Season 11 of The Propcast is wrapped up, and it was a huge success! This season, Louisa was joined by some of the leading players in the construction technology industry where they explored the latest trends and challenges in the space and shared their predictions for the future of the industry.
Season 11 featured:
- Ibrahim Imam & Sander Van de Rijdt, joint Co-Founders and Group CEOs of PlanRadar | 60-70% of Construction Sites Are Still Using Pen & Paper, What Else Needs to be Done?
- René Morkos, Founder and CEO of ALICE Technologies, and Shane Richardson, President of Lagrange | How to Reduce Risk and Plan, Bid, and Build More Efficiently Through the Use of Technology?
- Gregg Wallace, Partner at Building Ventures, and Matt Wegworth, Vice President of Dawson Ventures at McKinstry | How is the Landscape of ConTech Investment Changing?
- Antonia Soler, Director of Hilti Technology Office at Hilti, and Vivin Hedge, GB and Founding Partner at Zacua Ventures | The Evolution of Global Construction Technologies
- Jeevan Kalanithi, CEO at OpenSpace and, Parker Mundt, Vice President of Platform at Suffolk Technologies | Reality Capture, AI & Analytics in Construction Technology
- Geoffrey Lewis, VP Product Management, and Tiffany LaBruno, Product Director who both work at Procore Technologies | How can we Improve Project Efficiency and Accountability within Construction?
- Chris Oldham, Senior Policy and Programme Manager at City of London Corporation, and Hannah Vickers, Chief of Staff at Mace | The Skills Gap. The Urgent Global Need for a Larger Skilled Workforce to Decarbonise its Commercial Buildings
- Maria Davidson, CEO & Founder of Kojo, and Dan Babcock, President at James Babcock Inc | Can New Technology Help the Construction Industry Stay Profitable?
- Mateo Zimmermann, Investment Manager at CEMEX Ventures, Chris Bone, Co-Founder & CEO at Modulous and Tim Davies, CEO at HiiROC Ltd | The New Technologies Working to Address Key Climate and Housing Challenges
- Meirav Oren, CEO and Co-Founder of Versatile, and James Barrett, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Turner Construction | The Construction Industry is Ready. Are you?
Listen to previous seasons here: The Propcast
It is no secret that the construction industry is lagging in its digitalisation and adoption of technology compared to other industries. As one of the largest industries in the world, generating 13% of the world’s GDP and with a predicted global growth of 35% in the next 10 years, the adoption of technology and data tools in the space will make the market ripe for investment, as they provide solutions to some of the greatest challenges the industry faces.
Below are some of the takeaways from the 11th season of The Propcast that provide some insight into the challenges that the construction industry faces, how its implementation of technology will provide solutions for these challenges, and what the future of construction technology looks like.
Takeaway #1: Digitalisation
$1.63 trillion could be saved annually from infrastructure productivity changes within the construction industry.
- PlanRadar’s award-winning digital SaaS platform digitises all daily processes and communication, enabling time savings, cost savings and allowing projects to be completed to a higher quality. Ibrahim and Sander discuss the challenges associated with using traditional pen and paper methods in construction, and how PlanRadar is striving to address the industry’s lack of digitalisation.
- OpenSpace is the global leader of reality capture and AI-powered analytics for the construction and real estate industries, simplifying construction’s most powerful technology. Jeevan discusses their two products; OpenSpace Capture, that maps images to your plans automatically, and OpenSpace Track, that uses computer vision and machine learning to recognise, track, and quantify work-in-place.
- Kojo is the leading materials procurement platform for trade and self-perform general contractors. With material construction prices up by 30% in February 2020, Maria shares how Kojo offers one all-inclusive procurement platform to manage both volatile supply chains and material prices.
- James Babcock Inc. Electrical Contractors (JBI) has been providing quality commercial electrical services to organizations throughout the state of Indiana for more than sixty years. Dan explains the journey to digitalisation and how using Kojo’s platform has helped increase cost savings and improve efficiency through providing clear and accurate data that is accessible and managed all in one place.
Takeaway #2: Tackling the Climate Crisis
The construction industry is a massive consumer of raw materials and natural resources, generating an estimated 39% of the world’s carbon emissions and 138 million tonnes of waste per year.
- CEMEX Ventures is the corporate venture capital and open innovation unit of CEMEX. Matteo explains CEMEX Venture’s ‘Leaplab’ program, a platform that provides strategic services and enables key resources to catalyze learning, boost growth, and find synergies between early-stage ConTech startups and CEMEX to foster the construction industry revolution.
- Modulous is the first globally scalable technology solution to address both the worldwide housing crisis and escalating climate emergency. Chris discusses how Modulous addresses the issue of waste whilst also making construction far more affordable.
- HiiROC’s Thermal Plasma Electrolysis (TPE) uses renewable (or grid) electricity to split hydrocarbons into zero-emission Hydrogen and inert solid Carbon Black (i.e. without producing CO2). Tim explains how HiiROC makes hydrogen more affordable, whilst at the same time reducing its carbon footprint and emissions.
Takeaway #3: Optimising Efficiency and Reducing Risk
A McKinsey report cited that the industry’s productivity has trailed that of other sectors for decades, and there is a $1.6 trillion opportunity to close the gap.
- Procore Technologies is the leading global provider of construction management software, helping firms drastically increase project efficiency and accountability by streamlining and mobilizing project communications and documentation. Geoff and Tiffany delve into how the construction industry is beginning to recognize the significance of data in generating valuable insights for capital planning in both ongoing and future construction projects.
- ALICE Technologies is the creator of the world’s first construction optioneering platform that helps GCs to easily create, explore, and update construction schedules that reduce risk while cutting construction costs and build time. René discusses how they help businesses avoid the common mistake of bringing technology in too late by translating accurate data into its schedule and maintaining it.
- Lagrange provides a full suite of project and construction management services to increase project visibility and proactively manage risks throughout the project lifecycle. Shane mentions how over the last 20 years the construction industry has only increased its productivity by 1%, hence why Lagrange provides solutions to optimise performance through data-driven program management.
Takeaway #4: The Skill Gap
For both the digitalisation and decarbonisation of the industry to take place, there is an urgent need to address the current skill gap by encouraging the existing workforce to upskill, whilst also creating a clearer path into the industry for the future workforce.
- City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London. Chris explains City of London’s ‘Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce’, whose mission is to encourage the existing workforce for the full project lifecycle of sustainable buildings to upskill, to reskill with those green skills, and also to attract a large cohort of diverse new entrants.
- Mace is a global company of experts that provide development, consulting, construction, and operations services for many of the world’s most inspiring building and infrastructure projects and programmes. As Chief of Staff at Mace, Hannah discusses how the construction industry needs to better reflect the community in its representation of women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.
- Turner Construction is an international construction services company and leading builder in diverse and numerous market segments. James explains Turner’s partnership with OMERS Ventures and the launch of the Entrepreneur-In-Residence (EIR) program in 2021 whose mission is to present the landscape of opportunity for potential founders looking to provide solutions to meaningful problems.
Takeaway #5: Current Trends
Louisa explores the current trends that her guests have identified in the industry and how these trends are affecting their organisations.
- Building Ventures is a venture capital firm partnering with Built Environment entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to help reshape the way we design, build, operate and experience our Built Environment. Gregg discusses how they are seeing an unprecedented level of startup activity and predicts that there will be more investment into these early-stage and series a level start-ups this coming year.
- McKinstry is the national leader in designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining high-performing buildings. Matt leads Dawson Ventures, McKinstry’s corporate venture practice, and explains how he has seen a huge focus in their client’s investments around innovative strategies and solutions that drive energy efficiency and sustainability.
Takeaway #6: The future of Construction
Louisa investigates what the future of construction technology looks like by gaining insight into what lies ahead for the industry, and how to grow a business in the space.
- Suffolk Technologies is a leading built environment venture capital firm investing in startups transforming the construction and real estate sectors. Parker explains how the industry is at an ‘innovate-or-die’ point of the life cycle where those who are tech-forward and looking to see how they can do things better, faster, cheaper and safer are the ones who will emerge as industry leaders.
- Zacua Ventures is an early-stage global venture capital firm focused on improving productivity and sustainability in the Built Environment. Vivin talks through the evolution of founding a tech business through to an exit, highlighting how whilst founders should be mindful of the exit options they have, they should be focusing primarily on building a good company from the outset with a passion for their product.
- Hilti is a global leader in providing technology to make construction faster, safer, and more sustainable with products, systems and services that offer construction professional innovative solutions with outstanding added value. Antonia shares three key questions to consider before going to the market; what the workflow is you are trying to address, who will be the main user of the product, and how many companies do you need to bring on board to implement the solution in a project.
- Versatile created technology that gives builders unmatched visibility into their production rates by delivering the right data to the right people at the right time. Meirav shares valuable insight around the key elements in growing a business, specifically around the importance of understanding the user in order to achieve success with your product.
The eleventh season of The Propcast has provided invaluable insight into the state of the construction industry, shedding light onto the types of technology and data solutions that the leading players in the space are providing to tackle some of its biggest challenges, from under-digitalisation, lack of skilled labour to the ongoing climate crisis. The season has highlighted how the industry is beginning to see the value in technology. With investors targeting innovative strategies and solutions that drive energy efficiency and sustainability, it has become clear that digitalisation and diversification need to be placed at the forefront of the industry in order for it to continue to grow.
Forbes; ‘The Construction Industry Is Getting Greener: Why, How, And What’s Changing?’ (August 25th 2021)
McKinsey; ‘The Next Normal in Construction: How disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem’ (4 June 2020)
Viola; ‘ConTech – Building the Future of the World’s Largest Industry’ (October 20th 2022)
World Economic Forum; ‘Shaping the Future of Construction: A Breakthrough in mindset and Technology’ (May 2016)