During the fifth installation of the Construction Pals podcast, we continued our conversation with Yaser Masoudnia and Mark Mitchell. You can find the first episode of this two-part conversation here. In this episode, we discussed whether or not the construction industry is stuck in a “comfort zone”. To respond to this inquiry, Mitchell brings up his “old white man” analogy to explain the reasons for which he believes the construction industry continues to fall behind.
According to Mitchell, there exist three different types of people within the industry:
- People in Power: Mitchell describes the reluctance to adopt the technology by those who have worked in the industry for years, accustoming themselves to labor that can be done without digital or technological aid. He states that this causes numerous problems within the industry. This is because those who hold more power than incoming laborers can easily dictate how labor is conducted. For example, people in positions that have dominated the field for decades are less likely to voluntarily devote time to adopting technology and overcoming learning curves. These decisions directly affect younger workers in the field: the discouragement of the adoption of new technologies makes businesses fall behind and rather use old, potentially outdated styles of work.
- The Specialists: Mitchell next talks about the individuals who find a certain facet or trade and focus specifically on this aspect of the construction industry. He says that while these people go along and make something out of their business, their intense specialization prevents them from growing as large as possible.
- The Up and Coming: This group entails individuals who are new to the construction industry that seeks out completely new models of labor, rather than adopting practices that may seem old or antique. In comparison to the specialists and people in power, the up and coming are more inclined to incorporate technological advances into their labor.
Why is There a Discrepancy in the Use of Technology?
Mark Mitchell and Yaser Masoudnia go into detail when discussing why the construction industry has been slow to incorporate new technologies. From personal experience, Mitchell has noticed that companies are often bombarded by new technologies on a monthly and even weekly basis. Due to this, it is increasingly difficult for companies to understand which new innovations can truly benefit their company while having a small learning curve and a small adoption curve. Companies must assess the risks involved, ask what the possible benefit may be, and familiarize themselves with the technology completely. Therefore, it is much easier for up-and-coming workers in the construction industry to adopt these new technologies as the learning curve may not affect them as much and due to the fact that their companies do not have long-established policies or practices. But, this can be overcome.
Companies need to start out at the basics: a website. Mitchell stresses the importance of a clean, simple website that guides customers, clients, and visitors and gives them an overview of how the company operates and what service they offer. Even minute changes to companies’ technological aspects can greatly lessen the learning curves presented by new technologies.
To hear more about this story, listen to episode 5 of Construction Pal podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify, or