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In Conversation with Matt Stevens on the Latest Construction Technologies

With the growing demand and rising challenges, construction professionals are striving hard to meet the unique requirements of their clients. This is why digitalization has become a common trend in the construction industry. Be it AI, Machine Learning, wearable technologies and iOT have become a thing.

To shed some light on the same, we interviewed Matt Stevens, Lecturer in Construction Management at University of Western Sydney. We would like to bring his perspective to you for making better decisions for your construction business.

Q & A with  Matt Stevens

Who Did We Interview?

Matt Stevens is a Lecturer in Construction Management at University of Western Sydney. With 40 years of experience in the construction industry having performed over 1000 seminar days and engaged with over 100 clients in private advising.

Let Us Quickly Get To Our Expert’s Point Of View.

Question 1: In the age of COVID-19, how do you see the construction industry in the year 2022? Do you think this year will be a “digital year” for construction professionals?

Slower in the construction processes - Better at stopping the process of poor work output - Increasingly seeking more fairness with craft labor and their employers (subcontractors) - ridding themselves of poor technology (since they were slowed down and had time to evaluate) - Keeping and utilizing better technology - supply chains appear to be shortening for more auditing and control - less volume is sought and more alignment to a company's craft and management skills and experience.

More companies and their staff are increasingly comfortable and patient with technology while seeing its ultimate value.

Question 2: The construction industry has undergone dynamic changes over the years. What do you consider the biggest challenge for this industry now?

First, finding the "sweet spot" of a company's project types/client type/geographical location optimizes its ROI and lowers its risk profile. Second, finding and keeping truly good-hearted and hard-working employees (training and experience seem secondary).

Question 3: What potential do you see in the latest construction technology trends?

  • BIM
  • - to set out units and their quantities for all tenders, i.e. fewer math errors, transparency and more certainty on variations 

    - facility management since the cost of building operation is more than 10x the cost of construction over its useful life.  

  • Job cost
  • - to predict the final cost of construction

    - to convert into a linear schedule when the project is appropriate.

  • DfMA
  • - Design for Manufacture and Assembly

    - one precursor to greater labor efficiency.

  • Anonymous reporting

- for safety to improve, more reports will result from encrypted anonymous reporting from craftspeople to their employers.

Are they capable of boosting the productivity of construction professionals? - 1) Yes - 70% of lost time is due to material logistics - start there then proceed 2) to crew availability from each subcontractor. 3) Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) 4) Monitoring and measuring on-time (or early) adherence to practice completion.

Question 4: Where do you see the construction industry in the next five years? Please share your valuable insights with our readers.

Getting back to normal, although increasing government regulation - private companies won't have a fluctuating site and office staff - they will commit to a specific size they can manage efficiently, employees have greater familiarity with each other (and a more family business model - not a team). This will engender long-term loyalty since good trained and skilled people are hard(er) to find.

Technology will be more integrated (combining work acquisition - project operations - financial management, and possibly other functions) and come from established companies such as Microsoft due to their familiar interfaces, software and readily programmable language (macros)

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Question 5: In four words or less, what's your prediction about the transforming construction industry?

Globalization - Integration - Sustainable - DfMA

More Details

Matt's role is to engage with the Industry, Community, and Academia for the School of Built Environment at Western Sydney University. He still teaches and researches Construction Management issues. He is a member of the Centre for Smart, Modern Construction (C4SMC).

He is also an author of "Managing a Construction Firm on Just 24 Hours a Day"​ (416 pages) and "The Construction MBA"​ (512 pages). Published by McGraw-Hill, New York.