The digital revolution that has upended every major business sector is now transforming the $10 trillion construction industry. Nowhere is the shift more evident than at digitally enabled jobsites, which can be as productive as connected factories.

Accenture Strategy, a division of Accenture, the international consulting firm, recently published “Building Construction Growth with Bricks and Mortar,” a report offering a view of the latest digitization initiatives happening at the core of the industry. It’s recommended reading for construction company decision makers.

The New Jobsite: How Digitization Makes It Work Better and Faster

Here’s a quick look at some of what’s going on at today’s optimally connected worksites, per Accenture Strategy’s report.

  • Real-time connection between crews and management to communicate difficulties and changes in plans. 3D models can be sent via wireless devices.
  • Connected monitors that let the home office track maintenance schedules, fuel consumption, asphalt temperature at rollout and more.
  • Augmented reality visors to provide workers with BIM data overlaid onto the real-world view of the site, eliminating the need for traditional paper documentation and plans.
  • Sensored exoskeletons that enable workers to lift heavier loads, increasing efficiency, minimizing fatigue and reducing injury rates.
  • Real-time views of each worker – heart rate, body temperature, location – to help manage crews more effectively.
  • Connected fleets that let site managers monitor location of equipment and control access to it.
  • Online 3D printing that lets crews create what they need as they need it.

Additionally, digital technology can reduce the time consumed by traditional ground surveys. Drones can collect data and map a 60-acre site in under four days vs. the two-to-three weeks required by traditional methods.

Why Construction Companies Need to Go Digital Now

Augmented reality, exoskeletons and drones may sound like science fiction, but smart construction companies are using these digital tools and seeing real results at the bottom line. Accenture Strategy reports these worksite initiatives are yielding a 5 to 7 percent impact on EBITDA, with a jump to as much as 12 percent by 2020.

“Moving to a digital model is essential for future survival as connected homes, smart factories and offices, and consumers who demand sustainable construction at the right price point become more prevalent,” the report predicts. “Without implementing digital technologies, construction companies will lose to nimbler digital players.”

First Steps to Digitization: An Ecosystem of Niche Players

Should construction companies begin to build their own digital capabilities? The Accenture Strategy report urges decision makers to stick to their core business rather than chase the latest tech innovations. The authors advocate the formation of partnerships with niche players who specialize in the digital products and services that can deliver on consumers’ construction demands. For future success, they say, look to alliances with or acquisitions of digital start-ups that will help drive growth and profitability.

IBS is proud to be part of the digitization of the construction industry. We are a value-added reseller of Acumatica’s Construction Edition, a full-featured construction accounting software that serves to improve the bottom line for general contractors, homebuilders, subcontractors, specialty contractors and land developers. Learn more.