Talk to anyone in the construction industry these days and, after trading notes on any signs of economic recovery in different sectors, the discussion generally shifts to technology use. 

Who’s using tablets on job sites? Which owners are now demanding a transition from 2D to 3D CAD usage? What is the cost of maintaining advanced software and the hardware to back it all up? It goes on and on.

During ENR's recent "FutureTech" event in April, we could feel the energy and buzz in the air among the attendees, many of whom marveled about the pace of adoption now spreading throughout the main A/E/C Owner sectors of the industry.

More firms are deploying BIM-in-the-Cloud tools to make a jobsite more nimble, ensuring that design changes are approved by all parties faster, cutting downtime. Firms are getting smarter about how they use social media to market their services. A younger generation of engineers and designers is now pushing the envelope with advanced generative algorithms with software such as Grasshopper, which is integrated with Rhino's 3D design tools.

These are a few reasons that ENR is ramping up its long-standing technology coverage of information technology in construction with the launch of a new newsletter called FutureTech.

We're pleased to lead off this first newsletter with a piece by the noted journalist ( and author Steve Ross, with part one of his two-part article, "CAD Upgrade: Questions to Ask."

Many longtime readers of ENR might recognize his byline. Ross has been looking at CAD since the 1970s, when he  was doing chemical plant instrumentation and writing for Product Safety and Liability: A Desk Reference (Kolb & Ross, McGraw-Hill, 1977). He's also written reviews for Architectural Record and NASA.

Back then, he writes, "only the Air Force could afford CAD, and I saw it close-up (on giant machines that cost $1 million or more in today's dollars) at the USAF Systems Safety Command in Dayton. Ohio." He brings a depth of understanding to today's CAD systems that can help firms of all use-levels make better decisions on what is right for them.

You can read more about Ross on his bio page, but we'll hum a few bars here: Ross taught for 19 years at Columbia University. He was teaching online database access as early as 1979 at Columbia, in a pioneering national reporting course. (Full disclosure: Ross was my advisor at Columbia's Journalism School, where I learned a great deal about computer reporting and accessing databases for public information.)

ENR's technology editor, Tom Sawyer, and other editors such as Tudor Van Hampton, Midwest bureau chief, are digging deeper into major trends about technology in construction, including GPS, fleet management, gadgets on the jobsite, and online markets for buying heavy equipment, to name a few.

We've also engaged voices from some of the leading engineering, design and construction management firms across the industry to describe, in their own words, how they're using technology. You can find it in the FutureTech newsletter, which is just one part of ENR's evolving mission to give voice to technology's impact on all facets of the construction industry.

If you're reading this blog post from the FutureTech newsletter, let us know what you think! If you would like to receive a complimentary copy (or more info about becoming an ENR subscriber), send us your email address ( and we'll send you a sample.

And most of all, let us know how you are using technology and how it is transforming your work. We're keen to keep the conversation going.