The future of construction was the focus of a breakfast briefing hosted recently by Initiafy, an international company based in Ireland that specializes in online contractor management platforms for enterprises.
The discussion, held at the Canoe restaurant in downtown Toronto, centred around challenges in the construction industry such as procurement, increasing productivity, health and safety and drawing young people into the industry. Initiafy has offices in Dublin, London, New York and Toronto.
The goal of the event was to educate attendees on construction industry trends, innovations and opportunities, with an emphasis on technology.
“Using technology to make the industry more productive, that ties into what Initiafy does with online contractor management which gets away from the paper process that was used until now pretty much, making it more productive more efficient,” explained Conor Gilbride, regional sales manager at Initiafy in New York,
The construction industry has been much slower to adopt technology, added Sean Fennell, CEO of Initiafy.
“One of the takeaway points was the recognition…that the adoption of new technology in the construction sector has been much slower than other areas,” said Fennell. “There are opportunities now to utilize new technology to vastly improve productivity and safety standards.”
The morning briefing also included a presentation by Clive Thurston, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association. He focused on the relationship between owners and contractors and tips for optimizing the relationship to create a profitable business.
He discussed the challenges for the future of the construction industry including health and safety, future workers, technology, image, procurement, environment and whether or not the industry is heading towards mega-companies.
The briefing included an interview conducted by Kevin Mathiasz, global business development manager at Initiafy, with Aaron Olsen, environment, health and safety manager at Industrial Scaffold Services.
They talked about the challenges the company faced introducing new technology and the importance of getting buy-in from stakeholders when implementing a new system.
The event also served as a networking opportunity for various stakeholders.
“We want to be seen as thought leaders in the hard hat industries,” stated Ashima Bhutani, digital marketing manager for Initiafy, in an email to the Daily Commercial News.
“Initiafy has worked with many large construction firms to help make them more efficient and productive through contractor management so we feel like we know a lot of the challenges construction companies and other hard hat industries are facing. We want to bring out these challenges and help the hard hat industries in filling the gap by giving them result oriented solutions.”
Gilbride agreed the company operates in a niche market and wants to share its expertise with others in the sector.
“We live in the world of contractor onboarding and contractor orientations. Because that’s really all we do as a business we very quickly become experts in what’s happening in that world,” said Gilbride. “We impart that knowledge and we try to share as much as we can about what’s happening with our customers and we help our customers talk to each other. It’s a really useful environment to create so that people can share ideas and learn what is going on in that space.”