The construction software space looks considerably different today than it did even just a year ago. In the past 12 months, a number of acquisitions have changed the landscape of construction software, causing contractors take notice. But what does it all ultimately mean in the end for IT plans in construction?

A big trend among many of the large construction software providers is using an acquired product to offer construction companies a more cohesive, integrated solution, tying together disparate technology components. One of the more recent examples of M&A (merger and acquisition) activity in the construction industry comes from Textura Corp., www.texturacorp.com, Deerfield, Ill.

The software provider has already acquired the likes of Submittal Exchange and GradeBeam in an effort to deliver a “concept through construction” platform that touches all members of the project team. This week, Textura adds another product to its lineup, PlanSwift.

PlanSwift’s takeoff and estimating software is the latest addition to Textura’s collaboration tools. The company says PlanSwift complements Textura’s existing solutions, offering new capabilities for specialty contractors and estimators. In particular, PlanSwift will offer an additional option for takeoff that will be integrated with GradeBeam’s invitation-to-bid software and Textura’s bid management solution.

In many cases, an acquisition such as this provides construction companies with an opportunity to implement and integrate new technologies, creating a collaborative solution for the entire project team.

As another recent example, Viewpoint Construction Software, www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., acquired 4Projects, which provides BIM (building information modeling) and collaboration software in the United Kingdom. The 4Projects technology allows contractors to access project-related information including the ability to manage, distribute, mark up, and audit drawings, submittals, RFIs (requests for information), issues, and other construction and preconstruction documents.

With the acquisition, 4Project’s product portfolio will become available in the United States, Canada, and Australia. What’s more, acquiring 4Projects products and employees allows Viewpoint to complete a larger piece of the software puzzle, adding BIM and collaboration to its mix of software. Viewpoint Construction Software has already acquired Construction Imaging for content management, ACS Connect for mobility, and CIS Consulting Group. Adding BIM and collaboration to Viewpoint’s existing ERP (enterprise-resource planning) platform was a clear next step for the software provider.

Many of the large construction software players in the space seem to have an eye on a similar strategy—create an integrated, collaborative solution for contractors, piecing together some of the top solutions in the marketplace. With all these changes happening in the construction software space, contractors will need to have a solid plan for technology adoption going forward.