April 17, 2019
As the construction industry grapples with complex projects and tight timelines, a massive worker shortage and some of the lowest productivity gains over the last few decades, the largely entrenched ways of doing business are undergoing a fundamental shift.
At the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCAC) first-ever Innovation Conference – “The Innovation Mindset: Converting Opportunities into Realities”– speakers shared how contractors can stay ahead of the curve.
Held at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto April 16, 2019, educational sessions covered risk, artificial intelligence, energy efficiency, on-the-job technologies and modular construction, among other topics.
“If the mindset isn’t there, we’re dead on arrival,” said Branden Kotyk, regional manager for British Columbia at Victaulic, during a panel discussion on modular construction and BIM (Building Information Modeling).
He added that, for any of the technologies reshaping the industry, “someone has carved the path before,” making it possible to achieve progress.
Dirk Beveridge, founder of the Unleash WD Innovation Summit, kicked off the conference.
For Beveridge, “innovation is bypassing distribution” – and the average mechanical contractor. He said these changes are not just the regular “ebbs and flows” of business, but a “tectonic” shift that will fundamentally change how businesses operate.
“How we do business is changing more rapidly than any of us understand,” Beveridge added. The key to survive in the ever-changing landscape is to adopt a new mindset, he said, and embrace the unknown.
CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGY EXPLOSION
Presentations from David Bowcott, global director of growth, innovation and insight at Aon Risk Solutions, and Rob McKinney, who works in business development at construction software company Rhumbix, discussed the vast number of construction phase technologies entering the market, promising to digitize in the construction industry.
McKinney said adopting new technology will increase safety, drive productivity, improve moral and boost bottom lines for the industry.
He offered a number of solutions for key construction operations. Among others, he recommended iAuditor for safety, HoloBuilder for photography, Ranken and FieldLens for daily reporting, PlanGrid and AutoDesk for planning and Hilti ON!Track for asset tracking.
BIGGER AND BOLDER
Corey Diamond, executive director of Efficiency Canada, presented the keynote address, titled “A Vision for Energy Efficiency in Canada.”
“The goal of Efficiency Canada is not to do it on our own,” he said, adding that success depends on “bigger, bolder actions” from all sectors.
“[The] sectors have to lead themselves or else it will be pushed upon them,” Diamond added.
Diamond’s vision for the organization – and Canada’s low-carbon economy – included establishing a comprehensive value chain of energy efficiency, unlocking private sector capital and mobilization.
Attendees also heard from Peter Van Beek, a professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Waterloo, about opportunities for the uptake of AI in the construction sector – namely in building management and design.