Technological trends in american construction: Major investment works in California

LA, March 15, 2022.- American construction companies are suffering not only from raw materials shortages but also from a severe lack of skilled workers.  The effects of the global Pandemic, already on their third year, and the instability of international trade are hindering the evolution of this sector. However, investments in technology and public investments in large infrastructure projects have accelerated in the last 12 months and are expected to bias the negatives effects of the crisis.

Following I shall try to summarize the latest downwind reports in the American construction market including one that hits bullseye by mentioning the lack of appropriate marketing in the sector. At the end I will be highlighting a selection of great infrastructure works in California.

Technologies are being implemented today that make the architecture, engineering and construction industry more interesting than it has been over the past five decades. Some of the trends are:

  • More software-as-a-service (SAAS) applications, which are relatively easy to roll out in a company.
  • Artificial intelligence implemented more often into design and project workflows to optimize these processes.
  • The marriage of construction with technologies that have been produced for other industries. They will enable laborers to be more productive, minimizing the skilled labor gap.
  • Robotics will optimize mundane, repetitive tasks and create an extended labor force to completely automate some tasks. Robotic machines free up humans to work in an innovative capacity where they can do their best work.

Fortunately, the construction industry is benefitting from a new trend in education. Rather than looking to earn long-term college degrees, the focus for people entering the job market is shifting toward specializing in a certain skill – achieving a micro-degree or micro-credential.

Competency-based professional learning results in digital certifications of a person’s specific skills. The concept originated with computer programming and networking in the mid-1980s. Digital Promise cooperates with 35 organizations that offer micro-credentials, with the names of Dell, Gates and Zuckerberg showing up in the list of funders.  

When people have expertise on a particular skill, they can be integrated into a company and perform right away without a complicated onboarding process. They become the company’s specialist for their specific skill(s).

This can be attractive to today’s tech-savvy job seekers. People with a micro-credential can work in a chosen field, and if they discover they have a career interest in something else, they can get another credential in another specialty. A career path of this type is suited to people who want to continue to learn new technologies. An employee with that drive can be retained by the employer, while being able to branch out to other technologies they are passionate about. Embracing micro-credentials can result in a wave of people that affect the growth of tech in the industry.

Construction jobs have always been known as manual labor. However, when we consider what the job of a construction worker will look like five or ten years from now, we could be seeing that worker operating robotic machines that do the difficult, dirty, dangerous work. Workers will certainly be participating in many of their meetings online. They will connect with project teams and owners about projects using virtual reality.

The construction industry has a marketing problem

Some companies are not even aware that they have a marketing problem, which just compounds the situation.

Marketing involves much more than printing up business cards and putting ads in a newspaper. The modern consumer is bombarded by information from a wide range of sources every waking minute – from print media, internet, television, radio, emails, texts, social media, and snail mail. Unless a message applies to their unique situation and is compelling, they will tune it out.

From websites, blogs and social media to videos, emails, digital ads, press releases, brochures, and bids, your company has an abundance of marketing options. Whether those marketing efforts are designed to maintain your existing customer base or attract new clients and employees, you need to tailor your message to that specific audience. To that end, it’s important for construction marketers to learn the prospect’s language and use that in the marketing efforts.

Another, and very valuable, way to make your message compelling is to share your success stories and draw your audience into those stories. A compelling story does not describe how great you are. It describes how you helped your customers look great.

Relating a compelling story is challenging and complicated. Your story needs to be positioned to connect with your specific audience. Marketers need to map their story to address the real, expressed needs a customer has. It does not really matter what you think or assume is important to your prospects. What matters is what they say is important tothem. To find that out, it is helpful to listen more to what your prospects have to say.

When marketers are trying to tell a compelling story, they need to first understand the pain points their audience is facing.

Contrary to the way many of us marketers were brought up in the industry, we in the construction company are not the hero of the story we are telling. Rather, we are the guide that helped customers solve the pain points and problems they were dealing with. When striving for success, it is your company’s obligation to meet people where they are, not where you want to appear. Basically, it is your job to help them get to where they want to be, not the other way around.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has started working on the New Terminal 1

California registers interesting new infrastructure construction projects for the coming months. Below I have selected three great investments and end with the latest regulations of the Biden Administration for construction companies.

The New T1 project includes the replacement of the outdated Terminal 1, improvements to the airfield, improved transportation connectivity to the airport, and a new facility for the airport authority administration.

The New T1 is divided into three components, Terminals & Roadways, Airside Improvements, and a new Administration Building. The Administration Building component will be the first building to be completed within the New T1 program with an anticipated opening date in late 2023. It will be delivered by Sundt Construction, with HOK as the lead architect.

The Terminal & Roadways component will be completed in phases and is a design-build project by Turner-Flatiron, a joint venture with Gensler as lead architect. The first phase will include 19 gates, an elevated departures roadway, outdoor check-in pavilions, a dedicated, on-airport arrivals roadway, and a five-story parking plaza. The earliest opening for the first phase is in mid-2025. The second phase will add 11 gates for a total of 30 gates. The earliest opening for the second phase is in late 2027.

The Airside Improvements component is being delivered by contractor Griffith Company and will allow for more efficient aircraft movements and ground traffic flow for the new terminal. The earliest completion date for all projects within the Airside Improvements component will be mid-2028.

The New T1 will feature pre-and post-security passenger connectors to Terminal 2, a new parking plaza that will provide up to 5,200 parking spaces, an expansive security checkpoint with 13 lanes, an outdoor patio area post-security providing views of the airfield, San Diego Bay and downtown, up to two airline or common-use lounges/clubs, and a children’s play area. Six artists have been commissioned to create integrated, site-specific public art for The New T1 and the façade is being designed by renowned artist James Carpenter.

An important feature of the New T1 project is a three-lane on-airport access roadway that will take traffic from Laurel Street directly to the airport, reducing 45,000 vehicles a day on Harbor Drive. A dual-level roadway and curb front to separate arriving and departing passenger traffic with an elevated departures roadway and curbside check-in will also be integrated. The airport authority has preserved a space for a future transit station, giving the airport even more direct accessibility. Recently, SAN launched all-electric shuttle service between the airport and Old Town Transit Center, providing a convenient, last-mile transit solution.

A projected $30 billion California state budget surplus could create an opportunity for a dedication of $10 billion to repair and expand Kindergarten to Grade 12 school facilities.

The funds allocation could derail a proposed $12 billion school building bond issue planned for a ballot later this year.

In addition to the K-12 schools funding, additional funds would go for university and college projects, with $10 billion for transportation projects, according to Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee.

“How the money for transitional kindergarten to 12th grade would be distributed — whether through grants or tied to matching local contributions, as under the current facilities program”— would be negotiated in coming months with the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will propose his version of the 2022-23 budget in January, the published report says.

“What’s also unclear is whether the surplus funding would supplement or substitute for a proposed $12 billion TK-12 and community college bond issue that the Assembly passed in June, with the intent of placing it before voters next year,” DD reported. “Ting said his inclination is that the $10 billion surplus appropriation could be “in lieu of” a school construction bond in 2022. It’s partly a matter of timing ­— determining the odds of passage of a bond on a crowded state ballot amid economic uncertainty; there’s been no decision on proceeding, Ting said.”

Governor Gavin Newsom has outlined his California Blueprint’s major investments in transportation and infrastructure, highlighting the plan’s $9.1 billion in funding for climate-friendly clean transit projects.

The Blueprint also includes $2.3 billion to support ports and goods movement throughout the state and an additional $6.1 billion to accelerate the state’s transition to zero-emission vehicles – creating a total package of $10 billion that will invest in affordable cars, clean trucks and buses.

“These bold investments will deliver safer, faster and greener transportation options connecting communities across the state while creating thousands of jobs and tackling our largest source of harmful pollution and emissions,” Newsom said in the Jan. 13 statement.

“With California on the frontlines of the intensifying climate crisis, the state is committed to building a clean transportation future that protects the health of our communities, environment and economy.”

The California Blueprint includes $4.9 billion for transit and rail projects to improve connectivity, climate adaptation, bicycle and pedestrian safety and more locally driven initiatives. In addition, the Blueprint proposes a $4.2 billion investment in California’s High-Speed Rail project, as well as funding for projects that encourage active modes of transportation and improve equity and safety, including converting underutilized highways into corridors that better serve residents. The Blueprint positions California to take advantage of additional federal infrastructure investments.

The California Blueprint also includes a $2.3 billion package with $1.2 billion for port-related infrastructure projects that increase goods movement capacity and additional funding for zero-emission port equipment, drayage trucks and infrastructure.