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Does the Construction Industry Fear Technology?

Francine HarrisApril 16, 2020 • 2 min read

Rhumbix’s resident ConApp Guru, Rob McKinney, had an opportunity to chat with XOi Technologies Founder/CEO C. Aaron Salow. It was a lively conversation focused on trends, growth potential and why the construction industry is still hesitant to adopt new technologies. We wanted to highlight Rob’s take on the interview, “Does the industry fear technology? If so, how can we address those fears?” Asked Salow.

It’s true that most industries have undergone tremendous change over the past few decades and have reaped the benefits of technology and innovation. Unfortunately, the construction sector has been hesitant to fully embrace these opportunities.  And yet, very few markets and industries can be competitive or successful without some measure of adaptability and willingness to incorporate new technology into their business.

So, is it fear? Skepticism? Generational roadblocks? Ultimately, what prevents companies from trying new technology comes down to the three C’s – Change, Cost, and Culture.

Few people love change.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite, given how much we embrace routine. We get up at the same time each morning, eat the same things for breakfast, go to work in the same way, meet the same colleagues and engage in roughly the same tasks. So, it’s no wonder that most organizations/teams will encounter people who are slow to change or just plain resist it. They may view technological changes as the first step in loss of status or job security in the organization. And though management may clearly see the benefits of technology, they may also fear alienating groups of workers.

A recent contractor survey noted that construction IT spending was at a standstill. With increasing materials costs and a skilled labor shortage, the industry is reticent to spend resources on technology.  The cost of building materials continues to increase worldwide. Some analysts estimate that costs may have risen by as much as 9% over the last year. And while the ROI on purchasing capital equipment is clearer, the dots may be harder to connect with tech purchases. Adopting new technology can sometimes be costly and require some level of skill to implement. In addition, construction is a very cyclical business, giving many business leaders pause when asked to invest in technology.

The construction industry is made up of men and women with skills ranging from management to trigonometry to design to human resources. A typical team consists of engineers, designers, and workers with degrees and educations of all levels. Yet, the “we’ve always done it this way” culture persists. Deemed by Forbes as “the most dangerous phrase in business,” doing things the same way puts any business at risk. Instead, companies embrace a culture of change in order to maximize their potential.


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