The second decade of the 21st century is quickly coming to a close, so it’s no wonder we see the handprints of technology everywhere we look. From medical advancements to self-driving cars, technology plays a huge role in our day-to-day. Until recently, the construction industry has been noticeably stuck in the mid-20th century, with very few contractors and builders implementing many of the technological advances available.
However, there are trends in technology that have been picking up steam in the construction game. Below are some of the top technological trends in the industry and why they will be important as we enter the next decade of the 21st century:
The construction industry has notoriously been behind the technological times. As such, outdated buildings can be found everywhere. Internal upgrades (called retrofitting), has become a popular way for builders to update their buildings without rebuilding them entirely. Whether it’s replacing lighting systems, or installing climate sensors new technology can improve performance starting with the infrastructure of the building.
Supplying the building with building automation systems is popular when it comes to retrofitting. Building automation systems (BAS) are centralized control systems. They can monitor the entire building’s HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), lighting, fire safety, and water systems. Older buildings aren’t interconnected, leading to energy waste.
Having a unified system helps increase efficiency, and that helps reduce building costs and energy consumptions throughout a building.
The advancements in Virtual Reality have lead to a rise in Augmented Reality. The ability to create 3D replicas of building plans is only one benefit of utilizing this kind of technology in the construction industry. As this technology becomes more readily used and integrated, the tools also become ever-present and more user-friendly. Augmented comparisons of models to physical space, virtual walkthroughs of properties with stakeholders, overlays of wiring during installation to increase precision, and real-time ability to incorporate environmental factors are but a few of the benefits of using Virtual Reality on the job site.
Moving forward, builders and designers can increase their collaborative efforts by sharing up-to-the-minute data with each other to keep projects on schedule and avoid costly issues that may arise. By reducing the need for rework and increasing safety, Virtual Reality has already shown its value in the industry and will continue to make project management easier.
Robotics, Automation, Machine Learning. Oh My!
Along with the influences of VR on job sites, comes the assistance of automation and robotics.
One robotic assistant on job sites around the world is the automated rover. They can relay information about status on a site autonomously. With artificial intelligence at home offices feeding data into an analytics system, rovers provide immediate reports that can be analyzed in real time. They can determine and tag safety violations or other hazards immediately and effectively.
Drones are also frequently used at sites, to avoid the time and safety hazards of climbing scaffolds or navigating potential dangers on the ground. 3D models can be created of the site, thanks to images garnered by a drone. These models can be used to calculate the area, virtually move volumes of earth in seconds, and gather other information about a site that used to involve several humans and multiple hours.
Driverless earth movers and dump trucks are also being used in the construction and road-building industries.
As the construction industry relies more heavily on real-time information and more efficient project management, systems that combine and organize data from connected worksites are going to prove to be more and more vital.
Artificial intelligence also has the ability to use algorithms and machine learning toe provide insight on future safety concerns, scheduling conflicts, and budget constraints. By combining statistics, models, machine learning, data mining, and artificial intelligence, predictive analytics successfully analyzes data and can forecast the future of a project.
With robotics and virtual reality offering real-time information, it’s important for designers and contractors to access that information as quickly as possible. In just the past ten years, the construction industry has gone from utilizing computers in the office to uploading information immediately on their smartphones. Having communication easily accessible and readily available has made a huge difference in the way the construction industry has operated, with more efficient communication and faster response times.
Mobile technology and project management has also reduced the need for manually drawing up project outlines, images, checklists and tasks for team members. Digital records increase communication abilities, help control costs on the site, and create simulations for workers to tinker with before real-life application. The entire construction industry is becoming more streamlined and less fragmented with the help of mobile technology.
It’s still early days for technology’s role in the construction industry, but with more and more contractors and builders implementing various technological advancements, it won’t be long before firms across the world reap the benefits. With drones, robots, AI, better equipment, and smarter building the construction industry is becoming safer, more profitable, and more productive.
Want to find a construction company using top technology? Contact Hannig Construction, Inc. today and a representative will reach out to you shortly!