10 Construction Technologies & Trends Shaping the Industry
Recent digital breakthroughs run alongside new hardware solutions with equal ingenuity. The following 10 recent breakthroughs include both areas of development. Discover how they can transform and prepare your operation for the future.
Prefabrication is nothing new, but technology is making its benefits easier to access. Mobile technologies provide visibility into the manufacturing process for anyone involved. Stakeholders can view related details about the project from beginning to end.
Innovators are also improving prefabrication processes and results. Modular construction is growing in popularity in both North America and Europe. The technique allows five laborers to install hundreds of hospital bathrooms in days.
An engineer invented 3D printing, which soon wooed architects and designers. It was a means to create models they could discard and reprint while perfecting a design. But 3D printing has a new home in construction, where it is carrying out full-sized projects.
Now, construction 3D printing is being touted by many as the future of home building. Yet, practically speaking, there are limited offerings of 3D printed houses for sale, with government regulations and construction permits being the biggest early roadblocks. According to 3drific, construction 3D printing is going to be used extensively by governments, NGOs (Non-government organizations), and private corporations, in the years ahead.
Green & Innovative Materials
Repurposing recyclables for construction began as early as the 1960s. Now, green construction is a desirable and lucrative investment for construction firms. There are myriad materials construction teams can repurpose. These materials have started as mixtures with traditional materials. Asphalt or concrete mixtures can even achieve greater efficiency when combined with reusables. Solar and wind are making their way into mainstream construction as well
Wearables & Mobility
Connectivity is the greatest efficiency driver in the market today. Mobile and cloud-based systems can connect workers to projects in real-time. That means a seamless connection between back offices and workers in the field. It means real-time inputs of critical project data for analysis and response.
Wearables are improving the ways workers interact on the job. This technology can ensure the moving parts of a job are in place and accounted for.
Augmented reality is transforming how workers interact with their tasks. It allows workers to analyze problems. They can use it to help with task analysis, building, and repair. There are dozens of applications for augmented reality. Firms are developing these tools for field service and other verticals. Identifying the right solution starts with your business goals.
3D printing is an excellent way for visualizing new projects and, as we discussed, building itself. Virtual reality has become a part of the preconstruction process itself. It’s a low-stakes way to visualize an entire project and make critical changes.
Virtual reality tools help prevent problems or disasters before construction begins. It’s a good way to increase efficiencies before all the more significant investments. It also opens doors to greater creativity during design phases.
Despite the media, robots aren’t replacing construction workers any time soon. They are making workers’ lives a lot safer and better. Construction firms with the budget can apply robotics to any task that can be automated. Apply your human capital to more important things, like problem-solving. Everyone has a shortage of that, after all.
Cloud-Based Collaboration Tools
The biggest drag on construction firms today is paper-based reporting. The latest platforms for reporting are digital, mobile, and they streamline processes. That means all necessary data arrives at the right locations every time. Cloud-based tools can incorporate a wide range of processes. This includes methods for data capture, planning & rollout, and enterprise deployment. With digital, there is no limit to the communication channels you can incorporate.
While cloud computing has made headway in construction slower than other industries, research shows that it is an innovation enabler for other emerging construction technologies, such as building information modeling, the internet of things, virtual reality, augmented reality and big data analytics.
Risk management is another important quality of construction firms. That’s because poor risk management leads to an inevitable crisis. One or two crises, and your firm is in trouble. Exploring how to use data for predictive analytics is an essential way to mitigate risk. For example, by analyzing the productivity of key resources such as labor and equipment, big data solutions can inform the project team of potential delays, possible fatigue, and overall project time and cost overruns.
Analytics tools can identify the most problematic areas. It’s an example of how a high-tech investment can save companies from losses and disasters.
Business Intelligence (BI) describes the knowledge gained by data, governance, processes, and reporting. Used by many in the business world, it is taking on new meaning in construction.
Construction projects are huge physical undertakings. But before that, they’re monumental ideas. And mastering information is the first step towards better safety and success.