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Make the Call for More Construction Technology in a Time of Crisis

Original article found here.

Relationships form the backbone of our industry. From general contractors to specialty contractors to owners, it’s the people that make this industry great. As the industry and the world grapples with COVID-19, this has never been more apparent.

We face an unprecedented challenge—but we do not face it alone. I truly believe there is no other industry that can rise to the challenge better than construction. Managing change is ingrained in the work we do every day—schedules change, budgets change, and even weather changes—yet our industry soldiers on, together, determined to build the communities we serve.

In light of COVID-19, change has taken on a new shape for construction businesses—one that involves new risks and requires new ways of adjusting. Every day, businesses are forced to reevaluate how to navigate this complex and rapidly-evolving situation. Some employees are working from their home office (or the kitchen table) while also caring for elderly relatives or young children home from school. Others are continuing to work on site, requiring businesses to implement additional safety measures. Directives are changing by the day—if not by the hour.

It’s in moments like these that we see the true potential construction technology has to keep teams and projects connected and moving forward. The need for tech to uphold our industry has never been greater.

In a relationship-driven industry like construction, the lack of face-to-face communication makes virtual communication essential. That’s exactly what we’re witnessing: teams and businesses coming together online to collaborate and find solutions. They are discovering new ways to manage this change effectively—just as they always have, albeit in a new way.

I’ve seen technology support the industry in numerous ways—efficiency, productivity, safety—but this is something different altogether. Teams and businesses across the globe are coming together to share remote best practices, productivity tips, and ways to keep employees connected. On our Procore Community forum, I saw a great tip about using door stops on the jobsite to prop open doors and reduce touching handles. Even the simplest ideas can have a big impact.

We know your teams are working on the ground day in and day out, meaning they have the best knowledge as to which enhancements will help move them forward in the current climate—and we’re listening. Recently, many of you expressed the need to have a presence on the jobsite while working remotely, as well as a more efficient way to communicate with each other. In response, our development team worked around the clock to build an exciting new integration with Zoom, a leading virtual communications provider. You requested a Jobsite Cleanliness Inspection Template, so we built one. You sent us in-app requests for COVID-19-related features, and we’ve put those in motion. Your suggestions have led to numerous product enhancement ideas currently being assessed by our research and development team. Please help us help you by continuing to tell construction technology providers what you need.

Supporting the industry during times like these goes beyond our products. Team Rubicon, one of Procore.org’s donated nonprofit accounts, is actively responding to COVID-19 and supporting local authorities across the U.S. by assisting food distribution centers, providing transportation logistics for affected individuals, and staffing coronavirus testing facilities. I continue to be blown away by how the industry has come together to support one another.

As we all navigate these challenging times, construction technology providers remain steadfast in bringing people together to facilitate better connectivity, greater transparency, and improved safety. Our mission is to connect everyone in construction on a global platform, and we remain committed to doing exactly that. We continue to serve our industry’s needs as they continue to build our communities: the hospitals we so desperately need, the grocery stores we rely on, and the pharmacies that remain open.

We’re living in a time when change seems to be the new norm, but something that will never change is the resilience of the construction industry and the people that make it all happen every day. Building communities requires a community itself—one that can learn, grow, and connect with one another in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Tooey Courtemanche is the founder, president and CEO of Procore Technologies, Inc., a provider of construction management software.

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