What is residential construction technology?
Residential construction technology is software used by home builders, remodelers, and other skilled laborers to assist in their day-to-day work. These technologies live in the cloud, download onto a personal computer, or have mobile apps.
Why is technology important in residential construction?
Residential construction projects of any size require communication, collaboration, and coordination between contractors, clients, and trade partners. These technology solutions solve pain points in all phases of a project. Here are some of the benefits residential construction technology provides:
Those who don’t utilize construction technology may not realize that while their current approach gets the job done, it’s not the best way to do the job. These contractors rely on Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, email, and text messages with their clients and trade partners to keep projects moving and organized. Using these disparate systems hinders contractors from growing their business. The wasted time and energy tracking down information, giving out the latest versions of documents, and handling all internal and external communications all add up to affect the builder’s bottom line.
But by bringing technology into the mix, contractors can centralize their scattered systems to create more efficient, repeatable, and scalable business processes. Such processes typically include automating workflows and creating centralized sources of information, to name a few.
If information is in an email or a text message, it’s hard to disperse it to a wider group. Imagine the following two scenarios. One client is scheming behind another’s back on design decisions and a contractor has to play marriage counselor to bring everyone back together. Or, late client selections force a contractor to remind, nudge, and hold fines over their clients to keep projects moving.
In either of the above scenarios, contractors find themselves in uncomfortable situations. With the right tools, contractors can leverage technology to provide communication transparency to everyone involved in the building process. Centralized communication hubs to follow the latest updates and decisions, automated decision deadline reminders, and custom knowledge portals for clients become just a few of the benefits that construction communication software provides. These allow contractors to clearly present detailed project information in an easily accessible manner to help build client trust and credibility.
What kind of companies is residential construction technology for?
Residential construction technology leads to newfound team coordination, business growth, and process efficiencies for home building and remodeling companies.
These technology solutions are great for organizations...
- With 5-49 employees
- Whose clients want more transparency throughout the building process
- Working a chaotic 60-70 hour week in order to keep projects on schedule
- Looking to increase their volume of projects
- Finishing projects in the red as a result of inaccurate cash flow tracking
- Wanting to track success with metrics and improve profit margins
- Trying to improve teamwork
- Who need an organized system for communicating with clients and trade partners
What are commonly used residential construction technologies?
Point solutions vs integrated software solutions
These technologies are available as either point solutions or integrated software solutions. Point solutions tackle one problem using a specific solution. Integrated solutions are designed to connect disparate processes to create a new streamlined building experience with automated and time-saving systems.
From 2014 to 2019, the total investment in residential construction technology was $25 billion. This new investment comes when innovative homebuilders and remodelers are increasingly dissatisfied with disparate point solutions. McKinsey & Company suggests that this growing dissatisfaction is influencing a shift towards integrated platforms rather than point solutions.
Using QuickBooks for bookkeeping, Dropbox for document storage, and Google Sheets for spreadsheets, are common examples of using point solutions for specific residential construction problems. Using one specific point solution helps solve a particular problem, is easy to implement, and usually is cost-effective for small operations. As teams get larger and problems get more complex, a network of point solutions can start to cause their own problems. In these instances, residential construction technology in the form of integrated software solutions is where builders and remodelers turn next.
Integrated software solutions
Integrated software solutions help builders and remodelers simplify their project management, provide seamless communication between team members and trade partners, and streamline their financials. These technology solutions help keep teams and systems in sync and save time by easily referencing the latest version of files or communications. CoConstruct is one example of an integrated software solution for the residential construction industry.
Learn more about point and integrated software solutions in our construction management software buying guide.
What are the latest residential construction technology trends?
Construction technology has, and will continue to play, a role in establishing and cementing trends in the industry. Some residential construction technology trends have also been heavily influenced by the pandemic while others have been in the works since before it began. Here are a few of the top trends impacting the industry today.
Also known as offsite or prefabricated construction, modular construction involves assembling portions of a construction project away from the project site and then bringing the assembled portion to the job site for installation. Modular construction gives contractors a cost-effective and better quality control option compared to onsite construction. Additionally, modular constructions helps companies handle labor shortages by letting contractors make the most of their time with skilled laborers by stacking similar projects back to back.
Video and virtual meetings are here to stay. While companies still use in-person meetings for certain steps of the construction process, an overwhelming number of home builders and remodelers we’ve talked to say that video meetings are saving their businesses time in the sales process. Especially for initial meetings, where both parties are trying to learn more about each other, video calls allow contractors to be more flexible in their scheduling and efficient in their time management.
According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders, the percentage of home builders with 90% of their projects considered green building projects consistently grew from 2015 through 2019. The biggest reason builders gave for green building was that it was the right thing to do but a quarter of builders also said their reason was due to market demand. As market demand increases, the number of green builders will grow and this trend will have ripple effects, including new regulations or building materials that could influence new construction technology trends down the road.