Study finds undersized IT budgets stifle building industry innovation

James Benham

Ben Bigelow

Undersized technology budgets in the construction industry are responsible for a lack of industry innovation, poor “cloud” security and other problems, according to a new report based on an annual survey of building companies, developed in part by Texas A&M construction science faculty members Ben Bigelow and James Benham.

4th Annual Construction Technology Report Findings of the survey were published Dec. 1, 2015 in “The 4th Annual Construction Technology Report” by JBKnowledge, a Bryan-based firm that develops technology solutions for the construction, risk management and insurance industries.

Builders need to boost their information technology budgets, eradicate the use of spreadsheets and create a culture of technology-based research and development to meet the average size of technology budgets in other industries, said Benham, who is also chief executive officer for JBKnowledge.

The survey, he said, also revealed some positive developments in construction industry technology.

“Some progressive companies are looking into drones, virtual reality, 3-D scanning, and more,” said Benham. “A minority of companies are actually investing in R&D departments and have turned their technology departments into revenue generators.

More than 2,000 construction professionals who manage projects, risk and building information modeling for companies of all sizes, participated in the survey.

The survey findings, said Bigelow, provide an invaluable tool in the Department of Construction Science’s mission of preparing students to assume roles of industry leadership and responsibility.

“As the industry adopts new technology and learns the advantages it can provide, students increasingly need to have an understanding of and exposure to these tools to be prepared to contribute when they go to work,” he said.  “Our department’s involvement in the survey helps us know what technology students need to learn.”

posted December 8, 2015