A Drone Attack!

Construction Firms Must Embrace a Culture of Innovation to Keep Up


by ANDRE WIDJAJA Feb 25, 2015

For the construction industry to keep up with the rapid evolution in technology trends, owners and employers need to instill a culture of innovation within their companies, say experts.
Lauren Hasegawa, co-founder of Bridgit, believes the construction industry cannot afford to sit back and wait when it comes to embracing innovation.
Lauren Hasegawa, co-founder of Bridgit, believes the construction industry cannot afford to sit back and wait when it comes to embracing innovation. – Photo: ANDRE WIDJAJA
“When I think about evolution in construction, the one challenge I see that we maybe haven’t evolved as much as we should have,” said Gregg Shoppman, principal. FMI Corp.

Shoppman points out that, on a macro level, the construction industry has not changed much over the last 50 years, relying on the same methods to complete jobs.

Although he’s not expecting the industry to create any technological breakthroughs, he urges them to utilize the tools that are already widely available in order to evolve and improve best practices.

“We’re not making change for change sake, but I’m sure our businesses have to evolve,” he said.

“We’re confusing technology and innovation and that’s a dangerous thing.”

Bridgit co-founder Lauren Hasegawa echoed a similar sentiment — that the industry can’t afford to sit back as other companies find new ways to be more innovative and efficient.

“What may seem like a stretch of the imagination today, may well be reality tomorrow,” she said. “There’s nothing holding us back from adopting those…as an industry we need to decide what makes the most sense and how we embrace these new trends that are coming up.”

Before co-founding Bridgit, Hasegawa worked on-site, which made her realize all of the inefficiencies that needed to be addressed.

Bridgit’s first app Closeout creates a paperless method of reporting site deficiencies using a mobile device — allowing communication between contractors and subcontractors

“I was used to using my phone, I was used to using my computer for everything else in my life, but as soon as I got to work I wasn’t doing that,” she added.

“I started to think about technology in the industry as a whole and where the gaps were.”

According to Hasegawa, some companies have already started to use other existing technology to improve the way they work.

Inspire One

Drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aierial Vehicle) have made their way on to construction sites recently, mainly used to capture aerial images for progress photography.

Hasegawa also says 4D modeling will become more prominent, which would be used to determine which part of a project is behind schedule, on time or ahead of schedule. The fourth dimension in this method represents time.

Some of her other recommendations are more practicial, such as using cloud systems to store data, allowing multiple parties to make real-time changes to a document.

Other upcoming technology trends include the application of consumer products that are already available to the public.

“Google Glass and that armband (Myo), those weren’t designed for construction. Those were designed for consumer use. They were targeting video games and at-home applications, but it’s very easy to start looking at those technologies and apply them onsite as well,” she said.

“Really start to think about what you’d like to have onsite and start to voice those concerns because there’s tons of companies out there that are looking for the next problem to solve”

For Shoppman, innovation can also be defined by a company’s attitude toward tackling smaller problems.

Though it’s not a relatively new concept, Shoppman says more companies should use social media, mentioning that it’s a free way to market as opposed to producing newsletters. He also encourages companies to transfer knowledge from its senior employees to its younger ones and to welcome honest feedback from customers in order to improve their business.

“We might have a great organization, but ask the question, what can we do to get better?” said Shoppman. “Sometimes we get tunnel vision in this industry…challenge conventions.”

Shoppman and Hasegawa spoke at the recent Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) 88th Annual Convention in Toronto.
Feb 25, 2015

Drones To Fly Above Construction Projects

The future is here!

Owners now  have the ways and means of measuring construction progress – from the air. The drone above / in my video /  carries a GoPro camera beneath a Blade 350 QX Drone.

Safety Officials (as per the Ministry of Labour Inspectors) have the option of arriving at a site/ park 2 streets away/ fly a drone and record  video safety violations. All done in real time.

In the past / flying my drone overhead/ I have recorded workers wearing no hard hats,  people not tied off, roofers working beyond bump lines, workers hanging over the top with no safety equipment etc..Most of the time they  have no idea I am flying above.

A colleague of mine questions if Unions would oppose drones,  thinking it was an invasion of privacy. I replied: “Unions would jump on the band wagon as Union projects are far  more superior ( safety practices) than non-union”.

“The Drones Are Coming”

The Drones Are Coming

“Don’t Count Seniors Out” – In Construction!!!

I always shake my head when someone say’s to me ” Bet You Can’t Wait Until Retirement” At Which I quickly reply /  Retire to What ???

When you love what you do why should you stop? Tell retirement  to Michael Butt [ Buttcon Const.] The late Bruce Evans of [Evanco] or Butch Stewart [Sandals] These guys never worked for the money but worked only for the thrill because they love what they do.

Guys and Gals in their 70’s and 80’s can still “Giv-er” They have been there, done that and ate it. You cannot put a price tag on  their experience. They also can educate the younger kids on what to do and not what to do. Good Workmanship to a senior is everything.

Working in construction is similar to working at “Yuk Yuk’s” The laughs are many and you acquire  a bond with your team. Going out for a few beers/ on a Thursday night with plumbers/ is quite an experience.

If you leave your car in the driveway – it rusts. A working construction senior  would have a sign on the window reading ” don’t bother knockin if this car’s  rockin”photo 4

So, if you’re retired and bored sitting at home [feeling sorry for yourself]- get off your ass and apply for a job at the local construction site. “Tell Them Larry Sent You”