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What’s trending in new tech, equipment among contractors

By |  July 14, 2020

Logo: Dodge Data & Analytics

As aggregate and construction industry producers and contractors continue to work through the pandemic, the adoption and implementation of new equipment and technologies has assisted their efforts.

According to data from The Civil Quarterly (TCQ), a new publication from Dodge Data & Analytics, the majority of heavy civil contractors are using drones and ruggedized tablets in their operations. The data comes from a TCQ survey of 99 contractors between mid-April and mid-May.

In addition, 42 percent of contractors are operating heavy equipment either remotely or via machine control, and 40 percent are using utility detection systems, with another 23 percent considering utility detection.

Furthermore, nearly one-quarter of survey respondents saic they were considering the adoption of further but less-common technology, such as e-ticketing and mobile mapping systems.

According to TCQ, the benefits of adopting these technologies include increased productivity, the ability to better manage the project budget, and improved safety.

However, the majority of respondents (56 percent) say the cost of new technology is the biggest barrier they face to implementing it on-site.

Other barriers include concerns about workforce adoption of technology (47 percent) and lacking the skilled resources to manage the technology (40 percent).

Emphasis on safety

According to ARTBA, these provisions will increase flexibility in deploying drivers, delivering construction equipment and assisting with other project tasks. Photo: P&Q Staff

The majority of contractors (56 percent) say the cost of new technology is the biggest barrier they face to implementing it on a site. Photo: P&Q Staff

About two-thirds of respondents said safety investments have become more important over the last two years, according to TCQ, and will continue to be more important over the next two years.

When it comes to keeping workers safe, an overwhelming majority of respondents said regular communication about safety (89 percent), an emphasis on safety culture (77 percent) and crafting safety policies based on industry best practices (77 percent) were the most common means to implementing workplace safety.

On the flip side, only 47 percent of respondents are actually tracking safety data across projects to determine best practices. A minority of contractors are using technologies like wearables (14 percent) or video tracking with analysis of worker behaviors (4 percent).

Communication to the surrounding community about major project activity is employed by 62 percent of contractors, compared with just 19 percent who employ automated equipment for the same purpose.

Zach Mentz

About the Author:

Zach Mentz is editor in chief of Portable Plants magazine and managing editor for Pit & Quarry magazine. Zach is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communications at John Carroll University. His previous experience also includes time spent in the Cleveland Indians communications department.

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