The Associated General Contractors of America has selected the three finalists for its 2023 Construction Innovation Awards, which recognize forward-thinking and creative ways to address pain points in construction.
The three finalists for this year’s awards are:
- Coastal Construction/Togal: Miami-based Coastal Construction uses Togal.AI to save time during the estimating process, a long, costly part of commercial construction. Togal uses proprietary AI algorithms to automatically and accurately detect, label, and measure project spaces, walls and objects within seconds. Additionally, Togal compares drawing versions and provides an instant quantitative analysis of all changes or modifications, according to the entry. The company claims Coastal estimators are only spending 10% of their time completing quantity survey takeoffs, a direct savings of 10,000 hours of work a year.
- Green Badger: Savannah, Georgia-based Green Badger provides a software-as-a-service platform to automate and easily report LEED compliance and ESG metrics, according to the award entry.
- PCL Construction Services/Job Site Access: Edmonton, Alberta-based PCL is using Job Site Access, a software program developed by the company’s business technology department, to help with security and efficiency on the jobsite. Using the program, managers can monitor physical access to project sites and tailor entry to certain applications and tech usage, such as QR code badges, facial recognition or industrial turnstiles.
The added tech and emphasis on advancement illustrate a reality in the industry that construction has a technology problem — it’s one of the least-digitized industries in the world, according to a McKinsey report.
Another McKinsey report cites construction labor-productivity growth of only 1% per year, compared with growth of 2.8% for the total world economy and 3.6% in the case of manufacturing. It’s a challenge the industry faces that has no easy answer.
The AGC’s Innovation Awards, started in 2018, emphasizes forward-looking solutions to construction’s most pressing problems, including:
- Workforce shortage and lack of diversity.
- Technology advancements.
- Jobsite safety.
- Project complexity.
Ten to 25 competitors apply for the awards each year, said Sarah Gallegos, building division director at AGC and head of the awards program. This year, seven applied.
The Innovation Awards are also the only program in the association’s portfolio with cash prizes — the grand prize winner will take home $7,000, with second and third place garnering $3,500 and $1,500, respectively. Winners will be announced during the opening session of the AGC Annual Convention, slated for March 13-16 in Las Vegas.
Solutions don’t need to have a hard tech focus, Gallegos said. Anything that can help the industry advance is fair game.
“We didn't just want this to be technology based. The idea was ‘forward thinking,’ so anything that you think that your company is doing to provide innovations to the construction industry in some capacity,” Gallegos told Construction Dive.
For example last year’s first place winner, the AGC Washington Education Foundation’s Core Plus program, helps high school students choose construction as a career, but isn’t wholly tech-focused.