Advancements in technology have affected almost all industries in the last few years and construction is no exception. The use of emerging technological solutions is a crucial part of success for construction businesses today.
We live in a world where we use data analysis for finding valuable insights, cloud computing to collaborate, and artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve operations. So, how is survival possible in the construction industry without the smart use of these technologies?
But, despite the fact that how essential technology is, the construction industry has always struggled to get effective tech on site. This is one of the reasons why the construction sector lacks when it comes to productivity and making full use of its demand all across the globe.
Also, the benefits of technology in construction go far beyond ensuring security and managing operations seamlessly. With the use of technologies like AI and ML, the construction industry can thrive in almost all segments and boost productivity.
The Impact of Technology on the Construction Industr
The construction industry can reap huge benefits by embracing cutting-edge technologies in its business processes. In the past, technological advancements have helped construction businesses with improved efficiencies, better quality of projects, and reduced cost.
Ability to Make Informed Decisions
The ability and data to make the right decisions can improve efficiency as well profits in the construction industry. With technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), several construction firms are now using collected data to anticipate what might happen in the future to act accordingly.
Moreover, firms using these technologies also get a competitive edge when bidding or estimating the cost of construction projects which helps them move ahead with strategic decisions. For example, AI can help predict realistic timelines, cost overruns, and provide everyone access to the required data and training material faster to decrease onboarding times.
Construction firms can also utilize historical big data to analyze and find possibilities of any risks involved in a particular project to stay away from pitfalls forever. Big data from traffic, weather, and business activities can be studied to find out the suitable phasing of construction activities. Businesses can also use the same data as an input for building information modeling systems to schedule project maintenance as needed.
Better Quality of Projects and Reduced Cost
As per a report by Mckinsey, the venture-capital investment growth in construction technology startups has far outpaced the investment in ventures that don’t use any technology for construction projects.
The reason is simple. Emerging technology in the construction industry has accelerated the demand for world-class quality without any cost overruns. Technologies like tunnel formwork, BIM (building information modeling), aluminum formwork, prefabricated buildings, along with others, can help in significant cost saving without cutting corners on quality.
Today, developers can build a digital representation of buildings in 3D models using IBM to help all stakeholders collaborate and give their opinions ahead of time. In addition, with the help of prefabricated technologies, construction project managers can ensure site safety, improved air quality, waste reduction, and proper quality management.
The construction industry has struggled with productivity since the 1990s. As a result, monetary returns for construction businesses are usually low and volatile. The only thing that can help construction firms improve productivity and profit margins is technology. For example, AI can help workers improve efficiency by reducing the amount of time wasted moving around the building site to retrieve materials, tools, and equipment for performing specific tasks.
With augmented reality, laborers could get exposure to conditions like bound spaces or work at height in a protected environment. VR simulators can be used to train construction workers for everything from doing welding to operating excavators, and cranes. By using emerging technologies like IoT, mobile applications, and BIM, construction firms can streamline project management, thereby increasing productivity.
Smart machinery can also be used to automatically perform repetitive tasks. For example, a cement mixer that runs low on cement can order itself some with the help of sensors, boosting productivity and efficiency by reducing manual work.
Access to Real-Time Information
With the help of mobile and software solutions, you can manage every task of a construction project seamlessly. For example, using mobile technology, you can add, collect, and share data in real-time from the job site to project managers in the back office.
With the help of cloud-based construction project management software, it is easy to submit expense reports, time cards, work records, FRIs (request for information), and other important documents easily and instantly without any delays. This can save many hours per year that go into data entry by automatically organizing critical files and providing easy access to important information.
By incorporating solutions that sync in real-time, permitting all stakeholders to change drawings, add notes, and react to RFIs quickly and share that data between everybody engaged with the task simultaneously, can help increase productivity by multiple folds.
In addition to the fact that technology improves productivity and helps construction firms deliver excellent quality projects, it can also positively impact the safety and health of workers. Using technological devices, for example, light-up hard caps and responsive clothing, construction firms can avoid many risks and ensure the safety of their workers.
With the use of artificial intelligence, construction sites can be analyzed for safety risks. Firms can use recognition tech to find whether their employees are wearing the right PPE or not. Drones can also be used to inspect site safety. They can screen construction sites and with the use of cameras can find out any potential risks and give the project manager an alert or quick view of the site without being present there physically.
Thus, organizations across the spectrum should put forth efforts to improve their skills and embrace digitalization if they plan to stay competitive in the construction world.
3 Reasons Why Technology is the Need of the Hour for Construction Businesses
As mentioned above, technology is affecting the construction industry like never before and for all good reasons. Thus, embracing technology is no longer an option but a necessity for construction firms that want to stay competitive in the near future. Here are the reasons why:
Increased Client Expectations
The construction space is changing rapidly and clients are well aware of the same. As a result, they now have increased expectations for creatively customized products for their homes and office spaces. As these demands increase, you can expect construction to be more explicit, modularized, and advanced when it comes to quality and security.
Also, to fulfill these increased expectations, you need to provide your clients with regular updates on how things are working on their projects and keep them in the loop with every decision you make. For example, if they do not understand the technicalities or reasons behind why you didn’t prefer a structural design, simplify it and make them understand.
The Need for Creativity and Productivity
If you are in the construction business, you must know that this industry is restricted to changes. That is one of the reasons why many construction businesses fail within the first five years after their inception.
To thrive in the construction space, you need to brush your creativity and productivity which is only possible with the help of emerging digital tools and technologies. If you are still dependent on manual paperwork and processes, it is time to adapt changes to improve your profit margins and revenue.
Competitive Startup Environment
Induced by tech trends, the construction space is at present booming with market opportunities. As a result, several tech-savvy startups are emerging in the space to make the most of this situation. Oliver Wyman has found around 1200 emerging startups worldwide since 2010 in the construction and real estate space. These startups raised around $19.4 Billion in funding, half of the same in 2017 alone.
After a slow year due to the pandemic, the 2021 outlook for the construction industry is seemingly positive. An upswing in the industry is expected in the years to come as the US economy recovers from a deadly pandemic and new economic centers continue to grow and scale. As your business strives for greater productivity and safety, try to fulfill the demand by using technology to its best.
Author Bio: Ed Williams is the Senior Team Lead at ProjectPro, an integrated construction accounting software. He holds a massive industry experience and is a Microsoft Dynamics expert who is focused on successful implementations. He is a visionary leader and always aim to deliver the best to the construction and project-oriented industries.