A greater percentage of contractors are adopting advanced technologies compared to 2018, according to the Q4 2019 Commercial Construction Index (CCI) released by USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Technology Use

Technology use is increasing among contractors, with 60% reporting using at least one technology from the CCI’s list of eight, up six percentage points from 2018. Eighty percent expect to use some of the technologies by 2022.

Contractors’ current and expected future use of advanced technologies onsite include:

  • Drones (41% use currently, 45% plan to by 2022);
  • Equipment tagging (20% use currently, 37% plan to by 2022);
  • Augmented and/or virtual reality (13% use currently, 21% plan to by 2022);
  • Reality capture (11% use currently, 20% plan to by 2022);
  • RFID tagging (11% use currently, 24% plan to by 2022);
  • Wearable technology (6% use currently, 33% plan to by 2022); and
  • None (40% use currently, 20% plan to by 2022).

Automated equipment/robotics and 3D printing both see low levels of current use at 5% and 6%, respectively, with no dramatic change expected by 2022.

The CCI report also showed that general contractors (GCs) use advanced technologies more compared to specialty trade contractors. More than 75% of GCs currently use at least one of the technologies included in the survey, with drones, augmented and/or virtual reality and equipment tagging being used most. Contractors with 100 or more employees use these technologies more widely compared to smaller companies. However, wearables see equal use among larger and small companies (fewer than ten employees) and less use among midsize firms.

While only 60% of contractors report using at least one advanced technology, 78% of contractors believe advanced technologies can increase productivity, 75% believe they can improve schedule and 79% believe they can enhance safety.

When it comes to the top technologies for improving job performance, contractors are split on which technologies best can improve productivity, schedule and safety.

Top Technologies for Improving Productivity

  • Equipment tagging (27%);
  • Wearable technology (25%); and
  • RFID tagging (24%).

Top Technologies for Improving Schedule

  • Equipment tagging (30%);
  • RFID tagging (30%); and
  • Reality capture (20%).

Top Technologies for Improving Safety

  • Wearable technology (60%);
  • Automated equipment or robotics (22%); and
  • Drones (18%).

Read part one of the Q4 2019 CCI report here.