In this day and age of construction technology, tech-savvy subs have become more the rule than the exception. For the most part, gone are the days when the subcontractor is the one part of the project team lacking in technology proficiency.

In fact, quite the opposite is true as many subcontractors today are bringing innovative technology to the table on their projects. Take Faith Technologies, www.faithtechnologies.com, Menasha, Wis., as one example. This electrical services contractor turned to the use of BIM (building information modeling) in order to provide an extension of services to clients, while positioning it for the future.

As profiled in the Jan/Feb issue of Constructech, Faith takes great pride in being a leader in its field when it comes to the use of BIM. Charlie Frederickson, vice president-preconstruction, Faith Technologies, believes there is no typical scenario for using BIM, saying, “… the opportunity for us to demonstrate our capabilities with BIM starts with the RFP (request for proposal). We use that opportunity to show the customer how we can use the tool—everything from coordinating our electrical work with the mechanical, plumbing, and structural; to developing the layouts and identifying clashes early on in process. Once the project team has been determined, the coordination phase begins. It is very common to find everyone on laptops working on models, running clash detection processes in Navisworks, and working through them before any work is done at the jobsite.”

It can be argued that mechanical and sheet metal subcontractors were some of the first companies to invest in the 3D modeling platforms. As told by Tom Palange, director of marketing, J.C. Cannistraro, LLC, www.cannistraro.com, Watertown, Mass., in the March/April edition of Constructech, when it comes to innovation in the world of specialty contracting, BIM is only part of the story.

He says electrical contractors understand every last detail involved with installing panel boards and conduit, while mechanical contractors have the real-world experience needed to build complex piping systems, and so on.

“Mechanical trades often make up as much as 40% of a project’s total costs,” says John Cannistraro Jr., president, J.C. Cannistraro LLC. “By now, the entire industry understands that a project ultimately benefits from the reallocation of costs and resources to the design phase in order to make way for early collaboration.”

Cannistraro uses technology to prepare for mechanical installations not only before materials and equipment arrive on site, but before the concrete floor is even poured. Through the use of such technologies as GPS (global positioning system), the company can make sure the model is populated with data points that aid in the installation of sleeves and hanger assemblies with 100% accuracy and zero capacity for human measurement error.

The tech-savvy nature for subcontractors does not stop here. This is just a mere sampling of how these two specialty contractors are leading the charge in their respective fields when it comes to technology. Subs have emerged, and look to continue moving in an upward pace in the years ahead.