Three Tips for Staying Ahead in a Booming Construction Market

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By Roy Rasmussen

The construction market is booming in 2018. Construction spending reached a record $1.257 trillion last November, the industry added 30,000 jobs in December, and three-quarters of companies plan to hire more workers this year.

This optimistic outlook is great news for constructional professionals, but it also means construction firms will be facing more competition from rivals who want to capitalize on the current industry boom. Here are three tips to help you stay ahead in today’s competitive construction market.

 

Use Virtual and Augmented Reality to Improve Your Marketing

Better marketing is a key to growing any business, and one of the hottest marketing trends in construction today is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VR allows construction marketers to provide virtual walkthroughs in order to showcase properties and to help clients visualize architectural ideas. AR is also proving useful for promoting collaboration, increasing measurement accuracy and improving safety.

Turner Construction has been a pioneer in VR and AR usage, investing between $75,000 to $100,000 in development between 2010 and 2011 and another $50,000 more recently to build a virtual model of a cancer clinic project. The return on investment for this payout has been 10 to 1. Meanwhile the price of VR and AR headsets has gone down exponentially, making it easier for construction companies to put the technology to use. Today’s best VR headsets cost less than $400 for tethered headsets such as the Oculus Rift and less than $100 for mobile headsets such as Samsung Gear VR.

Use Building Information Modeling to Reduce Rework

Another trending construction tool that complements VR and AR is building information modeling (BIM). BIM allows you to present a realistic preview of projects in the proposal stage or currently under construction by using 3D rendering or animation. This allows your building team and clients to propose changes in the digital design stage rather than requiring physical changes.

In addition to providing some of the same marketing benefits as VR and AR, building information modeling helps you trim project expenses by avoiding unnecessary rework. Four in five building experts see reducing rework as the top benefit of BIM, and architects see BIM as a top productivity booster, says project management professional Juan Rodriguez. Today’s leading building information management software includes AutoCAD, SketchUp and Revit.

Use Construction Project Management to Cut Costs

Building information modeling can also help increase your efficiency by working in conjunction with construction project management (CPM) software to promote integrated project delivery. CPM software provides a collaboration platform for coordinating common project management tasks, including file sharing, scheduling, bookkeeping and billing.

CPM allows your project manager to communicate with team members through a device such as an iPhone 7, making collaboration as easy as texting. It also allows you to use analytics to make more accurate materials, scheduling, and cost estimates, which can significantly trim your expenses. In one case study, a company doing $50 million in construction projects a year saved $215,700 by using CPM software. Today’s leading CPM tools include CoConstruct, Procore, and GenieBelt.

Virtual and augmented reality, building information modeling and construction project management software are three cutting-edge tools that can help you stay competitive. Applying these tools can help you attract more clients, reduce wasted rework, improve your efficiency and boost your profit margin.

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of "Publishing for Publicity," is a freelance writer who helps select clients write quality content to reach business and technology audiences. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies and bestselling authors. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.

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