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Small Businesses Speak to Innovation in Construction Technology

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure heard from experts on emerging technologies in the construction industry.

“Digitized construction technologies and processes can have a significant impact on a construction company’s productivity, but many small firms lack the resources to invest and maximize potential of these technologies.  Similarly, regulatory and administrative burdens have restricted implementation across federal, state, and local agencies,” said Ranking Member Pete Stauber (R-MN).  “We have the opportunity to empower small businesses to lead the charge on modern construction technologies. A charge that will lower costs, increase sustainability, increase productivity, and, being more efficient, allow more projects to be built and maintained with less money.”

Improved Technology and Software Increases Efficiency and Communication

“The facts are simple. The barrier to entry for the construction industry is low, but the risk is high. Even in a ‘white hot’ market, profit margins are under constant pressure as emerging, small construction firms compete for the same projects. Without access to and adoption of tools and solutions to improve fundamental workflows, the small firms will continue to find the deck stacked against them from startup and the chances of survival, let alone continued growth, next to impossible,” said Mr. Phillip Ogilby, CEO and Co-founder, STACK Construction Technologies, in Cincinnati, OH.

“All phases of construction are poised to change and evolve in the coming years, incorporating traditional tools of the trade and new technologies that could transform the way projects are completed. The industry has much to gain with these new and innovative technologies so that we can build better, more cost effective buildings, infrastructure, and communities,” said Mr. Lennart Anderssen, RA; Director of Virtual Design, Construction & Operations, LiRo Group; Professor, Pratt Institute, in New York, NY.  Mr. Anderssen testified on behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Construction Institute, LiRo Group, and Pratt Institute.  “Virtual design and construction not only helps to create 3D and 4D models of a project, but as a part of the construction process, it helps to create budgets and schedules as projects go through funding approval and access a single repository for all project scope and design documentation.”

“I remember when we were getting into it, my father was questioning the expense of investing in the technology.  He said, ‘Well that stuff doesn’t move dirt or put pavement on the ground.’  Well, no it doesn’t, but it helps you do it a lot faster, a lot more accurately… and efficiently,” said Mr. Ryan Forrestel, President, Cold Springs Construction, in Akron, NY.  Mr. Forrestel testified on behalf of the GPS Innovation Alliance. 

“The construction industry is ripe for innovation.  With $10 trillion in annual revenues – approximately 6 percent of GDP – construction has historically used scale to do its work: bigger machines, more machines, more cement, more nails, more tools and more people. This approach has left the construction industry with plenty of room to improve.  At least 10 to 15 percent of that $10 trillion is waste,” said Mr. Chris Shephard, Vice President, Trimble, Inc. in Westminster, CO.  “Small business are the life blood of the construction industry, and technology is allowing small businesses to reduce costs and inefficiency so that they can compete against the larger players in the industry.”

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