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Are you a Construction Technophile or Technophobe?
Published November 2nd, 2017

Love it or hate it, technology is here to stay. Some people embrace it, with their iPads, smart-phones, and laptops ever connected to the pulse of the world. Fitness trackers on their wrists, Go-pro's , dash-cams, and Google Glasses monitoring and recording their daily activities. Even books, magazines, and news are delivered wirelessly to their tablets and e-readers. Problems are solved rebooting, running updates, and changing strings of code. Still others shun technology, avoiding it at all costs. While this group may be in the minority, most of us know at least one person who still writes letters and sends them by "snail mail", distrusts ordering anything or paying bills online, has a landline or flip phone, and, gasp...no Facebook , Linkedin , or Twitter account! Most of us however fall into a third group that simply accepts technology for what it is, a new method to perform tasks and achieve our desired results. Technology allows us to accomplish our goals faster, easier, and with fewer mistakes, and this results in saving us time and money.

The construction industry is no stranger to technological advancements. Pneumatic nailers, cordless drills and drivers, laser levels, and even hammers ergonomically designed to apply more force with less fatigue are commonplace in the field today. CAD, building information modeling (BIM ) , and 3-D modeling are the tools of the modern draftsman and architect, and can allow engineers to anticipate and resolve issues before they arise. Site superintendents, project managers, and general and sub- contractors make use of mobile applications that notify them of scheduling conflicts and deadlines, download and view prints online, and shop for materials from suppliers across the country and around the world in minutes via the world wide web. Solutions for challenges encountered on a construction site can sometimes be as close as a Google search, saving time and materials previously lost in the time tested trial and error method.

Innovative technology in the construction field is not limited to electronics or communications, either. Advances in chemical engineering have resulted in more consistent, better weathering, and longer lasting adhesives, caulks, sealants, and paints and coatings. Epoxy and chemical anchors by innovative companies such as Hilti give builders more options when considering loads and substrates. Structural insulated panels (SIP's) can provide a strong, energy efficient alternative to conventional building while saving time and providing environmental and tax benefits to the builder and project owner. Composite, impact resistant, dimensional roofing shingles like those available from companies such as GAF increase aesthetics and most come with a 20-30 year warranty, and newer, single-ply roofing systems are less labor and equipment intensive than built up roofing. And lighter, stronger structural components are allowing use to create longer spans and taller buildings that are safer than ever before.

Perhaps most importantly, technology makes staying informed and knowledgeable of these industry changes possible. Technology makes it possible to take advantage of training, education, and certification resources that may have been previously unknown to a contractor, required a significant investment of time away from the job, or simply been unavailable to them in their location. Trade associations ( Associated General Contractors , Associated Builders and Contractors , etc.) nationwide, or even worldwide ( Confederation of International Contractors' Association ), can be joined and accessed electronically, providing contractors with a wealth of expanded knowledge and experience at their fingertips. And, the training and certification provided by these organizations can also provide contractors with a powerful tool when marketing to their clients. Ultimately, no matter what category you fall into, technophile or technophobe, it is hard to deny that technology is another tool in a contractors bag that, in the right hands, can deliver strong, safe, beautiful, and cost effective results for the contractor and client.



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