The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) has signalled it is time to address the impacts of new technology more directly by launching a new technology committee.
The committee’s mandate will be to educate and communicate to members the new and emerging technologies in the industry.
Steven Crombie, government and stakeholder relations, OGCA, said the impetus to getting the committee up and running came from the association’s strategic plan set out earlier this year. The committee will include OGCA members and construction specific technology companies and stakeholders.
“There was a priority set on starting a technology committee for our members and to bring industry experts and technology experts into the same room and to see how we can benefit our members with education and communication around new and emerging technologies in the field,” said Crombie.
One of the motivations for the technology committee is the large disparity between members’ willingness to adopt new and emerging technologies, explained Crombie.
“You’ll have some of our members on the cutting edge of what is out there and they’re looking for the next big thing and you’ll have some of our members in a different silo that are a little bit more traditional in how they like to do their business,” said Crombie. “Part of the motivation was to bridge that gap and to have a forum which would communicate to the industry at large what’s out there and not have the information be so fragmented.”
The purpose of the committee is to learn, share ideas and promote technology, Crombie said.
“Technological advancements have always driven construction forward, so we find it somewhat odd that some companies are slow to adopt new technology,” he said.
“Through new tech, we are able to build stronger, taller, more energy-efficient structures and technology has actually made construction sites safer and workers more efficient and increased productivity. To improve collaboration and tackle more complex projects is the main motivation as to why we think it’s important to start this initiative.”
Crombie said the association put an initial call to action out to the industry and the response has been “overwhelmingly positive” with over 20 people volunteering to get involved.
The committee will focus on ways to improve productivity, software, offsite construction, AI, machine learning, safety and training, among other areas of emerging technology.
“As the internet continues to pull more and more information, construction firms will need tools to manage all of this data,” said Crombie.
“Machine learning is going to be something that a lot of our members are going to have to incorporate into how they do business.”
The first meeting of the committee is expected to be held Sept. 24. Canadian Construction Innovations will speak to the committee about the new CONtact Innovator Mentorship program which promotes innovation by connecting innovators with industry members.
“An equal part of what we do is going to be communicating to the broader membership what the committee does,” Crombie noted.
“After each committee there is going to be a report sent to the membership to say, ‘this is what we discussed at the last committee, these are technologies that we are either looking at or have endorsed.’ The communication piece is still being worked on but it’s going to be equally as important to make sure the work that the committee does is communicated to the membership effectively.”
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Follow Angela Gismondi on Twitter at @DCN_Angela.