C+S April 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 4 (web)

to digital infrastructures have been some of the practical ways around the difficulties faced so far. The situation certainly provides any savvy younger workforce members with an opportunity to leverage their na- tive tech skills creatively for the industry. 5. Challenging environments Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments have created new possibili - ties and changed how we use AI in the workplace. Over $2.5 billion is forecasted to be spent on AI for the construction market by 2030. Worksites equipped with sensors, cameras with detection and commu- nication features, and other safety equipment like Internet of Things (IoT) devices already improve on-site safety and reduce employee health risks and fatalities. Designing for challenging environments is another area AI has been enabling exciting developments. Whether thinking about affordable housing solutions for large numbers of people or planning a supertall for New York's Billionaires' Row, each project comes with its issues.

AI will make infrastructure delivery more economically efficient by optimizing the design and modeling stages of projects, creating 3D maps, conducting proposed site surveys, and gathering information for plans faster. Increasing tech adoption will make the industry more competitive, so companies can future-proof by reviewing their software options and IT architectures. Although overall tech adoption in the industry has been previously slow, the pandemic has spurred a wave of new tools and resources available to construction SMBs. Investigating tools like ERP systems made for smaller and medium-sized companies is the best way for businesses to start their digital transformations – if they haven't already.

MADS SCHMIDT PETERSEN is CEO and Co-founder of Hippo.Build.

Increasing the Number of Women in the Construction Industry

technology sector for over a decade, starting in 2008 as an application developer. During this time, Williams has moved from app develop - ment to data and analytics, but has always been focused on support- ing construction through technological development. She describes her current motivations as “finding ways to add efficiency through [information and analytics] that might not always be apparent to the field that will make [it] more productive.” This analytical mindset has imbued Williams with a unique perspective and understanding on what the industry needs to do to move forward. From Williams’ perspective, a direct line can be drawn from in - tentional and well designed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices to sound business development practices. By placing an emphasis on a “diversity of representation”, firms can gain new per - spectives that will ultimately pay dividends down the road. These DEI practices have both practical applications such as the design and function of the projects being built as well as internal applications. One of the first steps of this process, according to Wil - liams, is to create a climate in which underrepresented groups such as women not only see themselves represented, but capable of achieving advancement. Enacting equitable maternity and family leave and ac- commodating for differences in ability on the jobsite are just some of the steps that can be taken to show women that a career in the construction industry is a viable path. Williams also notes that not all women joining the industry are interested in having or starting a fam- ily, so steps like equitable maternity leave are just part of the solution.

By Luke Carothers

Despite recent gains in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the AEC industry has historically been a male-dominated industry. Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that women make up just under half of the U.S. workforce at 47 percent. Despite this, these same statistics show a glaring gap in women’s participation in several key areas and industries such as construction and trans- portation/utilities. Perhaps the most glaring of these statistics is that women represent just 10.3 percent of the workforce in the construc - tion industry. Furthermore, a report published by the New England Institute of Technology notes that, within the construction industry, only 7 percent of the architects and engineers are women. However, current trends show that the number of women in the construction industry is growing at a rate that outpaces many other industries. One of the people working to increase the number of women in the AEC industry is Catie Williams, Vice President of Product Develop - ment at InEight. Williams has been working in the construction and


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