Technology advancements and integration in construction is catching up like all the other industries in the world. It’s inevitable that technology will play a greater part in construction as time moves forward. Whether it involves efficiency, optimization, worker safety, or better returns, construction tech is here to stay.
Types of Construction Technology
Construction tech can be broadly divided into two categories. The first is tech that models the buildings and approves the construction process. The second category deals with monitoring and working on the actual construction site and ensuring the safety of the workers.
The first category includes programs that can build accurate models. These have become so good over the years that they can find all types of faults within the construction designs. They can test weak points within the model to ensure its structural integrity.
Other examples include virtual assistants that can maximize workflow efficiency. In essence, these assistants will help construction managers get mundane tasks out of the way. This will especially help construction startups that are understaffed and overworked.
The second category includes site monitoring technology like drones and GPS trackers that alleviate safety problems. Technology that monitors the site can tackle onsite problems as and when they occur. It can alert workers to dangerous areas and prepare a protocol to fix certain problems. This site monitoring tech can come in handy when designing modern safety protocols for more complex building designs.
The second category can also include more capable machinery that handle less cognitively taxing tasks. Forklifts, pavers, and excavators can be automated to handle more tasks without manual control. This will save more time and allow for greater efficiency.
What Are Some Examples of Construction Technology?
Here are just a few ways that construction technology is reinventing the industry today.
While mobile apps and solutions have barely scratched the surface of operations tech today, this is rapidly changing. Mobile technology will allow real-time data collection and transmission, and it will also allow for cloud-based monitoring of projects. Innovations in mobile technology will allow construction firms to go global and construction managers to take on more taxing projects.
Mobile technology can save hundreds of man-hours wasted on data entry and retrieval. Better software will help in gathering data that will prove invaluable to firms.
AI & Machine Learning
These days, data is considered to be as crucial as a non-renewable resource such as oil. It’s data that is driving the most powerful and most valuable countries in the world today. The same can be said for construction, especially moving forward.
Large volumes of data can be gathered from construction sites using site sensors, GPS tracking, drone monitoring, and other tools. Not only that, various construction scenarios can be run through computers to realize the best outcome.
AI can also improve the productivity by removing a lot of the time wasted on site retrieving tools and equipment. It can track workers throughout the duration of projects and suggest more efficient protocols.
Deep-learning algorithms are already being employed to identify and report errors during work. These can range from issues with excavation and site work to mechanical failures with equipment. Suggestions to alleviate or eliminate these hiccups can include a more regular equipment maintenance cycle and optimized protocols.
Construction projects are notorious for going over their budgets and timelines. However, through the amount of data gathered during the construction projects, we can hope to eliminate delays and improve productivity.
3D Printing is not just a revolution in construction, but in various other fields around the world. The main advantage of 3D printing in construction is reduced supply costs. According to a China-based 3D printing company called WinSun, construction companies will save 50% on total costs. The largest cost savings will be on small houses since they are much easier to build through 3D printers.
At present, 3D printing is being used to construct affordable housing projects in the US, China, Australia, and the UK. With the rising problem of homelessness and the refugee crisis, 3D printing can be seen as a godsend.
These include everything from GPS trackers for construction workers to high-definition cameras on drones. Autonomous equipment and smart sensors can help extract information from a construction site to improve operations in the future. They can also ensure the safety of the workers in different scenarios where proper protocols aren’t followed. They can also identify if a construction site has become unsafe due to unforeseen events like freak weather or an impending natural disaster, etc.
Site sensors can monitor a number of variables, including temperature, noise levels, pollution, dust particulates, and volatile organic compounds. With enough input, these sensors can help construction firms analyze the total danger that any construction site can pose to their workers. This way, they can prescribe better protective equipment as well as better safety protocols.
Over time, these precautions afforded to the workers will prevent damages to their vital organs. It will also prevent the likelihood of companies being sued for malpractice in the event of a worker’s death. While this may seem to be a callous way to look at things, it’s only practical. Preventing a worker’s exposure to harmful chemicals alleviates risk considerably for both the employee and the construction company.
Autonomous Heavy Equipment
This equipment uses similar technology to self-driving cars. However, it will be modified taking into account the construction site. This tech is probably the most under-developed of all the ones listed here. It will require years of programming and hardware design to nail the operation protocols. Not only will heavy equipment have to be trained to recognize different types of obstacles, but to regulate force as well.
However, the benefits for construction companies will by manifold. Efficiency and optimization aside, the number of casualties during construction projects will plummet. It will also be much more environmentally sound to construction buildings than before due to the increased efficiency.
Not only will construction companies save millions throughout the year, but will also double or even triple their productivity.
Construction will continue to integrate technology into the industry and it will be all the better for it.