - November/December 2016 - 33


BY KATIE KUEHNER-HEBERT

WHEN IT COMES TO a contractor's tech-

nology wish list, there are often two buckets: what one needs and what one wants.
Constructor recently spoke with a few IT
professionals who provided a rundown on
the tools that contractors need both on the
jobsite and in the back office, along with
some emerging technologies to consider
once the essentials are in place.
Rob McKinney, a consultant at
JBKnowledge Inc. in Bryan, Texas, a Houston
Chapter member, says that BIM is on the top
of his list of "must-have" IT tools.
"Make the move to VDC - Virtual Design
Construction!" McKinney says. "BIM software and workflows can help contractors
pre-plan safety, explore design options
and coordinate clash-detection meetings
on systems and even visualize project
schedules and sequencing."
Other IT tools that he recommends
include tablets for field staff to view and
mark up project plans; augmented reality or virtual reality tools such as the
SmartReality app, which can be very useful for visualizing BIM and other project
design elements; and laser scanners, a
highly accurate tool for measuring current
project field conditions.
Contractors who attended the AGC IT
Forum Conference in August were particularly vocal about finding new ways to
deliver stronger and more consistent WiFi
to project sites, says McKinney, who opened
the "affordable solutions" session with a
short update on new mobile apps.
Additional products that contractors
might want to have on their wish lists
include  Richo Theta S for 360 photos
and videos; MS HoloLens, which enables
field staff to work inside the Windows
10 environment while walking a project
site; Apple iPhone 7+, which has two cameras and is water resistant; Apple Watch
Two, which has built-in GPS for tracking;
and the Daqri Smart Helmet, a personal
protective equipment product that features
a heads-up display for real-time communication and collaboration.

THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB
Maury V. Plumlee, vice president,
global marketing at Viewpoint in Portland,
Oregon, an Oregon-Columbia Chapter
@Constr uctor Ma g

and Carolinas AGC member, says the top
"must-have" IT tools for contractors revolve
around the theme of the "right tool for
the job."
"Contractors are looking for software
tools that help field and office teams work
better together," Plumlee says. "This starts
with easy-to-use mobile field management
software that fully integrates with back
office accounting, project and document
management, business analytics and forecasting tools."
Mobile field management software
should be able to run on the device and
operating system of choice, such as iOS or
Android, and must support off-line capture
when internet connections aren't available
at the jobsite, he says. Mobile field software
should offer features for time and production tracking, materials management, site
issues such as defects and inspections,
RFIs, submittals and other communications. Field data should be forwarded to the
accounting system with the proper review
and approval workflows built in.
"Contractors are struggling to manage an ever-increasing amount of project
content," Plumlee says. "To aid productivity and reduce risk, this content must be
stored in a secure, searchable database
so that documents, drawings, videos are
easily shared and retrieved."
Modern content management solutions
offer version control and "check-in/checkout" functionality, so that changes can
be recorded and not overwritten, lost or
deleted, he says. Such a system should also
have configurable approval workflows and
robust reporting capabilities.
Project management software should
be fully integrated with a back office
accounting solution to streamline entry
and reporting, Plumlee says. The software
should also track all project management
functions, including budgets, contracts
and other commitments, as well as change
orders, forecasts, documents and communications. The tool should have the ability
to combine actual costs with pending and
forecasted costs to give the contractor the
full monthly picture of their project portfolio health.
Business intelligence and analytics
tools should have drillable dashboards that

provide project, group or enterprise-level
reporting. Project forecasting tools should
be fully integrated with actual cost systems
and offer flexible methodologies based on
forecasted cost, revenue or hours at completion. Forecasts should be stored for comparison and trend analysis reporting.
"When conducting an ROI exercise to
justify the investment in any new solution, contractors should ask the vendor to
provide concrete ROI examples, which are
based on real-world feedback from clients
who are using the product," Plumlee says.
ROI questions that can help better
understand the benefits of the tool: Which
business processes and workflows can be
improved by implementing the solution?
How many hours can be saved, and in
what areas, including entry, processing or
reporting? What are the indirect benefits,
including will the new solution help lower
risk or increase visibility, both of which
can have a positive effect on the contractor's bottom-line?
It is important to fully account for all
the costs of implementing a solution, he
says, including licensing and annual support fees; IT support costs; implementation
and training; and the costs for the time
to train and implement the staff on the
new solution.

THE CORE BASICS
Christian Burger, president of Burger
Consulting in Chicago, a Builders
Association member, says that companies shouldn't get all caught up in "nice to
have" or advanced software, if they don't
have the core basic software deployed
well, such as a good job cost management
program with change order management
and forecasting.
"Contractors can get all caught up in
the hype and cool stuff that seems to be
trendy, such as drones, wearables and
augmented reality," Burger says. "While
there's nothing wrong with those things,
contractors really need to focus on the
fundamentals that can create tremendous
value or mitigate risk."
Contractors may have core systems,
such as ERP, estimating, or project management well chosen, but many just don't
have the time to implement them well or

N O V E MB E R / D E C E MB E R 2 0 1 6 | www.constructormagazine.com 33


http://www.constructormagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Constructor - November/December 2016

Editor’s Note
President’s Message
CEO’s Letter
AGC’s CM-BIM Credential Program Turns Five
Simonson Says
Cultivate, Innovate, Accelerate at AGC’s 98th Annual Convention
One School, One Instructor, One Student, You: A Workforce Development Campaign
In Good Repair
‘Must-Have’ Technology Tools
Technology Toolbox
Project Collaboration Starts at the Top
Connecting Community and Commuters
2016 Software Services Guide
Products & Services Marketplace
Index to Advertisers
Final Inspection
Constructor - November/December 2016 - cover1
Constructor - November/December 2016 - cover2
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 3
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 4
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 5
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 6
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Editor’s Note
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 8
Constructor - November/December 2016 - President’s Message
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 10
Constructor - November/December 2016 - CEO’s Letter
Constructor - November/December 2016 - AGC’s CM-BIM Credential Program Turns Five
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 13
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 14
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 15
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 16
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Simonson Says
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 18
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 19
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Cultivate, Innovate, Accelerate at AGC’s 98th Annual Convention
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 21
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 22
Constructor - November/December 2016 - One School, One Instructor, One Student, You: A Workforce Development Campaign
Constructor - November/December 2016 - In Good Repair
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 25
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 26
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 27
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 28
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 29
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 30
Constructor - November/December 2016 - ‘Must-Have’ Technology Tools
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 32
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 33
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 34
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Technology Toolbox
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 36
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Project Collaboration Starts at the Top
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 38
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 39
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 40
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 41
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 42
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 43
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 44
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Connecting Community and Commuters
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 46
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 47
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 48
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 49
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 50
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 2016 Software Services Guide
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 52
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 53
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 54
Constructor - November/December 2016 - 55
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Products & Services Marketplace
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Index to Advertisers
Constructor - November/December 2016 - Final Inspection
Constructor - November/December 2016 - cover3
Constructor - November/December 2016 - cover4
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