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Embrace of Technology in Construction Swings With Ages and Attitudes, Survey Finds

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GRAPH COURTESY OF CURT
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A survey conducted by a committee of young professionals in the Construction Users Roundtable offers a profile of technology use, adoption and attitudes across four age groups in the industry, suggesting strong engagement among the youngest but also the oldest, with a sag in the middle.

The results of the 30-question survey, conducted by CURT's Young Professionals Committee, are being analyzed. A report will be available on the CURT website soon, but a peek at the data is provocative.

Of 304 respondents, the largest number, 110 (36%) came from the cohort 51 years old or older. The second largest came from the youngest cohort, under 30 years of age, which had 93 responses (31%). The responses dropped off sharply for the two decadal cohorts in between, with 52 from the 31- to 40-year-olds (17%) and 49 from the 41- to 50-year-olds (16%).

Respondents included 136 contractors, 62 owners, 18 consultants, 18 people from engineering firms and five from architectural firms.

Almost a third said their primary workspace was "in the field." The highest percentage, 41%, fell in the youngest group and gradually dropped to 23% for the oldest. More than half of all respondents said they work at least two hours a day on e-mail, with 36 spending four to six hours at it daily.

When asked about the transition of baby boomers into retirement, 118 said they are "excited—it's my time to shine," while 116 said they were nervous about what will happen to the industry.

Respondents also were asked to name the most important technology tool for their company (see chart). While many named specific tools as their first and second picks, several noted that their firm benefits most from systems that integrate many technological aids.

Asked if tablets and iPads are toys or tools, 59% said tools, 35% said it is too soon to tell, and 6% declared them toys. The highest "toy" count was in the 31- to 40-year-old age group, at 15%. The youngest and oldest came in at 4% and 6%, respectively.

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