How Technology Is Increasing Productivity in the Construction Industry
The construction industry is one of the slowest growing industries in the world. In fact, although other sectors like manufacturing have seen a growth of 3.6%, the construction industry has seen a 1% growth over the last twenty years.
However, with the use of technology on the job site, the construction sector will inevitably experience its own boom in productivity.
About 65% of contractors already use tablets on the job site, and 93% of contractors use smartphones.
These statistics prove that technology is already prevalent on the job site, so it's just a matter of finding a platform that works for construction teams to move the productivity needle.
Once the entire industry takes advantage of workflow technology, there is no doubt that productivity will increase in the industrial construction industry.
In the article below, we will take a look at how technology is increasing the productivity of the construction industry.
Table of Contents
- Mobile Devices and Apps
- 3D Printers and Robotic Constructors
- Flexibility and Mobility
- Real-Time Data
- The Construction Industry Is Set For A Boom in Productivity
Technologies Set To Increase Productivity
Here's a look at a few of the technologies changing the industry now, and paving the way for a more connected future.
Mobile Devices and Apps
Since 93% of contractors use smartphones, the most widely adopted of all new technologies are mobile devices.
Mobile devices have easy-to-use apps that allow workers to access, document, share, and edit important project information even while on the job site.
There are even heavy-duty devices explicitly made for fieldwork.
These smartphones feature rugged construction, screens that are better lit for viewing in bright daylight or poor weather conditions, and industry-specific components such as barcode scanners and radio-frequency identification readers.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are equipped with cameras and have been used for several years to collect information in locations that are hard for humans to access.
The images captured by the drones can support site assessment and inspections, as well as augment a project team's understanding of progress and as-built conditions.
Drones can also monitor logistics, deliveries, and the workforce. You can even take drone footage and convert it into 3-D pictures that can be compared to architectural plans.
Expect improvements here to focus on advanced cameras and lenses that can capture better images, as well as enhanced communication in real time between drones and software on the receiving end.
3-D printers and robotic constructors
Extruded concrete, including concrete composites, plastics, and other materials are being used to create building components and even entire buildings.
The world's first 3-D-printed office was recently constructed in Dubai. Robotic arms have been used in conjunction with 3-D printers to print a variety of forms.
Robots also are being used for demolition, to place bricks, and excavate as well as other tasks. Inventors are working on improving the agility and scalability of these activities.
The construction industry has tremendous potential for wearable devices, such as smart glasses and hardhats that can provide visualization, augmented, and mixed reality.
These visualization tools can provide improvements in accuracy, efficiency, and, most importantly, safety.
Other wearables, such as technology-enhanced safety vests, smartwatches, and health trackers, are being utilized to monitor worker's movements to enhance safety, increase productivity, and reduce risk.
How These Technologies Will Streamline The Construction Industry
Flexibility and Mobility
Having technology on a construction site is a valuable asset, similar to any of the other equipment used.
Technology is a mobile and flexible tool that will cater to the needs of the workers. Another common and extremely flexible tool is the mobile time card.
The construction industry will benefit from flexible timekeeping solutions over traditional paper methods.
Construction companies now can offer time-tracking at the foreman level, a centralized kiosk mode, and individual punch in and punch out mode.
Keeping your whole team on the same page with efficient communication is essential to completing a project successfully.
When you eliminate the long hours between when a problem occurs on the job site and when it is remedied by the back office, projects can move at a much faster pace.
Having applications that allow workers to take pictures, annotate notes with each photo, and send them to the back office for review is extremely beneficial.
Utilizing a solution that allows documents to be changed and submitted in real-time eliminates delays, and decreases rework.
Communication on the construction site will no longer be constrained by the distance between the field and the back office.
Real-Time Data Collection
Real-time data can make or break a project.
Because of their access to real-time data provided by technology, project managers and superintendents can make changes when something happens on a job site.
They will also know when something on the job site goes wrong the minute it goes wrong.
It can also prevent cost overruns and many change orders when all of the appropriate people are notified of a situation.
The Construction Industry Is Set For A Boom In Productivity
As technology becomes more pervasive on the job sites, the construction industry will see an increase in productivity as well a truncated construction schedule.
With the use of technology, communication will increase between the field and the office. Real-time data will allow plans, permits and other documents to get submitted and approved faster.
To partner with a company like STEVENS, that is on the forefront of technology in the construction industry, click on the button below and see how we can help you.
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