As the economic climate continues to darken, contractors are looking for new ways of building and solutions to perennial issues, such as cash flow and worker shortages.
Here are some of the latest offerings from technology-based firms that are aimed at streamlining the way contractors build and operate.
Atlanta-based financial software firm ProNovos has developed a cash forecasting tool tailored to contractors, the company announced earlier this year.
“When we see contractors struggle, it’s typically not because of insufficient profitability or total volume,” said Kevin Bright, ProNovos product manager. “It’s making sure they have enough cash to fund their operations.”
With the tool, office and field personnel can use a dashboard to gauge how the company’s cash balance might change over time. The program can also track payment dates and incoming invoices, and offers the option to push dates out for various reasons, such as missing paperwork.
In addition to the forecasting tool, the company also opened up integrations with QuickBooks Desktop and Vista Construction Accounting Software, the company told Construction Dive.
San Francisco-based construction robotics company Canvas has partnered with drywall manufacturer USG Corp., the company announced May 11.
Canvas’s robot completes the mudding and sanding processes of drywall finishing. Drywall installation overall is a physically demanding task, with the potential for back, arm and shoulder injuries. The robot and others like it fill gaps in labor while cutting down on the frequency that workers are exposed to these types of repetitive hazards.
This is the second recent partnership for Canvas. In March, the company joined with construction equipment manufacturer Hilti to produce Canvas’s robotic machines.
“With Hilti as Canvas’s manufacturing partner and USG teaming with us to further advance materials, Canvas can accelerate the reinvention and evolution of drywall finishing,” said Kevin Albert, Canvas’s CEO, in the release.
Topcon Positioning Systems
Livermore, California-based Topcon has introduced Digital Layout, a building construction software that the firm claims enables more contractors to adopt a digital layout workflow, the company announced last month.
The field software works in combination with a 3D laser or robotic total station to help both first-time and experienced users of digital layout technology, the company claims. Contractors can import layout files from BIM or CAD, draw a layout plan, snap to points on the plan and create PDF reports and summaries of completed work.
The technology is also compatible with the Point Manager plug-in for Autodesk Revit or AutoCAD, according to the release.
London-based construction digital twin company Sensat has developed an integration with Autodesk Construction Cloud, the company recently announced.
The integration enables teams to send files from Autodesk Build and Autodesk Docs into Sensat, so users can visualize key construction documents within the digital twin environment to facilitate more informed decision-making, the firm said.
By aggregating drawings, models and other documents, and translating them into a digestible visual scene, Sensat says the integration helps both technical and non-technical stakeholders better understand data sets in a real-world context to improve project outcomes.
New York-based automated risk analysis company Avvir announced several product enhancements across its suite of offerings, the company said in a press release shared with Construction Dive.
The product enhancements will impact four different areas of the Avvir platform. One of the updates will give Avvir users more control over exported information and bulk export deviations to .BCF format, a type of file for BIM projects, based on parameters like scope and defined deviation tolerance, according to the company.
Additionally, the company has enhanced its keyboard shortcuts, it said, allowing users to spend less time clicking buttons and more time analyzing data.
The company said it’s also working on a feature to help contractors better understand worksites and deviation results through Dynamic Point Cloud Trimming, an aspect the firm said it developed at its annual hackathon. The feature will allow users to multi-select a group of deviations and act on them all at once, Avvir said.
Berkeley, California-based Terabase Energy is launching Terafab, which it claims is the world’s first automated, digital field factory for solar power plant construction, according to a May 11 announcement.
The company released the news in conjunction with the opening of its Terafab manufacturing plant in Woodland, California, which it characterized as a “factory to make factories.” The firm said the site is currently manufacturing the first gigawatt of Terafab assembly lines with a capacity to build more than 10 GW of Terafabs per year.
The news comes as the demand for solar projects grows, such as St. Louis-based McCarthy’s work on the $535 million Double Black Diamond development that will eventually help power Chicago. Additional projects include a manufacturing plant for solar panels in Ohio, which received $600 million in funding, and a $140 million solar project in Fort Bend, Texas, which was completed by Reston, Virginia-based contractor Bechtel.