Procore Groundbreak 2023: Highlighting sustainability, recruitment and innovation in construction
The 2023 Procore Groundbreak conference brought together construction leaders and innovators from around the globe to share their vision for the industry’s future. Forty-five Skanska employees traveled to Chicago to attend discussions on the digital and cultural transformations that will help construction professionals attract and retain top talent, improve safety outcomes and meet growing demand.
Skanska further established itself as an industry leader in presentations on sustainability strategy, practical use of artificial intelligence, and how we can better recruit and retain women in construction.
A balancing act: Overcoming the challenges of recruiting and keeping women in construction
There’s a clear need to increase the percentage of women in construction, which is currently 11 percent. The challenge to getting more women in the field is balancing the nature of our business—managing construction onsite— with the workforce’s needs.
In this panel discussion, Director of Environmental Health and Safety Maria Inlow, Superintendent Johana Godoy and Senior Project Engineer Sofia Sandoval spoke with Procore's VP, Global Sales Development Rakhi Voria about the challenges and opportunities of remote work and flexible schedules, as well as ways to recruit and retain women onsite.
The all-Skanska panel discussed the importance of mentorship and how men can advocate for their female colleagues, even when they aren't in the room. Johana, who began her career as a project engineer, highlighted a male mentor, who early on in her career, spoke up to leadership about her skills and what she had to offer.
It takes everyone to change the culture and shift the mindset,” says Johana Godoy, superintendent in San Francisco, California
Maria, who has been at Skanska for over 20 years, discussed how she struggled to find PPE that fit her early in her career. Recent changes like female-specific PPE are important steps towards building a more inclusive culture on the jobsite.
“Changing the culture is one act at a time,” says Maria Inlow, EHS director in Seattle, Washington
Sofia discussed how having a support system like Skanska Women's Network has helped her overcome imposter syndrome, which 75 percent of women executives experience according to Forbes.
“Skanska Women's Network has been a great resource for me. It allows me to reflect and remind myself of past accomplishments, and provides me with access to mentors who have faced similar challenges,” says Sofia Sandoval, senior project engineer in Los Angeles, California
Enhancing competitiveness in construction through ESG integration
Senior Sustainability Director Tolga Tutar joined a panel discussion with DroneDeploy's Rebecca Lehman, University of Colorado Denver Professor Caroline Clevenger and ELECTRI International's Amanda Harbison to discuss how Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles can help construction firms stand out among competitors and secure contracts.
The newly proposed U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission climate disclosure rule will require companies to provide a narrative disclosure of their governance structures, risk management, strategies and metrics used to evaluate and manage their climate-related financial risks.
Therefore, ESG principles and strategies are becoming more important for the construction sector to assess the corporate governance, social and environmental impact of a business, both internally and externally.
Tolga discussed Skanska's industry-leading transparency on ESG and climate impact reporting, and its Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) accredited climate target, which has been measured and reported on by the company since 2008.
Tolga broke down the difference between Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions which is essential for carbon emissions reporting:
- Scope 1 Emissions: These are the direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by a company
- Examples: Emissions from company cars and trucks
- Scope 2 Emissions: These are indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling, even though it's produced elsewhere
- Examples: Emissions from the power plants that generate the electricity a company uses
- Scope 3 Emissions: These are all other indirect emissions associated with a company’s activities, but they come from activities the company doesn't own or directly control
- Examples: Emissions from production of construction materials, business travel or waste
Tolga further explained Skanska’s long-term target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in our own operations and across our value chain by 2045.
We use 2015 as the base year for our own emissions (Scope 1 and 2). In recent years, we have expanded and improved the quality of our value chain data, with 2020 serving as the base year for value chain (Scope 3) emissions. Most of Skanska’s carbon emissions stem from the value chain, calculated as Scope 3.
As an interim target, Skanska aims to reduce its own emissions by 70 percent between 2015 and 2030 and achieve 50 percent reduction in emissions in the value chain by 2030, compared with 2020.
Predictions, automations and guidance: A conversation about the practicality of artificial intelligence and its role in construction
Director of Data and Analytics Amy Jones was joined by Rogers-O'Brien Construction CIO Todd Wynne, Procore's VP of Product Rajitha Chaparala and Chief Data Officer Joy Durling to discuss the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in construction.
The panel broke down AI into four different subcategories:
- Machine learning: can be used to predict project outcomes, risks and schedule delays
- Robotics: can be used on jobsites like Boston Dynamics, Spot or Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter
- Computer vision: can monitor progress tracking and identify safety risks on jobsites
- Natural language processing and large language models: can potentially leverage historical RFI data to identify the most common and impactful constructability issues
Amy spoke about the importance of having a standardized data set to correctly leverage machine learning models.
“In preconstruction, we started with a structured data set and built a foundation for our benchmarking tool across all our offices. To leverage this data holistically, we had to devise a methodology to capture our data. Now, with machine learning and advancements in natural language processing, we can explore layering in contextual data from our marketing database, but it always comes back to the standardized data set we built early on,” says Amy Jones, data and analytics director in Nashville, Tennessee