Sharpening Your Construction Skills for 2021

As we embark into 2021, with construction project pipelines faced with uncertainty and trepidation, having a good formula for a successful skill-set largely depends upon the specific job role. Keep in mind that the industry requires logistical interfacing between a multitude of key players from Project Owners to BIM/VDC Managers, Estimators and Schedulers to Project Managers and Superintendents, Project Accountants, to name a few.

Workload responsibilities and the demanding nature of expectations tied to time, budget, and quality set the stage for the entire project lifecycle. Core competencies include having an understanding of safety protocols coupled with building codes and regulations at the local, state, and federal levels, alongside OSHA and newly adopted COVID-19 safety precautions, and sustainability best practices (e.g. LEED AP and WELL AP).

Construction workflows have become digitized (and remote). Additionally, data scientists are making an appearance in construction now that predictive analytics can power up enterprise resource planning and allocation for insightful and impactful construction financial decisions.

Now more than ever, it is important be an empathetic leader and teammate on topics like mental health and wellness, diversity & inclusion and ensure engagement with a higher rate of favorable project outcomes. Creditability and trust are especially valued assets to have in the field. Practice having a process-oriented mindset, since construction projects start conceptually, working through preconstruction activities, then to actual build-out to close-out, handover and lastly, operations and maintenance.

Before we dive into a few key skills, remember to sift through all the hype to get to what’s real. Have a general understanding of what technology/digital tool applies to which stage in the project and have the ability to convey the main problems it solves to the next person simply and swiftly.

  1. Work smart, not hard. Smarter, connected jobsites are part of the new industrialized construction frontier, featuring trending technologies such as 3D printing, DfMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly), prefabrication, reality capture (laser scanning), VR/AR/MR, machine learning, and robotics, many of which borrow pages out directly out of the manufacturing playbook with attention to lean construction principles. Industry 4.0 is about taking a digital design to a manufactured point. This results in RFI consolidation and fewer change orders, therefore less rework, less waste, streamlined schedules, more sustainable business practices, and less exposure to unpredictable project variables. Connected construction has arrived.
  2. Be an innovator. Try testing and tinkering with hardware and software, along with an added layer of optimization for the ultimate user experience. Ask your end user peers (architects, engineers, contractors, trade partners and owners) to drive demand and garner feedback to loop back to technology solution providers to suggest enhancements and platform improvement. There is a surge in fostering new relationships and building out networking capabilities that all point to the emergence of partnerships.
  3. Always be learning. Onboarding and customized training efforts, including starter kits, interoperability exchange, work-sharing, experiential and simulation learning techniques, and digestible, on-demand information will be prevalent in the Digital Age in Construction. Allow for open dialogue. Everyone learns in unique ways and digests information at their own pace. With continuous improvement, we’re on the right track. Explore various solutions and be able to articulate the pros and cons as to why that tech tool makes sense (or doesn’t) for project usage to the appropriate stakeholders for buy-in. Start by making lasting and effective habitual changes. Bonus: This can help diffuse tool and app fatigue.
  4. Start to Finish. Role-Based Thinking, Project Phase Integrations, and Collaborative Delivery Methods (e.g., IPD) will all be important for improved outcomes. You can enhance these outcomes further by encouraging field personnel to share experiences and consultative efforts during earlier stages such as pre-construction and bidding. Operational alignment gets fine-tuned.  
  5. Dial-in to Pinnacle Series. Take the ingredients shared for design-thinking to set you on course for implementing a fully-baked technology adoption strategy or add seasoning to what is already simmering to existing methods previously rolled-out at your construction firm.

One commonly experienced pain point is when the traction gained by technology tool advancements manifests into hurdles due to the technology adoption dilemma. To supplement the tools you are utilizing today, find out more about Pinnacle Series’ content library offering on Autodesk Construction Cloud (Assemble, BuildingConnected) BIM 360, PlanGrid, Navisworks for trade coordination, Bluebeam, BIM Track, Global BIM Standards – ISO 19650 and much more to help build on what you already know.

Bianca Holtier Coury, Construction Technology Manager at Eagle Point Software

As the Construction Technology Manager for Eagle Point Software, Bianca is a builder, connector, change agent and construction strategist responsible for facilitating process improvement and aligning technology with operational excellence across the AECO space. Bianca is responsible for content creation and curation of the construction tech library for Eagle Point’s e-learning productivity and LMS platform known as Pinnacle Series. She has more than 15 years of experience in construction project management in both residential and commercial verticals, procurement and urban planning, plus a strong background in technology, business development and sustainable initiatives. Bianca has been featured in several publications, construction podcasts and speaker panels. Bianca is a LEED Green Associate and Director of Partnerships for Construction Progress Coalition. Bianca holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Design and Architecture Studies from New York University


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