Tech an increased focus of ENR Top 400 firms

Construction Dive, 5/29/2019

Construction Dive

Many of the leading firms on the newly released ENR Top 400 Contractors list are using construction technology to make workers safer and more productive. 

For instance, several of the largest constructors in the country are employing artificial intelligence tool Newmetrix, which uses jobsite photos, videos and other sources to identify and label risks such as standing water or missing personal protective equipment like hard hats, safety glasses, gloves and more. The nature of machine learning means that the more data is fed into the tool, the more the algorithm, dubbed “Vinnie,” can advance in its accuracy.

Nine firms joined a data-sharing council in March to further accelerate the tool: Suffolk, Barton Malow, Clayco, DPR Construction, JE Dunn, Messer Construction Co., Mortenson, Shawmut Design and Construction and the Bouygues Group.

No. 52 Shawmut, for example, is piloting Newmetrix on at least 30 projects, CEO Les Hiscoe told Construction Dive. “It’s really one of the few pieces of AI that I’ve seen applied in construction,” he said.

Safety leaders at No. 36 firm Webcor, which is also piloting Newmetrix, are also looking to technology to target and prioritize the most pressing risks on jobsites. When trends come to light via this or other technologies, “you use those tools to help create the kind of conversation that you want,” Webcor Builders VP Greg Chauhan told Construction Dive. Managers might use the next toolbox talk or morning huddle to review best practices for an area that’s seeing safety lapses, he suggested. 

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