Category: Construction Technology Inititiative

North Mechanical Demonstrates that When it Comes to Fabrication, Efficiency Matters More than Size

In terms of productivity, the construction industry’s manufacturing has been lagging for years. Fabrication has increased output through robotics, lean principles, digitization and automation.

This has been hard to translate directly to the construction industry because every building, project and system is unique. Although similar techniques are used in every building, no two are the same and applying manufacturing concepts to the process has been a challenge.

In the second session of MCAA’s Fabrication Virtual Mini series, we are focusing on North Mechanical, an Indiana-based contractor that performs plumbing, mechanical and service. They operate a 20,000 square foot fabrication facility that drives tremendous productivity from a moderate space.

During a one-hour online session, North Mechanical will share video from their operations to demonstrate the tools, processes and techniques. Following the video, North’s VDC and Technology Manager, Trent Leinenbach and North’s Fab Shop Foreman, Tole Burnett will be joined by Sean McGuire, MCAA’s Director of Innovative Technologies and Adam Rich from GTP software to discuss and share technical details of the software integration.

The interactive discussion will share manufacturing concepts utilized at North, as well as how they are using new design software to get field drawings fabricated.

When: February 11, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Registration for the Fabrication Virtual Mini II – North Mechanical session is complimentary and limited to MCAA-members only.

SAVE YOUR SEAT

Connectivity on the Jobsite is Absolutely Critical. Register for MCAA’s Virtual Education Conference to Discuss the Various Options with James Benham.

As part of our Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, you will stay connected with James Benham, the CEO of JBKnowledge.

In a hyper-connected world, the ability to get connectivity to the jobsite is absolutely critical. “5G Platforms: Connectivity of the Future” will discuss the different options that contractors have for connectivity. All the best apps in the world won’t help your company if they can’t connect, so register and join the discussion! You will learn the options for jobsite connectivity, including 5G and 4G networks, satellite solutions, traditional wire-line solutions, as well as challenges and solutions for bandwidth between devices inside the site.

James is CEO of JB Knowledge, a premier provider of technology solutions for the construction and insurance industries. The company is a seven-time recipient of the Aggie 100 award, a six-time Newman 10 recipient and was recently named to the LSU One Hundred for the second time.

Register today and join your MCAA friends and colleagues online at MCAA’s first Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, March 22 – 25, 2021.

Registration is available for individuals and for companies (up to 10 registrants per company registration). Questions can be directed to eventregistration@mcaa.org. We look forward to seeing you in March!

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What Does the Construction Landscape Look Like in Five Years? Join MCAA’s Virtual Education Conference to Discover the Innovative Opportunities from Lee Smither.

As part of our Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, you will hear from Lee Smither, a principal for FMI’s consulting practice.

Prefabrication, modularization, robotics, autonomous equipment, 4D and 5D design… innovation is around every corner and technology companies have discovered opportunities within the construction industry. This seminar previews what Construction 2.0 looks like and what it means for you and your company. You will learn what our landscape will look like in five years, what innovations are already being used today and what is yet to come.

As a principal for FMI’s consulting practice, Lee helps engineering and construction companies with strategic planning to improve their corporate performance. He specializes in market strategy and consulting, developing and implementing organization-wide change initiatives and other leadership focused engagements. Additionally, he led FMI’s CEO Forum, which hosted the Top 100 leaders from the industry each year in Washington, D.C.

Register today and join your MCAA friends and colleagues online at MCAA’s first Virtual Education Conference (VEC) Essential Learning for Unconventional Times, March 22 – 25, 2021.

Registration is available for individuals and for companies (up to 10 registrants per company registration). Questions can be directed to eventregistration@mcaa.org. We look forward to seeing you in March!

Thank you Trimble for sponsoring this session and your continued support of MCAA.

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MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program Finishes Week 2

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program has kicked off! Each of the 17 presentations is meant to help students navigate the proposal and bid process for the annual MCAA Student Chapter Competition project.  

Did we mention registration is free and you only have to register once for ALL of the presentations!

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with the MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website login instructions. This website includes:

  • All virtual program details;
  • Presentation descriptions;
  • Speaker overviews; and 
  • A full agenda with links to join the live sessions!

We encourage you to attend as many presentations live to interact with fellow students and engage with the presenters in the presentation Q&A. If you are unable to attend any of the sessions live, don’t you worry, the recorded presentations will be posted on MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program website AFTER the live session.

MCAA is sending a weekly Monday reminder email to registered attendees, highlighting the presentations for that week. Don’t forget to add them to your calendar!

MCAA’s GreatFutures Virtual Fall Program is sponsored by

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2020 Construction Technology Report Challenges Contractors Innovation

In 2020, the construction industry has been forced into dramatic changes in operations and workflow. More people are working remotely and thus, more projects are being handled in a distributed manner. To help MCAA members better understand what processes are gaining wide implementation across the industry and how their companies measure against these benchmarks, MCAA has sponsored the JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report.

The 2019 report, released in December, has an accurate look at where companies began the year. MCAA has worked with JBKnowledge to make sure that the 2020 report will take into account new practices and challenges that contractors face with the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply taking the 2020 survey can force you to ask questions about your own operations and if your company is operating at pace with innovation in the industry.

To learn more, download the 2019 report:

DOWNLOAD REPORT

Or participate in the 2020 ConTech Report Survey:

TAKE THE SURVEY

Webinar #3: Shifting Work from the Jobsite – Jonathan Marsh, James Benham, Sean McGuire and Josh Bone

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing contractors to perform work in challenging new ways. This webinar focuses on two scenarios that will become more likely in the weeks ahead – forced remote work with no job site activity and one in which job sites might be shut down and fabrication facilities remain open. We discuss how to prepare staff to work remotely, what work can be prioritized to be done remotely and how to utilize fabrication space safely to keep projects progressing. This panel includes Jonathan Marsh, MEP Innovation Lab; James Benham, CEO of JBKnowledge; Sean McGuire, MCAA Director of Innovative Technologies; and Josh Bone, Director of Industry Innovation at NECA.

This webinar was recorded Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Letsos Company, CFI Mechanical Swap Uponor PEX for Copper, PVC

Letsos Company and CFI Mechanical, both of Houston, TX, used Uponor PEX for two high school plumbing projects to save money for the school district while also realizing faster installation and cost savings over traditional approaches. CFI Mechanical estimated a 30-percent savings in cost and labor resulting from using smaller PEX piping (1″ and below).

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Looking for More Smart Solutions?

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website! You’ll see how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with productivity-enhancing and cost-saving applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Plus, you’ll find tips and ideas on other ways you and your company can save money and enhance your productivity.

VISIT SMART SOLUTIONS

MCAA Sponsoring Dodge Survey on BIM Usage

MCAA is partnering with Dodge Data & Analytics to study the value of BIM for mechanical construction, HVAC, and plumbing contractors. This is the first of a larger, ongoing series of BIM studies to focus specifically on our industry. It will shed light on the opportunities and challenges of using BIM and VDC for your work. Your participation is vital to the study’s success, even if you have no experience with BIM.

Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights for Dodge Data & Analytics, will present the study findings at the MCAA Technology Conference on January 31. Those who attend will receive a hard copy of the resulting Business Value of BIM for HVAC and Mechanical Construction SmartMarket Report.

All participating companies will receive a copy of the report via email as a thank you for participating in the survey.

The survey takes 10 to 12 minutes to complete, and your answers are strictly confidential. They will not be associated with your name or the name of your company in any way.

Find the Latest from Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® and ManufactOn in MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show

MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show connects our contractor members with the members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Participating companies highlight and link to new products, product lines, services, solutions or web pages of particular interest. Here are just a few of the recent additions:

Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® a Member of Morris Group International - MCAA Virtual Trade Show
Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co.® a Member of Morris Group International

This unitized structure makes installation simpler and faster compared two individual uprights. Adjustment brackets make last minute changes easy. Discover more products that save you time on the job.

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ManufactOn - MCAA Virtual Trade Show
ManufactOn

ManufactOn is a SaaS (mobile/web) platform that helps construction firms plan, track and manage both prefabrication and regular material handling. The ManufactOn platform helps optimize the end-to-end prefabrication process.

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Need Something Else?

Find many more smart solutions in MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show!

Visit the Virtual Trade Show

Speaking of Smart Solutions

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website to learn how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with cost-saving and productivity-enhancing applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

This section of our website also includes tips and ideas to help your company save money and enhance your productivity. Don’t miss it!

VISIT SMART SOLUTIONS

A Technology Conference Like No Other

Are you tired of conferences that end up being a series of advertisements for products, software or services? The MCAA Technology Conference is different. It focuses on sessions that are by contractors, for contractors. It also showcases innovation and shares ideas from industry experts to help you make your company more agile, productive and future-ready. So, join hundreds of contractors in San Diego this January 29-31 for a conference that’s a cut above the rest. Space is running out, so register now!

Get the Tech Training You Need at the MCAA Technology Conference

Whether you need to get started with tech, get better at it, or want a look ahead toward what the future holds, the MCAA Technology Conference has education for you.

For those who are new to technology and want to understand the first steps, Travis Voss from Mechanical, Inc. and Doug Smith from Dynamic Systems Inc. are your guides to Getting Started with Technology in an extended pre-conference session.

Curious about what other mechanical contractors are doing with tech? Want to know their results? Then you won’t want to miss member-led sessions showcasing their productivity improvements. Learn how to better use Revit, share data or build in-house software that helps give your company a competitive edge.

If you want to see where the industry is going in a few years, take part in breakout sessions on machine learning, servicing equipment with Autonomous Building Systems or catch James Benham’s opening session on futuristic innovations.

The conference is filling up, so learn more about what’s planned and register today on the conference website.

Jackson & Blanc Saves Thousands by Deploying Rhumbix Core Digital Solution

California-based Jackson & Blanc digitized its timekeeping process with Rhumbix Core, saving an estimated $52,000 per year in labor costs alone. The company’s commitment to adopting innovative technologies is well-known, but adopting a new technology can sometimes be costly and require overcoming hurdles to implementation and adoption. Jackson & Blanc realized that technological advancements and social changes force companies to evolve—or fall behind.

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Looking for More Smart Solutions?

Visit the Smart Solutions Case Studies area of our website! You’ll see how other mechanical contractors found their win-win with productivity-enhancing and cost-saving applications from members of MCAA’s Manufacturer/Supplier Council.

Plus, you’ll find tips and ideas on other ways you and your company can save money and enhance your productivity.

VISIT SMART SOLUTIONS

Learn How to Use BIM More Effectively at the MCAA Technology Conference

Many contractors use Revit for BIM coordination but few know how to fully amplify its productivity. At this year’s MCAA Technology Conference, two of the industry’s most innovative Revit hackers, Jeff Elwell from E.M Duggan and James Simpson from Art Plumbing, will share how they leverage software solutions and coding to implement shortcuts that create innovative solutions. In addition to drastically increasing productivity, these shortcuts have created a more standardized process for their BIM teams as they approach design. Learn more about their solutions and the many others sessions featuring contractors sharing their real-world technology solutions on the conference website.

Hear from an Inventor and Technology Entrepreneur at MCAA2020

A Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist for more than thirty years, Steve Wozniak helped shape the computer industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products, the Apple I and II. Through the years, Wozniak has been involved in various business and philanthropic ventures, focusing on computers in schools, hands-on learning and encouraging students’ creativity. iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon became a New York Times best-selling autobiography when published in 2006. In recent years, Wozniak co-founded Woz U, a platform for personalized, tech-based career training. Learn more about Wozniak, and what else is planned for MCAA2020, on our convention website.

Tech Conference Offers Innovations and Practical Solutions

The MCAA Technology Conference has always been geared to show you the next generation tools that will be used in the industry, but real-world innovations are the backbone of the conference. This year, the conference has more case studies and instruction led by contractors than ever before. If you want to learn how your peers are actually using new software, tools and processes, you need to attend this event.

Find Innovative Ideas for ALL Members at the MCAA Technology Conference

Whether you’re in construction, plumbing or service, you’ll find innovative ideas to move your company forward at the MCAA Technology Conference. General sessions feature content of interest to all contractors, while breakouts and workshops let you choose the education that suits your interests. Don’t miss out…join this community of innovators!

Report Shows MCAA Members Don’t Invest Enough in Tech Budget and Manpower

In 2018, MCAA sponsored a JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report that surveyed over 2,800 professionals in the construction industry. In the newly released MCAA-Focused Report, the responses given by MCAA members were separated and compared to those of the rest of the construction industry.

While MCAA members are getting heavily involved in VDC and mobile technology, they are behind the rest of the industry when it comes to some aspects of R&D. As the report’s primary researcher, Liz Beechinor from JBKnowledge points out, “Our research is showing that the construction industry as a whole is behind on R&D spending compared to other industries, but when we take a look at MCAA members’ responses and compare that to the construction industry, they are even further behind. Fewer MCAA contractors have dedicated R&D budget and employees dedicated to R&D.”

According to a 2017 McKinsey Report, the construction industry as a whole spends less than 1% of their revenue on R&D. Compared to the auto industry, which spends 3.5%, and the aerospace industry, which spends 4.5%, this can seem relatively underfunded.

What is even more concerning is construction companies’ lack of any R&D budget. The 2018 MCAA-Focused Construction Technology Report showed that 56.8% of those surveyed had no budget for R&D, while 63.5% of MCAA members reported that they didn’t budget for R&D.

The same could be said for having employees dedicated to R&D. In the last few years, we have seen more MCAA and MSCA contractors dedicate manpower to technology research and implementation, but on average, they are still behind the rest of the industry.

Most respondents that identified as MCAA members reported that they had one or two people dedicated to R&D, while 37% do not have employees dedicated to R&D. During a presentation on the topic at MCAA19, MCAA’s Director, Construction Technology Sean McGuire explained, “While we are seeing more members take technology seriously, smaller companies are going to always be more limited on budget and manpower that they can dedicate towards research and implementation. Larger GCs and CMs can absorb these costs a little easier simply as a function of their size.”

Being bigger does not necessarily mean better though.  As Sean notes, “While research and staff budgets can be absorbed by larger companies easier, the bigger you are, the harder implementation becomes. Small companies can adopt changes a lot faster because you can get less people pulling in the same direction faster.  Large companies have to dedicate more resources to implementation and follow up.”

This lines up with another report question that asked what the most limiting factor was for adopting new technology. Not surprisingly, lack of staff and budget received the highest response rates and were concerns for nearly half of the MCAA respondents. The report provides further insight into these questions as well as BIM productivity and estimation and mobile device and hardware use.

How Are Field Leaders Reacting to Technology?

Whenever a new process, tool or technology is introduced to a company, there is always concern about how it will be used by the people in the field every day. At the Indianapolis Field Leaders Conference, UA Director of Training Chris Haslinger made a presentation about construction technology. His presentation included a survey which yielded some very interesting results from 175 end users.

A balance must always be made in technology training. You don’t want to spend so much time on the training process that it keeps people from doing their jobs. You also want to make sure that people understand how to use it and follow up with added training if required. The good news from these results is that it seems like most field users are getting the right amount of time, regardless of the duration, and very few respondents appear to be getting new technology handed to them with little time to practice with it.

The next question focused more on the tools needed to use new technology on the job site. As mobile devices are frequently seen as required tools by foreman and field supervisors, the need for internet connectivity has risen significantly.

Two thirds of field leaders answered that it is not only very important, but almost all of the time. This speaks to how essential communication and data flow is becoming between the field and the office. Today, field employees are using their mobile devices for more processes and a good internet connection is becoming a necessity. A poor internet connection slows down the processes and can waste field time. This makes usage of mobile devices counter-productive when the time it takes for files to load or transfer make it slower than other methods.

The usage of mobile devices is increasing. Much of this has to do with better software applications on the market and more companies making it part of the process. When asked which software applications they used most frequently, they responded:

  • 85% – Jobsite Documentation
  • 75% – Blueprint Rendering
  • 67% – Time Cards
  • 19% – Tool Management
  • 46% – Safety Related Purposes

This demonstrates heavy usage of applications across a diverse set of processes. With a higher rate of application usage, the industry is likely to modify its processes to compensate. The last survey focused on this issue.

The top two responses both involved improved communication. Coordination with other trades is a process that has a high need for improvement, but involves a process improvement for communication. The same could be said of delivery of blueprints, change orders and design documents – a process that can grind a project to a halt and add significant cost if not organized correctly.

Mobile devices and job site software have become normal for modern contractors. To keep up on technology impacting MCAA members, MCAA’s Technology Initiative will continue to provide research, articles and guidance.

New Report Looks at How MCAA Members Use Technology

The MCAA-sponsored 2017 Construction Technology Report by JBKnowledge took an in-depth look at how the construction industry utilizes technology, software and IT. This week, MCAA released an “MCAA Focused” Report that analyzed the responses of MCAA and MSCA members. It looked at how MCAA members use and estimate BIM costs, track productivity, and emerging tech tools.

Part of the report focused on how MCAA members compare to the rest of the construction industry.  It showed that MCAA members have a greater adoption of BIM and have higher use rates for BIM with especially with coordination and fabrication.

The MCAA focused report also explored how MCAA members are tracking BIM hours and estimating their costs.  It found that far too many contractors do not track their BIM hours per project and as a result cannot use those hours to estimate the amount of time needed to perform BIM on a project.

The report also looked at emerging trends that contractors are currently testing. While the industry at large favors drones by a wide margin, MCAA members are far ahead of the industry on fabrication and modularization.