Posted: January 14, 2021
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Conley Smith, Sr. Business Writer
Ever since the survey began in 2012, On-Screen Takeoff has earned top takeoff and estimating honors in this report. This year’s respondents ranked On-Screen Takeoff as their top tool by a margin of 42%. Also ranking among the Top 10 Takeoff Software tools were other ConstructConnect estimating tools—PlanSwift, Quick Bid, and QuoteSoft.
In the nine years since JBKnowledge began collecting, compiling, and analyzing data for their well-respected ConTech Report, On-Screen Takeoff has been ranked as the No. 1 takeoff tool of preference by more than 40% of all participants—from 2012 through 2021.
Who Took the Survey
In 2020, 67% who responded to the survey worked in commercial construction. Of those, 56% were born between 1960 and 1979. This Generation X trend has been consistent since 2016 with more than 50% of the ConTech Survey’s respondents falling into this demographic. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of respondents born between 1940-1959 (Baby Boomers) has decreased from 22% to 12% in 2020.
The majority of those participating again reported roles as Finance, Executive, Estimator, and Project Manager. Of those participating, 28% were at the executive level and finance and Construction Technology/IT Systems Manager roles were tied at 26%.
Although nearly 90% of those who work in construction are male, this year’s ConTech Report showed again strong participation from women—26% were women—a 5% growth over five years. While there is clearly a growing number of women entering the construction workforce, the number of women in trade jobs still only accounts for about 3% of the workforce.
Interestingly, the participants in the 2020 survey showed little crossover in roles by gender until you look at the C-suite. However, the disparity between male and female executives participating was smaller than one would expect—9% of the male respondents and 5% of women reported CEO as their title.
Also, most of the construction pros who responded to the survey represented firms that had been in business between 21-50 years (39%)—a close second were those who worked for firms showing 50+ years (38%) in business. Also, the majority (19.9%) came from companies with 201 to 500 employees.
Of those taking the survey in 2020, the average annual sales volume was very evenly distributed with the largest percent (24%) reporting sales of $21 million to $50 million. Of those participating, 95% work in North America.
Software Adoption Increases
As usual, the ConTech Report drilled into which workflows are being used to judge whether technology adoption is gaining traction in the construction industry. As in past years, the same occupations—estimators, accountants, project and bid management participants—continue to hold onto their spreadsheets and manual entry.
The overall number of those relying on spreadsheets dropped between 1% to 4% in some areas. Even so, the number of estimators using spreadsheets as part of their workflow was 62%; accounting was 51%; and project management was 45%.
The good news is that many key areas showed increase use of dedicated software tools. Project management, takeoff, and bid management all saw growth in 2020. Though small—the move from spreadsheets to software—reflects a growing appreciation of software ROI, according to the report.
Of those workflows using dedicated software, the report showed:
Tech Investment Budgets Static
With budgeting virtually static from 2019 to 2020, the report found that nearly half of companies represented (49%) reported having a dedicated IT department. Despite the pandemic and its economic impact, 59% of those in the survey reported having maintained their IT staff and another 30% reported increasing their IT staff in 2020.
However, most of these IT departments are small—20% reported having 6-15 employees. Only 2% reported having 31-50 dedicated IT employees. For the third year, CFOs and CEOs continue to lead the IT departments.
Comments in the survey were interesting, including:
Data Transfer Still Manual
Everyone can agree that applications that don’t integrate end up requiring double work, lost information, and errors. While 2020 showed some decreases in manual entry, 49% of the companies surveyed say they are still transferring data between apps that don’t integrate.
For data, spreadsheets are still leaned on heavily by 44% of the respondents. Another 37% reported using CSV and 29% rely on custom-built integrations. While most can agree that having apps that talk to each other is essential, manual entry and spreadsheets continue to have a hold on ConTech influencers.
If you’re ready to take the next step, why not find out why OST is the No.1 takeoff tool. It’s easy to find out with a 14-day free trial or demo. Find out why so many construction pros use OST to complete takeoffs in a fraction of the time with much greater accuracy.