Construction is one of the world’s oldest and most honourable industries. After all, what could be more noble than creating buildings where people can live and work in safety and security? What’s more, construction is extremely important in driving world economies. The amount of construction taking place in a country is usually heralded as an indicator of that nation’s economic health. As the population continues to boom and technologies continue to transform the ways in which we live and work, the construction industry is more important than ever. However, in order to meet the growing challenges of the 2020s, construction firms know that they can’t afford to rest on their laurels. While there are many construction techniques that predate Christianity still in use today, the new and innovative needs to sit alongside the tried and true.
New digital technologies have an astonishing and exciting range of applications that can make construction safer, more cost effective, more productive and more efficient. Technologies that were the domain of science fiction a scant couple of decades ago are already hard at work transforming the way we see think about the logistical, design and engineering disciplines that make up the construction industry. In this post, we’ll take a look at 5 tech trends that are already hard at work transforming the world of construction...
3D Printing (of course)
It goes without saying that 3D printing would have a range of exciting applications for the construction industry. We’re already seeing how 3D printed homes could, in theory, be constructed for a tiny fraction of the costs traditionally associated with a new build. While we have a way to go until 3D printing technology on such a scale will be commonplace, we can assume that it’s at least a serious possibility for the future.
3D printing has the potential to reduce a lot of the material waste that is very common in the construction industry and make the process of building more time and cost efficient, although it is too cost prohibitive at the moment to implement on a large scale.
Nonetheless, from 3D printed parts, fixtures and fittings to fully 3D printed concrete buildings, it’s definitely a versatile and revolutionary technology to watch.
The Internet of Things
There’s hardly an industry that won’t eventually be transformed by the Internet of Things (IoT). What’s more, we can expect to see a proliferation of IoT enabled devices in the home as the technology becomes more commonplace and 5G internet becomes more ubiquitous, allowing speeds of up to 1GB even when on the go.
At present IoT is helping construction crews to better manage their resources and plant with new IoT enabled tools and IoT boxes that can be used with all manner of machine plant. This allows project managers to track where their plant is at all times while also ensuring that it is being used in the most time-efficient manner possible.
More important, however, are the safety implications of IoT with smart hard hats and wearables alerting construction professionals to hazards faster than the human eye can perceive them.
Drones have a multitude of exciting applications for the construction industry, not least of which is the possibilities of Drone Mapping. This exciting new field allows project managers to see the progress of developments in real time using digital models based on drone footage. It can also be used to quickly check volumes of materials to provide greater real-time visibility and reduce over-ordering and waste.
Virtual Reality has been the subject of much paranoia and many misconceptions in the years since its inception. Technology has far more applications than video games or immersive online shopping. In the construction fields it can assist in helping construction firms to visualise, model and analyse future builds, potentially relieving process stoppages and budet extensions that are caused by inaccurate blueprints or unforeseen surprises.
On most construction sites, every day is a battle to maximise productivity. And that battle can be extremely hard won when project managers have to scurry around the site checking on individuals and teams, making sure that everyone’s time and resources are used effectively. Fortunately, in an age where digital apps have transformed virtually every industry, there are a plethora of project management apps built with the needs of the construction industry in mind. These allow project managers to check the progress of their teams in real time, ensuring that they know where to focus their efforts when each task is completed.
For those working in construction, there are all kinds of exciting possibilities for tomorrow implied by the technologies that are already hard at work today.