Price, Bid, Win

Construction companies hard hit by the COVID-19 economic slowdown depend on winning contracts with sustainable and profitable pricing. Losing money is all too easy when prices fluctuate dramatically and your bids can’t keep up. Software companies are working hard to adjust their products to keep pace with market changes to give contractors an edge.

InEight, Inc., a construction project management software developer, has released an update to its project cost management solution that significantly improves the quote workflow for contractors while boosting their confidence to choose the right quotes. By providing the ability to view and edit all quotes directly in the user interface, the update allows users to quickly arrive at the best selections available while knowing how any quote group will impact the estimate.

COVID Conferencing

With the growth of remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, teleconferencing and videoconferencing have blossomed as the default methods of keeping in touch with the office staff. Zoom and Skype have become household—and office—words. But the stay-at-home rules are changing, and people are returning, slowly, to their workplaces. Will that put an end to the growth of online conferencing?

According to Gartner, global end-user spending on cloud-based web conferencing solutions will grow 24.3% in 2020.  Workplace restrictions spurred by the coronavirus pandemic will expand the cloud conferencing user base throughout 2020, but growth will taper off in 2021 as the lasting effects of a remote workforce render conferencing services commonplace.

Viewing Safety in All Directions

Safety on the jobsite requires more than hot vests and steel toed boots. Vehicle traffic, both delivering and working trucks and equipment, needs to be respected. Drivers must have visual contact with any obstacle and every person in range when moving their vehicle. Since every vehicle has blind spots, adopting technology to give the driver a clear view makes sense.

SmartDrive Systems, a company focused on video-based safety and what they call “transportation intelligence,” provided The Silvi Group  with a video-based safety program across its fleet after Silvi evaluated two other programs. The program includes fully managed service and proactive coaching.

Infrastructure on the Agenda

Since the 2016 election campaign, the status of the infrastructure in the U.S. has been used as a wedge issue. Both major parties talk about it, the President talks about it—remember the almost annual “Infrastructure Week?”—and the press talks about it, but nothing has been done about it. Yet.

The House of Representatives, under the Democratic majority, has been debating H.R. 2, “Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act” better known as the “INVEST in America Act.” The Senate has been moving to committee a similar bill by the Republican majority.

IoT and Digital Twins

The growth of Digital Twin technology parallels the growth of the IoT—Internet of Things. Many research firms are tracking both the IoT and Digital Twin markets, but not all use the same definitions.

Juniper Research in the UK, for example, defines a Digital Twin as a virtual model representation of a connected physical product, process, or service, across its whole lifecycle (design, build, operate). The virtual replica uses operational realtime data and other sources of information to enable detection of issues, advance both learning and understanding, as well as test and simulate scenarios in the physical model counterpart.

Construction, AI and COVID-19

Business as it has been may not be the norm as nations around the world are still impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Governments at every level are searching for ways to aid their constituents, keep them safe and still reopen businesses that have been shuttered as a precaution against unnecessary spread of the virus. The implementation of lockdowns has resulted in stoppage or delays of construction projects and disruption of supply chains in the sector.

To tackle the impact of COVID-19, governments worldwide are expected to take significant steps and implement schemes for promoting construction projects once the pandemic is under control. A research report on the Global AI in Construction Market by Research Dive presents the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the present and future market growth.

Construction Safety Challenge

Construction has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, although in many states building continues while other businesses are shut down. Equally important, construction companies are learning a critical lesson from the coronavirus problem: safety must be paramount. How they are responding can be helpful information for others in the field.

A coalition of critical infrastructure and construction companies has banded together to launch the “NEXT Coalition” to promote and share industry safety best practices. Black & Veatch, DPR Construction, Haskell and McCarthy Building Companies are leveraging their safety expertise and best practices in a campaign to ensure the well-being of crews and office team members facing complex challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

Solar Energy Portfolio

The green movement has many facets but one that usually comes to mind is renewable energy replacing fossil fuel use. Investments in solar energy, for example, are popular among fund managers looking to develop a strong portfolio going into the next decades.

Energy Impact Partners (EIP), an investment firm focused on the sustainable energy transition, and NextPower III, an international fund managed by NextEnergy Capital Group (NEC), is acquiring 102 MW (megawatts) of community solar projects in upstate New York. This will be under the management of EIP’s Infrastructure Group and in collaboration with U.S. Light Energy, a community solar development company in New York.

Infrastructure Workorder Management

An old ironworker saying goes, “Rust never sleeps.” Leave steel out in the elements even for a short time, and rust will be showing up. It seems, in many parts of the country, that “Potholes never sleep.” Go to bed with the street nice and even; wake up to a crater in the middle of the road. Civil engineers have these nightmares and infrastructure companies have the answers. Now those companies have a new management tool as well.

Woolpert has designed the Cityworks GeoPhoto Tool to enable field crews and end users to spatially view linear assets, such as streets and bridges, and relevant work order information at the exact location along each asset.

Collected And Connected

Companies buy insurance to protect their bottomline in case of accident or delays; insurance companies create systems to protect their bottomline from too many claims. By helping their clients, insurance firms help themselves as well.

The Construction insurance business of AXA XL takes this idea to heart. AXA XL is the property, casualty, and specialty risk division of AXA, providing insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized and larger companies. By creating the Construction Ecosystem, an integrated digital platform that employs construction technologies to monitor and aggregate data, AXA XL provides contractor clients with insights and benchmarks to help manage risks on their jobsites and across their organizations.