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Why Small Builders Need Digital Skills

When you think of builders, certain images come to mind: busy and enthusiastic tradesman applying hammers, saws, and drills at noisy job sites.

What you don’t think of are smartphones and tablets, but perhaps you should.

Technology in the Construction Industry

Building firms that work on large-scale projects have been using construction computing technology for years. One common example is project management software that tracks costs, work schedules, supply levels, and progress in general. Their associated apps can be installed on smartphones and tablets, which presents the following advantages.

  • Contractor progress can be followed and recorded using a database system and phone camera.
  • One person can create and update a single schedule, visible to the entire team, from wherever they are.
  • The ability to update key project information instantly should prevent schedule conflicts and disparities in deadlines.

No one should overlook small builders skills if they want to work for a large firm and even be promoted to management one day. Even if they prefer to work with smaller projects, it’s still challenging to anticipate where technology will take the industry. It’s better to protect the future of one’s career than risk being left behind later on.

Given the rapid pace of technological change, it’s hard to say how the industry will change in 10 or even 40 years’ time. One good example is building information modelling (BIM), which architects, engineers, and construction managers use to create and develop 3D building designs. Until now it’s been used primarily in larger-scale projects, but augmented reality (AI) has become so popular that it won’t be long before customers expect a visual peek at how their new extension will look.

Structural Defects Insurance

There’s also the growing trend for smart home devices that can be controlled via the cloud or by an app. At present most of these devices are easy to install, but will this remain the case as technology becomes more advanced? Small builders skills that include digital learning will enable builders to see what’s coming and prepare for it.

Even if a builder wants to remain old-school in terms of their approach to the job, if they want to own their own business or become a self-employed trades person they will still have one issue to contend with: exactly how clients are going to find them.

Harsh as it sounds, doing a great job is no longer enough to make a business thrive.  The first thing potential clients do before handing over their money is research builders online. When they do, it’s important to ensure online visibility. This means:

  • Creating and maintaining a website
  • Social media marketing (company Facebook and Twitter accounts, paid advertising on Google and Bing, etc.)

Small builder skills development has to include digital processes if tradespeople want to remain relevant. Over the course of their career, from apprenticeship to retiring, they will need to understand and use technology as it evolves over the years. What might take time to learn in the beginning can save time and money in the future.

Specialists in Construction Insurance


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