Many industries have come to a halt this year, but there is one sector that never stops working and that is the construction industry. An essential part of the economy, the industry is constantly seeking new ways to speed processes up, reduce costs, and make each site as safe as possible.
Technology is forever changing and growing; however, the construction sector has been slow on the uptake of these new technologies. From installing construction site broadband to using drones and robotics, it has taken up to a decade for these technologies to reach the high standards and regulations needed within construction.
Previously, the majority of new technologies did not meet the strict safety standards required to be used on the worksite, or the error margin was simply too great for the overall finished project. However, things have now changed and we can begin to see the impact of these within construction.
Below, we discuss the top 10 technologies to look out for this year in the construction world and how they are being implemented across the sector.
1. Big Data
Data is the currency of the digital world and with over 2.5 quintillion bytes generated every day, it can be a seemingly impossible task to make a comprehensive interpretation of any of it.
Big data can analyze extremely large sums of data within a fraction of the time it would take a human brain to process.
From this, hidden trends and patterns are uncovered and turned into actionable insights to aid the process within construction.
Weather and traffic trends can be pinpointed from historical data to provide an insight into the optimum time to begin construction.
Data from previous projects can determine patterns in risks, hazards, and errors to steer the project in a more productive direction. Alongside this, it can also detect overspend on unneeded materials and equipment, helping to reduce wasted spend.
2. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
AI is a technology that mimics the behavior of humans, ML does this but also learns from previous experiences.
This is being implemented throughout the entire process of a project, from the design stages to finishing touches.
Predictive design can analyze the location of the site and provides insights into the weather and other conditions that are unique to the site to increase the lifespan of the building.
Repetitive tasks can be programmed into AI machineries, such as concrete pouring and bricklaying, allowing site members to have more time to complete other tasks.
AI can even increase job safety with hazard monitoring with the use of photos or other recognition technology, it can even notify workers if they are not in the correct PPE.
3. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Controlled from a central platform, smart devices and sensors are being rolled out across the sector.
Many of us already have this in our own homes, with the use of smart speakers, watches, and other smart devices.
The construction world is taking full advantage of this. Sensors can be used to alert employees when action needs to be taken, for example, when cement is running low in a mixer. This alleviates the very repetitive task of manually monitoring this.
Footfall can be monitored, and workers can check-in and out automatically, reducing paper tasks and saving time.
Geo-location is now being implemented to alert workers when they have entered a danger zone. Covid-19 has presented a new use for this technology and wearable sensors can alert workers when they are now maintaining a safe distance.
4. Robotics & Drones
No longer for weekend hobbyists, robotics and drones are really proving their worth within construction.
Bricklaying robots are invaluable to complete these monotonous tasks with precision. Drones are being implemented for various tasks.
They can provide a quick and easy oversight of the entire project and worksite, allowing site managers to identify any risks.
Drones are even reducing carbon footprint with the ability to deliver materials, while also cutting down delivery waiting times.
5. 5G and Wi-Fi 6
There are no sectors that are able to operate smoothly and efficiently without a fast and safe internet connection.
While broadband is always a safe choice for this, it isn’t always viable and for short-term projects, it isn’t always cost-effective.
5G and Wi-Fi 6 are considerably faster than their predecessors, as well as being more secure and providing further coverage.
This is allowing all contributors to their project to have an instant connection and eradicating any delays due to lack of internet.
6. BIM Technologies
Building Information Modelling Technology is a modeling tool with superior intelligence. It allows all those within the design process to easily collaborate, without having to have expert knowledge within each specialty.
Designing in real-time allows this technology to detect any clashes in the very early stages, including within plumbing, electrical, and architecture.
Not only are these clashes detected, but BIM can also provide problem-solving solutions for these.
7. VR & AR
Virtual and augmented reality isn’t just for avid gamers. Virtual tours and walkthroughs can be shown to those working on a project and clients before construction begins. This means everyone has a full idea and expectation of the finished project.
It also allows clients to have a view on how the project is coming along, without having to be physically present.
Risk assessments of these sites can be completed remotely, reducing delays due to project managers being remote.
8. 3D Printing
There are few limitations to what can be made with a 3D printer nowadays. Having one on-site can not only reduce costs of materials but remove the wait times for deliveries.
This also reduces the number of delivery vehicles on the road, helping to reduce carbon emissions.
Designers also have freer reign with trying new methods and techniques as these materials are far cheaper to produce than requesting manufacturers to create items bespoke.
9. Mobile and Cloud Technologies
Using the cloud has now enabled faster and more efficient projects. With documents and data being able to be shared immediately, but still securely, and being able to be updated in real-time, waiting times are dramatically reduced.
10. Blockchain Technologies
Storing payment within cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, removes any financial risk from all parties involved.
This payment is stored until the completion of the pre-agreed contract and released when all parties are satisfied.
This means all projects are fully paid for and clients will always be satisfied with what was delivered.
These are just the latest technologies to be rolling out within the sector, but with the fast, ever-growing technology world, who knows where the industry will be in just a few years. It certainly is an exciting time for the construction world.
What do you think of these top 10 construction technology trends? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, or Facebook. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.