The construction industry is one of the most resistant to change. Part of that change is the introduction of new and advanced technologies. Even though technologies are designed to make our life easy, there are some people that still refuse to use them. This can happen in every industry, but it’s a more common occurrence that can be observed in construction.
However, that doesn’t mean many companies are not already racing to introduce new developments to their construction practices. After all, new technologies bring more benefits than disadvantages in the long run. In the commercial construction industry, the introduction of new technological development means to optimize the safety of the workers, the speed of the work which means fewer costs, and efficiency in processes and materials. Indeed, in many ways, the best jobs in construction are becoming a lot like the best jobs in tech.
One example of this is the anti-collision software that is reducing the risks in construction sites. Another is the 3D printing technology that allows construction companies to build a house in 24 hours. This also includes a project management software that optimizes planning and resources—to name a few of the technologies that are changing the industry.
An employee’s safety is always the main concern in any industry, but especially in construction. A construction site is almost always filled with hazards involving heavy-duty machinery, working practices, and building materials. These are some technologies that improve the worker’s safety either by decreasing the number of workers in the construction site or providing better protection.
- Robotics: Currently, there exist robots designed to do construction jobs such as laying bricks and roads, and demolishing buildings. This will automate some of the more dangerous tasks.
- Anti-Collision Software: Tower cranes are a common machine found in construction sites. They are also a huge safety hazard that could cause a lot of damage if not used correctly. Anti-collision software keeps track of every machine that is moving in the construction site to avoid collisions.
- Building Information Modelling (BIM): It is a software that allows engineers and architects to put all the information on a project in one place. This software helps to centralize the information and management of the project. Some of these platforms include Revit, Archicad, and Allplan which work together with the anti-collision software to improve safety
In the construction industry, all projects work under a timeline. Most of the time, a delay in construction will incur big losses. Every extra day the project is not finished could cost a company thousands to millions of dollars, depending on how big the project is. Because of this, any technology that helps the company to meet the deadline is highly welcomed.
- 3D Printing: This technology allows the creation of a 3D object from a CAD file on a computer. The 3D printers have gained a lot of ground in the last few years but are a recent application in the construction industry. The most common materials for 3D printing are thermoplastics namely ABS and PLA. However, there are also 3D printers that use concrete to build houses and buildings. The main benefit is the reduction of materials waste and increased speed.
- Modular and Prefabricated Construction: This was a popular trend in the last century but now is coming back to light. This consists of pre-fabricating as many components of a building as possible off-site and the pieces will then be assembled on-site. This optimizes time, lessens material waste, and lowers the costs.
- Project Management Software: This software allows managers to keep all the administrative work on point. This includes managing deadlines, sharing files with other teams, budgeting, monitoring inventory, and much more. Project management software will help to keep things organized, which in turn will help avoid any delays due to unforeseeable issues.
- Exoskeletons: This is a fairly new technology that has started to enter this industry. An exoskeleton will allow workers to carry more weight and do tasks faster. However, this could be overshadowed by robotics and 3D printers soon. This may be the year where this technology either takes the market or fizzles out.
Efficiency is another big thing in the construction industry. Project managers and engineers always strive for the utmost efficiency when managing any project. Construction companies always want to achieve the best results with the lowest costs and in the shortest time. It can also be observed that sustainability and green technology have been a growing trend over the past few years, thanks to their efficiency.
- Sustainability and Green Construction: With climate change being a reality now, the restrictions for construction companies are only growing. They are pushed to have green and sustainable processes. One of these technological developments includes better materials that keep the building more insulated while reducing the carbon footprint. Other practices also include the use of recycling materials to reduce costs and improve sustainability.
- Transparent Solar Panels: Solar panels are a green power source with many benefits. Many buildings already have solar panels installed as a secondary power source. However, one of the downsides of this technology is that a panel needs to have a large surface in order to generate a moderate amount of power. Thankfully, construction can now take advantage of the window square footage to generate power as transparent solar panels can be installed in windows. Not only will they not obstruct any views, but they will also still do the job of a normal solar panel without taking extra space. However, this technology is new and we can only wait and see how well it performs.
- Drones: Drones have been around for a while now and they can be used in various types of situations. In the construction industry, they are mainly used for surveying construction sites. They can give real-time information on the progress of a project, potential safety hazards, and other issues that may not be visible from other angles. There have also been some developments which see drones taking on other tasks such as cleaning windows and buildings. In the future, we can possibly see drones as a substitute for jobs that take place above the ground. In return, companies can save a lot of money on training for these specialized positions.