Increasing project complexity and an ongoing push for safer work sites are driving greater demand for construction management software in Australia, a global industry leader says.
In an interview during a recent trip to visit with customers and employees in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), Procore Chief Executive Officer Tooey Courtemanche told Sourceable that trends leading to greater uptake of construction management software in Australia reflect both global and local developments.
Internationally, Courtemanche said contractors face challenges with project complexity and the fragmented nature of the industry. This can mean many parties working together who may be unfamiliar with each other, voluminous information flows and difficulties in ensuring that all parties are working off the latest documents and drawings.
In Australia and New Zealand, Courtemanche also talks of safety and a continual push to deliver projects without injuries or fatalities.
In Procore’s own case, he says the company takes learnings in this area from ANZ and incorporates these back into products offered internationally.
“Globally, construction is a complicated business,” Courtemanche said.
“You have a lot of people that are working together who have never worked together before. If you think about subbies and contractors coming together for a project, it’s highly complicated and highly fragmented with lots of information flow. The demand is for a single source of truth around what drawings should we be building off and what documents should be looking at.
“Everybody needs to solve those problems because construction is complicated and fragmented. It doesn’t matter if you are in New York City or Melbourne or Tokyo. If you have your subbies working off the wrong set of plans, you are going to be working off the wrong thing. That’s going to cost everybody in the supply chain money.
“But when I look at the Australia and New Zealand market, I think of Australia as leading the world in driving the concept of safety. Safety is one of the most important aspects of any construction project.”
Courtemanche’s comments come as the market for construction management software worldwide is growing.
Broadly speaking, construction management software involves software which enables project managers and construction contractors to manage functions such as project management, quality and safety processes, accounting and financials and field productivity on a singular platform.
Many packages, for example, enable storage of architectural drawings and plans, specifications, timecards, tender requests, quality and safety inspections, contracts, budgets and costs and timesheets in a singular software solution.
Moreover, the software facilitates collaboration by enabling this information to be shared across the project team.
Worldwide, US research firm Pioneer Reports expects that market for construction management software will expand from $US 1.030 billion in 2018 to $US 1.620 billion in 2024.
Expectations of growth have prompted a wave of mergers and acquisitions.
In 2017, for example, Oracle forked out $1.6 billion to purchase local construction management software provider Aconnex.
Last July, Trimble paid $US 1.2 billion to acquire Viewpoint – another player in this area.
In Procore’s own case, the company announced last month that it had more than doubled its customer count in Australia and New Zealand during 2018 and had significantly increased its local headcount during that year.
According to Courtemanche, construction management software offers advantages in five areas.
First, it enables all project team members to work off the latest documents whilst collaborating and providing feedback. This in turn helps to deliver projects in a coordinated fashion with faster delivery times and better contractor margins.
Second, the software enables contractors to better collaborate with project owners in a transparent manner. This helps contractors to develop trust and position themselves as a preferred contractor for future projects.
Likewise, Courtemanche says construction management software can help to promote confidence among subcontractors and material suppliers – many of whom use the software and prefer to work with contractors who provide them with relevant and correct information to perform their role.
Within their own operations, Courtemanche says using a consistent software program throughout their portfolio enables contractors to standardise practices, management and administration across projects.
Finally, construction management software delivers greater visibility for contractors across the portfolio of projects. This can enable them to understand which projects need attention, where risks lie and where attention is needed.
Going forward, Courtemanche says construction management software will evolve in ways which facilitate greater contractor involvement in early-stage design along with easier handover of information to project owners upon completion.
As well, the software will respond to greater take-up of technologies such as BIM and artificial intelligence.
Nevertheless, he says project coordination will remain the core focus.
“We believe in technology and that BIM has a place and artificial intelligence has a place,” Courtemanche says.
“But at the end of the day, contractors are still struggling to find a way to get the right people to the right job at the right day and time with the right material and the right equipment and most importantly, with the right information.
“We always retract and get back into the fundamentals of what we are trying to do. We are still trying to solve the fundamental coordination challenges in construction.
“There is always going to be time for artificial intelligence and machine learning and everything else to come.
“We can’t move into that realm until we just nail the coordination of information and getting people to the right job at the right time with the right stuff.”