Category: Construction Technology Inititiative

Resource Highlight: 2021 MCAA 3D Scanning Technology Research Report

Each week, MCAA will highlight one or more of the educational resources that are free to MCAA members as a benefit of membership. This week, we focus on MCAA’s 2021 3D Scanning Technology Research Report. The report assesses various laser, non-laser scanning and photogrammetric hardware and software tools used by mechanical contractors. MCAA members stand to benefit from these and other rapidly evolving technologies that can expedite work, increase precision and prevent mistakes.

In addition to scanning, the MCAA’s Construction Technology Research Series explores tracking, layout, design and fabrication technologies using BIM and other tools.


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MCAA’s Innovative Technologies Initiative offers a wealth of resources and information for those interested in exploring new technologies. Visit the initiative’s web page to explore them all.

Have Questions or Need Personal Assistance?

Contact MCAA’s Sean McGuire.

Resource Highlight: MCAA’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Overview

Each week, MCAA will highlight one or more of the educational resources that are free to MCAA members as a benefit of membership. This week, we focus on MCAA’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) Overview. The United States Department of Defense has created the new CMMC standard that will soon be required for corporations and entities that want to bid as a contractor, or act as a subcontractor, for DoD projects. This whitepaper is designed to give electrical and mechanical contractor corporate leadership and their IT Directors an overview of the CMMC standard.

Resource Highlight: MCAA’s Revised Management Methods Bulletin on The Next Generation of Data Security

Each week, MCAA will highlight one or more of the educational resources that are free to MCAA members as a benefit of membership. This week, we focus on MCAA’s revised Management Methods Bulletin on The Next Generation of Data Security. This bulletin is intended to provide guidance and insight of current tools and techniques to protect your data and operations.

The revised bulletin includes:

  • Updates to reflect more modern terms or solutions (for example, “Antivirus” is now “Endpoint Detection Response”)
  • Updates recommendations on products as new players have started outclassing a few of the old ones
  • Adds five new sections on the areas of “Digital Rights Management,” “Identity Management,” “Dark Web Monitoring,” “Password Management,” and “Penetration Testing.” All of these are now critical to defense.


For a full list of available Management Methods Bulletins, visit the Management Methods Bulletins page.

Have Questions or Need Personal Assistance?

Contact MCAA’s Frank Wall.

New Report Shows MCAA Members Lead in Technology Innovation, Lag in IT Budgeting

A new report provides MCAA members with a mechanical industry specific look at how MCAA members are using construction technology. The report, developed by JBKnowledge, is based on the 2020 Construction Technology Report released in March.

The 2020 Construction Technology Report provides an in-depth analysis of how the industry approaches technology based on thousands of responses from those in all areas of the construction industry, including MCAA members.

The new 2020 Supplementary Report for MCAA Members narrows the focus to MCAA members, comparing MCAA member responses with the rest of the construction industry.

In many ways, MCAA members are leading the rest of the industry in technology innovations. This can be seen in the use of fabrication and mobile devices, and the integration of construction apps and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). Technology implementation and coordination have given many MCAA members a chance to take a leading role in the coordination and design of projects.

One area of that mechanical and plumbing contractors could use more help on is information technology (IT) budgeting. Compared to the rest of the industry, MCAA members tend to bill IT expenditures directly to jobs less often. They also require a greater budgetary commitment for their crucial IT workflows to positively impact productivity.

Both reports can be downloaded by MCAA members for free:

MCAA Supplementary Report

2020 JBKnowledge Construction Technology Report

Questions about either report, or anything else related to the Construction Technology Initiative, can be directed to Sean McGuire.

Helm Group, Inc. Streamlines Work, Wins Jobs with Autodesk’s BIM 360

Helm Group, Inc. (formerly Mechanical, Inc.) combines leading technology like BIM 360 within Autodesk Construction CloudTM with Lean construction principles to implement new design, engineering, and construction methods. For example, by fabricating multitrade skids in an offsite fabrication shop, Helm Group increases collaboration and drives efficiencies to deliver highly complex projects while achieving certainty in cost, schedule, and quality. BIM 360 enables the coordination and data sharing that allows the fabrication to be so accurate that, once it arrives onsite, all that is necessary is to lift it into place and install it.


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.


MCAA’s MEP Innovation Conference Successfully Delivers the Content Members Need to Compete in a Digital Age

It takes a lot to compete in an industry that is constantly changing. Digital tools have integrated with the entire construction process. The contractors that are integrating more of their processes with these solutions are becoming the ones best positioned to compete going forward. 

MCAA’s MEP Innovation Conference delivered contractor-based case studies to over 1,300 attendees and demonstrated how members are using these tools to thrive in today’s industry. Over three days, 32 breakout sessions, 30 roundtables and more than 100 exhibitor demonstrations, contractors learned about the arsenal of new tools designed for a digital age. Sessions focused on real-world practical applications in use by contractors. 

This year, the conference was virtual. As Jeff Miller, Director of Virtual Construction at HFI put it, “I went into the roundtable sessions thinking that it was going to be another Zoom call that I had on in the background while I worked, but when we moved to smaller breakout rooms, and all of us were asked to turn on our cameras and have a face-to-face virtual conversation, it actually felt refreshing to talk and connect with some of the same people I would have been seeing in a live conference.”

Plans are already underway on the next MEP Innovation Conference, to be held in person next January in collaboration with NECA and SMACNA. Stay tuned for additional virtual mini sessions to keep you up to speed on more innovations the rest of the year. 

Over 900 Attendees for MEP Innovation Conference Already Registered. Register Today & Join Them!

With more than double the number of attendees from the 2020 Tech Conference, the MEP Innovation Conference is providing more educational content over a wider spectrum of roles for contractors.

Event Dates: April 26 – 28, 2021

MCAA’s 2021 MEP Innovation Conference is proving to be a popular platform for contractors to learn about how new tools, processes, technology and equipment are impacting our operations. Participation is at an all-time high this year for many reasons. The virtual platform allows for more sessions to be held, all of the sessions address real-world issues because they are contractor-led, and corporate registration allows for up to 10 people from the same company to attend for $400.

Moving the conference to a virtual platform has provided some anxiety for attendees and organizers alike, but the benefits of providing an accessible conference in terms of affordability and availability are hard to disagree with. Contractors from all over the country can attend without worrying about costs and time associated with travel and how much they are being pulled away from project obligations or personal commitments.

The content has also expanded into more areas of a contractor’s operations. Technology has impacted estimating, project management, fabrication, service and safety. The MEP Innovation Conference has 32 breakout sessions and 30 roundtable discussions that allow the conversations to target specific areas of your business. Even more importantly, sessions are all being led by contractors. In order to provide real life solutions, not unrealistic projects in development, contractors that perform very similar roles are leading the discussions and sharing their processes.

Registration for the conference will be available through meeting dates, April 26 – 28. To learn more and register, visit the MCAA 2021 MEP Innovation Conference website.


MEP Innovations Conference Goes Beyond BIM – Sessions Geared Towards Fabrication, Project Management and Process

Event Dates: April 26 – 28, 2021

MCAA’s 2021 MEP Innovations Conference provides more than just education towards BIM and VDC, it approaches every aspect of your operations that interacts with digital information. With the construction process adopting digital workflows, it is important to understand the impact on your business, including productivity gains and time saved due to new tools.

“There has been a fundamental shift in how construction works today in the movement from paper to data,” Bob Snyder, CEO of Binsky & Snyder says. “You might be able to compete with lower margins and higher risk today by sticking with paper-based processes, but when our company leaned into it and embraced a digital transformation, we started finding that we could do more, communicate better, be safer and work on a wider variety of projects.”

To address this change, the MEP Innovations Conference has sessions on processes beyond BIM and VDC. Breakouts have been developed on topics including fabrication, estimating, project management, safety, operations and service. These sessions focus on solutions for those just getting started, as well as those at the cutting edge.

For example, education geared towards project managers ranges from beginner sessions like Model Viewing 101 for PMs and VDC 101 for PMs, to more advanced topics like Aligning VDC Team with Project Schedules, an Inside Look at a Contractors’ Tech Stack and Managing Change Orders. For people with fabrication focused interests, there are beginner sessions like Fabrication 101 and much more advanced sessions like Increasing Your Spooling Productivity 5x and Going Beyond Paperless which will showcase a contractors’ digital implementation in their fabrication facilities.

All of these new tools and strategies are built on processes. In one of the most important sessions of the conference, North Mechanical’s Rod Foley and MEP Innovation Lab’s Jonathan Marsh talk about how to document processes. Tuesday’s opening general session called Understanding the Process Before Buying the Solution talks about not only the importance of establishing and documenting your process, but how it is important to keep it flexible as new tools are brought in. 

These highlights are just a few of the 100+ sessions at the MEP Innovation Conference. Visit the MEP Innovations Conference website if you would like to learn more and see how many of them can be of value to you and your team. While individual registrations are available for $200, corporate registrations for $400 allow you to register up to 10 people from your company.


MCAA 2021 MEP Innovations Conference – A Virtual Conference You Won’t Want to Miss!

Event Dates: April 26 – 28, 2021

You spoke, we listened. You said that you were tired of doing more virtual education. We heard you, but what you really meant is that you wanted it done better!

We have built the MCAA MEP Innovations Conference, April 26-28, to be different. We learned what works and what works better. Rather than trying to make it as much like an in-person event, we’ve maximized the advantages of going virtual – affordable, accessible and the ability to showcase more (and we mean a lot more) content.

Check out these five reasons why you should register and attend the MCAA MEP Innovations Conference:

  1. Every session is contractor led. We rounded up the best innovators in our industry and asked them to share their case studies. If you want to learn how your peers are getting ahead, this is the easiest way.
  2. We built the best team. This year, we partnered with NECA and SMACNA to build this conference. We know that there is a lot to learn from other subcontractors and many of us are already performing the work, so let’s get the best education in one place.
  3. For $400 you can bring 10 people from your team with one corporate registration. You will be hard pressed to find education this good for $40/person.  
  4. We have wider content variety. We have sessions for VDC, fabrication, project management, service, safety in addition to mechanical, plumbing, electrical and sheet metal.
  5. AND more content. Over three days, we will have three general sessions, 32 breakout sessions, 30 roundtables and over 50 product demonstrations.  

If you are interested, visit the conference website for more details on all of the content we are including in this conference. If you have any questions, please contact Sean McGuire.


Has The Construction Industry Officially Passed the Tipping Point with Digital Integration?

For the last 10 years, there has been a steady rise in the digital integration of the industry. What started with 3D models built with AutoCAD and coordinated in NavisWorks has evolved to the point where digital tools are used on every part of the process and data is collected. That is not to say that prints and paper aren’t found on the jobsites anymore, but to get past the point where contractors are surviving and instead competing takes some level of digital tool use these days. MCAA’s 2021 MEP Innovation Conference is addressing all of these challenges with big and small ideas for every contractor.

Take a look at the building process in general. Estimates are put together with takeoff software and estimating software (including the industry’s favorite, Microsoft Excel). Projects are designed and coordinated with BIM software like Revit using models either developed in house or through services like Sysque. They can be spooled and fabricated using software that incorporates computer workstations and manufacturing equipment in the fabrication facilities. Projects are coordinated using BIM to field platforms that connects information from the design in the office to the build team in the field. They use robotic total stations to identify pinpoint accuracy of placement in the field and verify with 3D scanners or even augmented reality based Microsoft HoloLenses.

All that doesn’t take into account servicing and maintaining the buildings afterwards. More service contractors have gone completely paperless than construction contractors. They incorporate tools like dispatch, accounting, location, and time keeping all on single platforms and drive down their billing cycle to make better cash flow. Having customer data on building systems, contract details and billing information is vital for service contractors to perform their work. Digital integration drives their success almost as much as company culture and training. 

The MEP Innovation Conference is showcasing how contractors are transforming their companies by having them demonstrate their processes themselves. Every breakout session at the conference is being led by contractors that are sharing their own case studies and how they are integrating new solutions into their processes.

To learn more, visit the 2021 MEP Innovation Conference website.


Resource Highlight: MCAA BIM & Prefabrication Resources

Each week, MCAA will highlight one or more of the educational resources that are free to MCAA members as a benefit of membership. This week, we focus on two SmartMarket reports developed in partnership Dodge Data & Analytics. The reports on BIM and prefabrication will help contractors understand the benefits, challenges and opportunities presented by these technologies.

In his remarks at MCAA’s Virtual Education Conference, MCAA President Armand Kilijian identified fabrication of duct, pipe, and building systems as one example of a technology that, once implemented in a company’s culture, can reap yearly benefits. These reports provide the legwork needed to get started with or expand use of both BIM and prefabrication.

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If you have questions about MCAA’s Innovative Technologies Initiative, which developed these resources, please contact Sean McGuire.

MEP Innovation Conference Presents Tools to Widen Profit Margin, Lessen Risk

Low margins in the construction business can cause contractors to be one bad job away from going bankrupt. The need for every project to go well can cause many contractors to avoid risk in adopting changes in their process through new software implementations or new tool integrations. It is taking these chances to innovate that are the exact solution to alleviate that risk.

Innovation brings productivity gains that can aggregate. No single solution is going to get you from a 5% to a 15% profit margin, but every innovation adds productivity gain. The more your company leans into innovation and adopts processes or tools that bring higher productivity, the wider that profit margin becomes. The window shifts towards the black. Contractors that stack a set of productivity innovations in their companies are able to move their expected profit margin so that they have less bad jobs, and if when they do go bad, they hurt a lot less. It also means that when jobs go well, they tend to come out better. 

At the MCAA 2021 MEP Innovation Conference, every session is geared towards learning from contractors that are showcasing their productivity solutions. All 30+ breakouts are led by MEP contractors, walking attendees through their processes and sharing their stories of setbacks, successes and overcoming roadblocks. 

A consistent theme throughout will be how small improvements made a difference in productivity or direct profitability. Learn how contractors have used these productivity gains to expand their business, improve customer service, hire better talent and develop their labor. 

The MCAA 2021 MEP Innovation Conference is your opportunity to learn directly from some of the best in the industry, from the comfort of your own office. Take the time to reinvest in yourself and your company. For more information, visit us online at the conference website.


MCAA’s Innovative Technologies Initiative Upgrades the Tech Conference to the 2021 MEP Innovation Conference – Join Us April 26-28!

One of the hardest challenges with technology is looking to improve on something that is already working and effective. Since 2016, MCAA has been producing a successful Technology Conference that focuses on sharing new ideas, processes and solutions with its members. But just because it was the leading technology conference in the industry doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

The MCAA 2021 MEP Innovation Conference looks to build on its previous success by inviting more union affiliated sub-contractors to participate. The conference has been rebuilt to include content for mechanical, plumbing, service, electrical and sheet metal contractors. MCAA has partnered with NECA and SMACNA to provide trade-specific content for electrical and sheet metal trades, as well as extended MCAA member pricing to their membership.

“We perform work for multiple trades like many other MCAA members, so hearing about the latest tools and processes on sheet metal is just as valuable to us as are topics on mechanical.” Stacy Zerr, Director of Pre-Construction at Waldinger noted. “In addition, most of the content in our technology education is going to be directly relevant to any MEP contractor participating.  Having electricians and sheet metal participants in roundtables and breakouts just makes the discussions more valuable because we are getting better perspective and making connections.”

The three-day conference has been moved from its typical January dates to April 26-28 in order to accommodate its transition to virtual. While there are challenges in moving this conference to a virtual structure, the format has some distinct advantages for the Innovation Conference when paired with corporate pricing. Individuals can attend for $200 a person, or up to 10 people from the same company can attend for a $400 corporate registration.  This creates an opportunity for a wider range of attendees based on job type than might normally attend an in-person conference.

“It’s hard to replace an in-person meeting but being able to deliver technology training beyond BIM and VDC allows for us to reach more job types like project managers, estimators and even safety personnel, who might not normally attend this conference,” Sean McGuire, MCAA’s Director of Innovative Technologies noted. “For companies looking to utilize a corporate registration, now you might assign a safety director to a few classes or an estimator and we have the space to provide a breakout session on it.”

This thinking extends to sessions that are specific to sheet metal, electrical, service and plumbing. A wider range of courses are available this year on topics that might be relatively narrow. The common thread to all of these is that every breakout and roundtable is being driven by contractor case studies. This peer-to-peer instruction provides directly relevant experience and guidance in each session. 

To learn more and register, visit the MCAA 2021 MEP Innovation Conference Website. The conference is only open to MCAA, NECA, SMACNA members and their union partners.



For more information or questions, please contact Sean McGuire.

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.


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 We look forward to seeing you in March!


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 We look forward to seeing you in March!

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


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


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:


Or participate in the 2020 ConTech Report 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.