Thinking Forward: Advances in Technology Shaping the Construction Industry

Technological advances are making big waves in all industries— especially construction. Recent advances in technology have helped save lives, made work easier and more efficient, and it has also provided more means of entertainment and comfort in our daily lives. Some of the biggest advances include AI (artificial intelligence), which allows computers to perform human tasks; AR (augmented reality), which provides a rich experience; IoT (internet of things), which is responsible for the smart devices we have today, and VR (virtual reality), which creates a realistic environment for entertainment and work purposes. All of these and more are used to make the construction industry safer and more efficient.

3D Printing

3D printing is popular in a variety of industries, but it’s probably the most in the construction industry. 3D printing is the process of creating solid materials from a digital file. This technological advancement makes it possible for construction projects to get done quicker because 3D printing eliminates the time it takes to wait for certain materials and parts to be shipped to the site. With materials now being produced right at the construction site, this also eliminates material waste that occurs when manufacturing these materials the traditional way. The only downside is that there are still some limitations to this advancement— one being the fact that these materials can’t be mass-produced like they are in a traditional manufacturing setting.

Building Information Modeling and Other Software

There are several different types of software used in construction, and building information modeling (BIM) software is one of them. This software allows workers of multiple industries (construction, architecture, etc.) to input their work into a model, allowing them to see a more complete picture of the project, rather than piecing together multiple two-dimensional versions. The success of BIM software relies heavily on AI, and the United Kingdom has already made this a mandatory requirement for all of its construction projects. This technology will soon be used in construction in countries all over the world.

BIM software isn’t the only AI-powered software used in the construction industry. Construction companies also benefit from using software that manages their various projects, letting them know how efficiently they’re working and where they could use some improvement. There’s also customer relationship management (CRM) software that’s also used in other industries to let companies know how satisfied (or unsatisfied) their customers are with their work.

Many property developers and off-site manufacturers have realised that a key to efficient construction lies within automating the design of new houses. There is a new type of software available for rapidly designing new buildings called house configurators. The technology can even be used by homebuyers to adjust the layout and fit-out before committing to purchase the new property. Such a configure-to-buy software works online and is available 24/7. See an example of an online building configurator here

Personal Protective Equipment/Wearables

Traditional personal protective equipment (PPE) in construction always consisted of a hard hat, earplugs, safety goggles, protective gloves, and steel-toed boots, but technology has taken PPE to a whole new level. Construction workers now have access to wearables that can monitor their heart rate and other health conditions (to sense when a worker is overwhelmed, exhausted, etc.), sensors that let them know when a certain area is hazardous, and several other smart devices that increase productivity and efficiency. Construction has also included the use of VR for training new employees in a virtual setting before going out into the field. VR can also be used for seasoned construction workers starting on a new project.

Other Advances

Many technological advances in construction aren’t as new as some of the ones mentioned above, but they are constantly evolving to make the construction industry easier, safer, and even more environmentally friendly. Some examples of helpful materials and equipment in the construction industry include hoppers that are self-dumping, data collection apps, and drones. Drones are probably the most popular piece of modern technology used in construction because they aid in surveying land for potential construction projects. Drones today are much more accurate at detailing the specifics of a piece of land, and they’re also used to collect information on taller buildings, bridges, and other structures that pose an increased risk of bodily harm to construction workers.

The technology trend in construction is nothing short of revolutionary, and it’s only going to get better from here. Again, all industries are benefiting from the improvements in technology, and even aspects of our daily lives outside of work have been positively impacted.

Interesting Related Article: “Why Regulations are Required in the Construction Industry