Procore talks trends in tech, labour and sustainability

Kris Lengieza, Procore’s first global construction evangelist, spoke with us while in Paris for a BIM conference.

Kris Lengieza, Procore’s global technology evangelist. – Procore

Key Takeaways:

  • Technology adoption in construction will hinge on trust. The best way to boost this is having executives educate themselves on AI, robotics and more.
  • Young people want to be part of companies that are on construction’s cutting edge and are technologically sophisticated. However, older workers still have a wealth of experience that they can share before retirement.
  • When it comes to sustainability, we are getting better at tracking embodied carbon, reducing waste and being more efficient.
  • A crucial part of any company’s tech strategy must be to not get distracted by trendy solutions. Only adopt tools that solve your business’s specific problems.

The Whole Story:

What are construction tech experts thinking about for construction’s near future?

We spoke with Kris Lengieza, Procore’s first global technology evangelist, about the different trends catching his attention as we get deeper into 2024. We reached him while he was attending the BIM World conference in Paris. 

Lengieza spent the last twenty years in construction, with ten years focused on how he could use technology to make construction work easier. To maximize his influence, he made the leap from working for a general contractor in Florida to working for Procore.

“I spent five years focused on improving operational excellence through optimizing tech stacks with more than just Procore,” he said. “Now I’m focusing more on the evolution happening in construction technology, educating the industry and being a guide to our customers on how to do things effectively or efficiently.” 

Technological progress hinges on trust

Lengieza noted that three technology trends have accelerated in 2024. The first being artificial intelligence.

“There are lots of risks and confusion around it and it has a tremendous amount of momentum,” he said. “It’s a global thing. Everyone is wondering how it will impact the industry. There are some great examples of wins now, but also lots of promises that are a lot further away.” 

The second is data. The Internet of Things, reality capture and more is changing how builders collect data and use it on sites. 

“This is incredibly important,” said Lengieza. “The more data we have, the more informed we can be. Our study last year showed that customers believe that if they could gain insight to get to a faster decision from their data, they could save 13% on a project.” 

The third is robotics, which Lengieza was previously not bullish on. 

“I was a naysayer on robotics and thought it was further out, but some of the more simple use cases—layout, some hanger installations, the Hilti Jaibot,” he said. “They are making humans superhuman. They are not going to replace a person on the job.”

He explained that when he first dealt with layout it was robotic total stations speeding things up, but now when they do layout, it’s still one person but they can layout much more and do it better.

“We are starting to get over pricing hurdles and how one can integrate these things into the jobsite. That is really exciting as we have such a labour shortage,” he said. “This will help with a significant portion of that. It’s more efficient.”

What is the key to increasing the adopting of these emerging technologies? Lengieza said it comes down to trust. 

“It’s the biggest barrier,” he explained. “The reason we don’t trust is we don’t understand how it works.” 

Lengieza has spoken to many construction CEOs who say they don’t understand how something like ChatGPT works, what it’s good for or what it is capable of. He believes that the first step one can take is simply educating yourself on new technology. 

Labour requires attraction and retention

Another major theme Procore is tracking is the shortage of workers in construction. Lengieza explained that Canada is not alone. It is a global problem. It’s among the top three things he hears from executives. 

“We need to make construction cool again. We must be advocates for industry in high school programs and university programs. We need to show them that it’s not the industry from 40 or 50 years ago,” he said. “It’s a new, modern industry.” 

He is also hearing about college recruits asking builders about their tech stack and how they are innovating. 

“The new generations coming to the industry want to make a difference, they want to be part of the change,” he said, adding that the outgoing generation’s wealth of experience and the incoming generation’s tech savvy creates a great opportunity to exchange knowledge.

Sustainability tracking has become more sophisticated

A major trend Procore has seen in sustainability is the ability to identify and track carbon emissions in the industry. There are systems like the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3) that allows benchmarking, assessment and reductions in embodied carbon, focused on the upfront supply chain emissions of construction materials.

“We can understand the embodied carbon in a building, we can estimate what an unbuilt building’s embodied carbon will be. This allows us to iterate on the design and suggest alternative materials to control the impact,” said Lengieza. 

Another trend is around waste and tracking it. He explained that the better we can track waste and rework, the more we can minimize mistakes and use less sacrificial materials. 

“Tech plays a big role in this because we have a lot more 3D models to more easily understand what’s in a building from a carbon perspective and we have tools to collect data out in the field. This can help mitigate rework and prevent miscommunications,” he said.  

Lengieza’s big overall takeaway and what he has been telling executives is that technology is a piece of the puzzle. Technology just for technology’s sake isn’t necessarily useful. 

“It requires people and process with it, and you need to find technology that’s solving key business problems and that’s really important,” he said. “If you look at AI, robots etc. the question to ask is if it is solving a key problem at your business. Don’t try to implement something because it is cutting edge. Do it because it is solving a real problem, that’s pretty critical.”


Get smarter on the 🇨🇦 construction industry in just 5 minutes

Sign up for the free weekly newsletter for news, trends and insights in the Canadian construction industry.

Construction job board

Discover senior-level construction jobs at leading companies in Canada.

Find a jobPost a job



Get the 5-minute, weekly newsletter about the Canadian construction industry.

© SiteNews 2024. All rights reserved. SiteNews is an independently-operated news website. Views expressed are that of the editor's and are based on publicly available information unless otherwise noted through sponsored content.