by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SOUTH Africa’s construction firms are leveraging technology to boost competitiveness in a sector enjoying vast opportunities with the government’s increasing investment in the supply and rejuvenation of basic infrastructure.
Some of the commitment by governments include the signing of 27 renewable energy projects, which are expected to create more than 61 000 construction jobs and the provision of 623 635 households in informal settlements by 2019/2020.
There are also plans to rebuild more than 500 mud schools.
There is also an allocation of R35 billion (US$2,8 billion) to infrastructure spending for the current financial year, with a major focus on road and air transport infrastructure.
In the wake of the positive developments, a technology sales executive, said local construction firms were innovative when using technology to present projects to clients and when executing on those projects.
“They’re increasingly using tools like virtual and augmented reality to give clients an idea of the finished product before they even lay the foundations,” said Mario Engelbrecht, head of pre-sales at Parity Software.
Parity Software is a modern business management solutions provider.
Engelbrecht however said in terms of construction companies’ internal technology and business processes, there’s a lot more that these firms could do to boost their productivity and efficiency.
Integrated, cloud-based technology solutions can help construction organisations reduce costs and more accurately manage budgets.
This is anticipated to make their operations more efficient and improve their chances of outbidding the competition at tender stage.
Engelbrecht said some companies still utilised site clerks manually capturing data, who compile information to be shipped off to head office for recapture in legacy, disparate systems.
It wastes time and disempowers site managers who are forced to base decisions on outdated data.
“By that time, the opportunity to cut costs or improve efficiency has been missed,” Engelbrecht said.
Globally, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and machine learning are moving the construction industry into an entirely new space.
“While South Africa is still focused on improving its basic infrastructure, my vision for the future of the local industry is to get to the point where we will also embrace the latest technology to rejuvenate communities and to create inspiring spaces through innovative, construction projects,” Engelbrecht concluded.