Q&A on Construction Tech with Procore’s Miles Anderson
All month long, we’ve been sharing information on how technology and construction go hand in hand to make the building process safer and more efficient. Today, we get to dive deeper into this topic with the help of Miles Anderson, manager at Procore.org, an organization that creates continuing education courses for the trades and skilled labor and offers access to construction software products for non-profit organizations and educational institutions.
Check out the Q&A below. When you’re ready to start your career in a tech-related construction field, click here!
Q: How does technology improve the construction/building process?
A: There was a great study that was done by the McKinsey Global Institute several years ago called “Reinventing Construction Through a Productivity Revolution.” In the report, the authors noted that, although spending in the construction industry accounts for 13 percent of the world’s GDP, the sector’s annual productivity growth has only increased 1 percent over the past 20 years. One of the main reasons for this is that construction firms have been slow to adopt technology, but I think that this trend is starting to change as the benefits of using this technology become clear. For example, construction management software can improve many aspects of the building process by speeding up the flow of information, increasing transparency, and helping business leaders make more intelligent decisions about how to deploy their firm’s resources. As companies realize that technology like this can enhance their business processes and ultimately produce better results, I think a lot more construction firms will start to adopt technology more widely in the future.
Q: What kind of gadgets & apps are commonly used in construction?
A: There are many technological advancements that are becoming more common in the construction industry. For example, Building Information Modeling (BIM) software allows for realistic 3D renderings of a project that can be used to make decisions before the project is actually built, and drone and sensor technology allows businesses to track how construction assets and equipment are being used. You’ll often encounter firms using construction management software as a way to increase collaboration on a project and handle complex workflows, as well as other innovations that track and analyze data, promote safety on the job site, and perform a number of other important functions.
Q: What surprised you about working in construction software?
A: Working for a construction management software company has given me a great overview of the industry and its potential. When I grew up, I was taught that working in the construction industry was somehow less desirable than pursuing a career as a doctor or lawyer, for instance. But, working with our clients has shown me that the construction industry is a great option for future careers – there’s so much you can do in this field, and new technological advancements are helping to speed up progress while creating breakthroughs that are changing the way in which we build. It’s an exciting time for the industry!
Q: What advice do you have for young people interested in working on the tech side of construction?
A: At Procore, we have a saying that we’re construction people making software – not software people doing construction – and we place a high value on creating a culture of employees who understand the industry. I would advise anyone considering a career in construction tech to build a strong knowledge of the industry, so they can start to understand some of the critical problems technology can solve. Internships and full-time positions at a construction company offer powerful opportunities to gain this knowledge, and informational interviews with industry professionals can also shed light on the key responsibilities and challenges many face.
Q: What does the future of building look like?
A: I believe that builders will become more efficient as the AEC industry adopts new technologies and that this will be a necessity to keep up with demands in our society. Bill Gates has said, ”We need to build another New York City each month for the next 40 years” to keep up with the demands of an increased population & urbanization. Things like robotics & wearables to help workers build quicker on the job site, modular & precast solutions to decrease schedules and costs to install materials. There is a lot of potential as construction moves from analog to digital, and beyond. Like most industries, there will be many new jobs to solve for new challenges as technology solves for challenges that we are facing today.
Miles Anderson has worked for Procore for over 5 years. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in political science, he joined Procore Technologies and learned about the landscape of technology in the AEC industry working in business development. He is now a manager of the Procore.org team and supports universities, K-12 programs, training centers, and non-profit builders using Procore.