HOW IS TECHNOLOGY CHANGING CONSTRUCTION WORK?
The construction industry is growing.
The global construction industry is expected to reach $10 trillion in 2020.
As the demand continues to grow here in the United States and abroad, construction companies will have to do whatever they can to keep up.
Luckily, there are easy ways for companies to keep up.
Think of a cement truck, a staple gun, an electric jackhammer, and a modern excavator.
What do they all have in common?
The easy answer is that they are all pieces of construction equipment that can be found on construction job sites.
But if you think a little more, you will realize that they are all tools that weren't around a few generations ago.
Can you imagine what today's job sites would look like without these tools and other forms of construction technology?
We wouldn't have the majority of today's new construction if we were still building everything by hand.
Technology is changing the construction industry, but it always has.
Advancements in new construction technology have always driven the construction industry forward, so companies today should be welcoming new technology with open arms.
With new technologies, we'll build more robust, taller, and more energy-efficient structures.
Technology will continue to make construction sites safer and work more efficiently. If you wonder how can you reduce construction delays, better technology is one of the ways to help with this. It will increase productivity, tackle complex projects, and improve collaboration.
In the article below, we will detail the technologies that are changing the construction industry.
Table of Contents
- Software and Mobile Apps
- GPS Tracking
- Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
- Building Information Modeling (BIM)
- Making The Job Site Safer
- Final Thoughts
Software & Mobile Apps
Today, there are countless software programs and mobile apps that can help manage every aspect of a construction project.
Whether it's scheduling or pre-construction, project management, and field reporting, or managing your back office, there's a software program or an app that can help you streamline the process and improve productivity.
Many software programs are cloud-based, so you can change and update documents and schedules in real-time, allowing for better communication and collaboration.
Mobile apps also allow for real-time data transmission and collection between people on the job site and project managers in the back office.
Cloud-based solutions allow team members to submit time cards, expense reports and request information on the job site.
This can automatically organize critical files and save construction companies hundreds of hours every year in data entry.
No one has to shuffle through hundreds of papers looking for old reports.
Many software providers are forming meaningful partnerships to allow you to connect your data with other software providers seamlessly, so it's easier than ever to run your construction business.
If your company manages an equipment fleet, GPS tracking is absolutely essential.
You can install GPS hardware in your vehicles that will communicate with your home base using satellites.
This will enable your company to see where your vehicles are in real-time.
GPS tracking will eventually involve greater interconnectedness with other systems.
Fleet tracking programs and telematics systems will provide you with instant data about field and equipment conditions.
They will feed that data into a central dashboard to improve operations.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are equipped with cameras and have been used for years to collect information in difficult or dangerous locations for humans to access.
Images captured by drones can support site assessment and inspections.
Drones can also be used to monitor logistics, the workforce, and deliveries.
Some construction companies are even taking their drone footage and converting it to 3D images that can be compared to architectural plans.
Drones will continue to improve, and those improvements will be focused on advanced cameras and lenses that will capture better images.
Communication will also be enhanced, in real-time, between drones and the software that powers them.
Sensors may also be used for monitoring.
There is one not so high tech issue critical in the use of drones: the rules, regulations, and controls must balance the needs of the industry with the needs of the public.
Advanced analytics will help contractors analyze their costs, timelines, and other parts of their project with little risk of failure.
This data can be instrumental when used to improve productivity and efficiency.
Having a plan of execution will provide insights into potential problems, allowing contractors to adjust on the go to avoid those issues.
Analytics will also be used to increase the number of projects your company can take on as well.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Construction companies are now using data to make better decisions, increase their productivity, improve safety on the job site, and reduce overall risk.
When AI and machine learning systems are in place, companies will be able to turn the piles of data they've collected on past projects to predict future outcomes and gain a competitive advantage when placing bids on construction projects.
AI will also improve your workforce's productivity by reducing the amount of time wasted moving around the job site retrieving tools, materials, and equipment to complete their job.
Team members will be tracked during their shifts using smartphones or wearable technology.
Equipment and materials can have sensors installed to track how everything moves about the job site.
Once enough data is collected, AI will analyze how workers move around and interact with the job site to develop solutions to reorganize tools and materials.
This will make everything more accessible to workers through the course of the day and reduce downtime.
AI is also being used to monitor construction sites' progress with actionable data in real-time to improve productivity.
Autonomous drones and rovers equipped with high-definition cameras can photograph and scan the construction site every day with tremendous accuracy.
The AI will use the scans to compare against your BIM models, 3D drawings, estimates, and construction schedule to inspect the quality of the work being performed and determine how much is being accomplished each day.
Deep learning algorithms can then be used to identify errors in work performed and report them.
This can range from excavation and site work to plumbing or mechanical systems.
AI will recognize a building component based on its shape, size, and location, even if only a small portion is visible.
These systems can tell you how much work is done each day and compare that against your construction schedule and send you alerts if your project is falling behind.
AI will also detect variations between installed components and onsite work with models to allow you to identify errors and avoid costly rework quickly.
There is a tremendous amount of potential in the construction industry for wearable technology.
Glasses and smart hardhats can provide visualization, augmented, and mixed reality.
These visualization tools will improve accuracy, efficiency, and safety.
Other wearables, like smart safety vests, smartwatches, and health trackers, are being utilized to monitor worker's motions and movements to enhance safety, increase productivity, and reduce risks.
Robots currently excel at doing simple, repetitive tasks.
That's why bricklaying and rebar tying robots are becoming commonplace.
Once they're installed, these robots will work continuously to complete tasks faster and more accurately than humans can without the need for breaks or a good night's sleep.
A robot will never be fatigued from lifting bricks or applying mortar. They won't get too hot or need a water break while bending over to tie rebar.
Humans are still necessary to perform some of the work and set up the robots and get them started.
A bricklaying robot needs a mason to oversee the work and ensure that the bricks are being correctly placed, and clean up the mortar after the bricks have been set.
A rebar tying robot needs a human to correctly space and pace the rebar before it is set in motion.
Instead of outright replacing workers, construction robots help workers and enable them to be more productive.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Since it first began being implemented, BIM has improved work on construction sites drastically.
It allows digital representations of buildings in 3D form instead of on traditional blueprints.
This technology alone has shaped and will continue to shape the future of the construction industry.
BIM uses historical data and predictions to improve projects and plan entire processes in the most efficient way possible.
3D models are better at depicting the reality of a project in a way that has never been done before.
All the model changes can be done in real-time, and employees responsible for the project can access it and communicate with each other and discuss progress.
Many construction companies combine virtual reality and augmented reality with BIM to achieve even greater results and efficiency.
Making the Job Site Safer
Improved safety is one of the most essential benefits in the advancement of technology in the construction industry.
Drones and mobile devices will make it easier to keep an eye on the job site from remote locations.
Your employees will be able to report hazards right away, and you will be able to deliver instructions on how to deal with hazards.
Advanced technology will even help your employees stay safe by delivering warnings.
Helmets have always been mandatory safety equipment, but now they are advanced wearable technology.
Special lenses and helmets equipped with augmented reality capabilities will provide early warnings about incoming hazards.
Other wearable tech can track how much time your employees are spending on the job site and be sure they are taking adequate brakes.
Tired workers are more likely to make mistakes that lead to injuries.
Contact Stevens, THE COMPANY ON THE FOREFRONT OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
New construction technology will result in higher profit margins, reduced cost, time efficiency, better collaboration, and increased productivity.
Implementing new technology into your business is no longer a choice; it is a necessity.
To partner with a company like STEVENS, which is at the forefront of technology in the construction industry, click on the button below and see how we can help you.
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