The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has many layers to it. The funding will modernize all of America’s infrastructure, while not losing billions of dollars per year in fixing inadequately maintained portions of our roads and bridges. For the past few weeks, we looked at funding under INFRA. This week, let’s take a look into construction management systems and the IIJA.
According to Forbes, Section 5113 of the IIJA calls for the application of advanced digital construction management systems. There will be $100 million allocated to help states adopt those systems “throughout the construction lifecycle,” which includes the design, engineering, construction, and operations phases. This will maximize interoperability, boost productivity, reduce project delays, and cost overruns and enhance safety and quality.
The construction industry is one of the least digitized industries. According to McKinsey Global Institute, road and bridge projects take 20% longer to finish than scheduled, with costs being as much as 80% past their deadline. Many agencies and organizations utilize outdated systems that are difficult to modernize and lack the flexibility to fix the challenges that come with modern transportation infrastructure.
Digital Construction Management Systems
There are a multitude of benefits in the adoption of upgraded management systems. The adoption of these systems can result in a cost reduction of 4% to 6%, with productivity gains of approximately 15% for construction companies, according to Mckinsey. There will be an increase of 50% to 60% in overall productivity when embracing digital investment, new materials, and advanced automation.
Looking at it from a labor perspective, 41% of the construction workforce is expected to retire throughout the next decade. In modernizing the industry, we will start to see younger, tech-savvy people entering the workforce who can rely on this upgraded technology as a resource.
You’ll see cloud-based solutions replace outdated data with information that can be accessed in real time, in turn enabling projects to move faster and more efficiently. This enhanced technology will offer greater security, accountability, and transparency among stakeholders to support current projects, future development, and funding.
Bridging the Gap
Modernizing construction management systems will have profound benefits. Introducing new blood into the trades, having infrastructure built more efficiently, safely, and quickly, and securing funding for projects through the IIJA.
How do we get there? Selecting proven technologies can help workers who hold onto the old ways to integrate to a new and easier updated system. To shift the perception that new technologies aren’t as good as the old systems, Departments of Transportation (DOTs) must educate their workforces on the short-term and long-term benefits of these new systems. They must be shown the technology is proven and offers clear benefits.
Adopting these technologies will help users rethink how work can be done, showing them the benefits of modernization. These technologies can create a network of solutions and can keep evolving to meet the challenges of the future.
Modernizing the workforce along with our infrastructure will only set us up for success moving forward. The infrastructure of tomorrow is only as strong as the tools that helped build it, and with a younger generation gearing up to take the mantle from the retiring workforce, it’s time for an update.
Be sure to check out our ongoing series on the IIJA. We won't have a column for the IIJA next week, but check back the week after when we dive further into the IIJA.
Source: Forbes, McKinsey