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Frontline construction workers do use digital technologies

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Nish Bandara

When it comes to technology adoption, there are two general assumptions made about the construction industry:

  1. The construction industry is slow to adopt new technology;
  2. Frontline construction workers won't use technology;

Those who are actually in the construction industry know the first assumption isn't correct. 

Our data says the second assumption isn't true either - they will use technology, and even adopt new technology.

Within just six weeks of launch, almost half our frontline worker userbase has adopted a brand new digital product, which they are using every time they come on to an enabled site.


Current state

Technology adoption in construction varies between geographies:

  • In Australia and New Zealand, construction companies are generally positive towards technology adoption. Source: Procore/ACA Research, 2019. 
  • In the United States, it's more complicated because of concerns over field-worker acceptance. Source: Procore/Dodge Data, 2018.
  • In the UK, adoption is happening, but slower they'd like. Source: PBC Today, 2019.

The gap

New technologies for construction and the built environment have focused on two key areas:

  1. Planning, design and pre-construction;
  2. Project, site and construction management;

These technologies provide immense value but haven't been able to include one of the most important stakeholders: frontline construction workers. When there have been attempts to include them, they've failed to gain meaningful use.

The issue has been an approach of one-sided value. The technology available to the frontline has generally been for the benefit of the general contractor, without offering meaningful value to the actual user.

SignOnSite has been able to close this gap by offering value to the frontline worker and the contractor. 

Closing the gap

In late July 2020, SignOnSite released the Worker Passport product, embedded in the SignOnSite app. Simply put, it is a digital wallet for construction qualifications, tickets and credentials.

Worker Passport 1

By providing value to the workers on site, construction companies receive better information and reduced safety compliance risks.

Workers get to:

  • Do their inductions quickly and accurately with pre-filled information.
  • Easily move between multiple projects and sites.
  • Own their digital data by always having access to their profile, instead of having to their boss to retrieve and change information.
  • Manage their own credentials and qualifications, and be alerted to them before they expire (less chance of not being able to work because of an expired credential).

Construction companies get:

  • Enhanced safety, induction and qualification compliance.
  • A method to quickly and accurately demonstrate compliance during an audit.
  • Increased buy-in and engagement in adjacent technologies, such as digital attendance and site communications. 

The Worker Passport has only been available for a short time and is only one example of how SignOnSite builds product - by providing utility and value to all the people on site. 

We are currently in the process of building on this success with additional features. If you'd like to hear about updates to the Worker Passport and new features, please subscribe to our newsletter.

The key takeaway

The construction industry and its frontline workers aren't averse to using technology. But the technology needs to provide meaningful value to everyone who uses it. The challenge is meeting the needs of all stakeholders in one experience - something that we're making significant progress in figuring out.


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