A new email, attachment and document search tool could give contractors a leg up when it comes to avoiding discrimination and other lawsuits, according to Engineering News-Record.
Intraspexion's machine-learning algorithm searches for and flags language that could put companies at legal risk. Contractors, for example, could use a database of settled construction defect cases to warn in-house legal departments about email exchanges or documents related to such claims.
The technology could significantly reduce the number of written exchanges needing legal review.
The construction industry has taken its fair share of criticism for being a late adopter of technology, which has left it far behind in the productivity game when compared to other business sectors. McKinsey research published earlier this year found that if the industry used the new digital tools available to it with more frequency, it could increase productivity by 50% to 60% and produce $1.6 trillion in value.
A number of construction companies, however, have embraced new technology. Some industry onlookers have credited this advancement in large part to the proliferation of smartphones, giving even former technophobes more comfort with the idea of using apps and other digital tools in an industry where the cloud is still fairly novel.
Technology's role in construction is only expected to increase given the current labor shortage with which many companies are struggling. According to an Associated General Contractors of America survey published earlier this year, 70% of contractors are having trouble finding enough qualified, hourly craft workers. In an attempt to make up the production schedule in other ways, the AGC reported that more contractors are using equipment, offsite production and virtual construction tools like BIM.
In addition to helping companies streamline in-house reviews, BIM has helped to give contractors a seat at the design table. Sam Arabia, director of engineering and BIM services at Torcon, a New Jersey–based construction management and general construction company, told Construction Dive earlier this month that tools like BIM have allowed it to collaborate with architects and other designers earlier in the building process and verify constructability so as to avoid expensive fixes later on.