Are you a professional associated with the construction industry? Do you want to increase your productivity? Well, “Technology” is the key! Technology can improve your productivity by 30% to 45% in the construction industry, and enhance material predictability and reliability.
According to the Construction Industry Institute, construction technology refers to the collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, etc., used during the construction phase of a project that enables advancement in field construction methods, including semi-automated and automated construction equipment.
Technology all around us is evolving at a fast pace. This is no different within the construction industry, as construction technology continues to advance and drive the industry towards efficiency. This blog focuses on the necessary technological advancements that help the construction sector to achieve high levels of safety standards along with productivity and the challenges in implementing them.
7 Technologies Shaping the Construction Industry:
- Construction Software and Applications: Various software and mobile applications are being used in the construction industry to improve worker productivity. With cloud-based software, documents, schedules, and other managerial activities can be changed and updated in real-time. In addition, data is collected and transmitted in real-time between various job sites and project managers in the back office.
- 3D-Printing: 3D printing is a method for manufacturing construction elements or entire buildings with the help of a 3D printer printing concrete, polymer, metal, or other materials, layer-by-layer. 3D printing has several advantages like faster construction, lower labor costs, less wastage of material, printing complex designs, and saving costs on storage and transportation as printing can be made on site.
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Virtual Reality (VR) is an intense experience wherein a virtual world substitutes the real one. Using virtual reality technology to train workers on safety and equipment operation in a safe, controlled environment significantly impacts safety standards. VR can also help on-site equipment operators seamlessly run simulations that could be too dangerous to replicate, such as natural disasters or major equipment malfunction.
Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced experience of the physical world achieved by adding more information using visual, sound, or other sensory elements. AR technology may be utilized in project presentations, progress tracking, increased cooperation, improved safety, and construction training.
- Wearables: Wearable technology involves adding biometrics and environmental sensors to apparel, gloves, safety vests, and work boots, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) and location trackers, Wi-Fi, and voltage detectors. It also includes intelligent clothes that can detect movement and monitor vital indications such as breathing rate, skin temperature, heart rate, and working posture. Wearable technology aims to make workplaces safer by anticipating accidents before they happen.
- Drones and Robots: Drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with high-resolution cameras that conduct site inspections faster and more precisely than a ground team. Drones are used to obtain visual measures of work progress and examine regions that are difficult to observe, such as large structures or bridges. In the construction business, robots are used to assist and supplement worker performance by doing repeated jobs quicker, making them viable for places where duties are repetitive and bulk activity is required.
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software: Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a holistic process of creating and managing information for a built asset. BIM integrates structured, multi-disciplinary data to produce a digital representation of an asset’s life cycle, from planning and design to construction and operations. Thus, BIM helps in the digital representation of buildings in three-dimensional models. As everyone contributes their component to the same model, the BIM model allows for increased collaboration and expertise. It is an efficient model since any changes made to the BIM model are communicated to other project team members in real-time.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the replication of human intellect in machines that have been programmed to think and act like humans. Machine Learning (ML) is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that focuses on developing systems that learn from the data they consume and improve their performance. Both Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools have the potential to transform the construction industry. These programs examine job site images for risks and safety breaches, discover inefficiencies, and suggest more efficient timeframes. They can also enhance architectural design features by experimenting with hundreds of different options.
Challenges in Adopting Technological Advancements:
In the construction industry, workers are hesitant to embrace technology. According to a study by Dodge Data & Analytics, over 60% of contractors named accepting technology as one of their main impediments. This obstacle, however, might be handled with good training, accurate change management with process analysis, prioritizing problems according to their consequences, and top management support.
When material and labor costs increase, investing in technology may be a risky proposition. Once adopted, technology adoption would need a financial commitment in terms of procurement, implementation, and training. Furthermore, there are areas where internet connectivity is limited, making technology adoption difficult. As the construction industry’s use of technology grows, so does the risk of severe cyber attacks. Ransomware attacks and data breaches, which might target proprietary data such as project designs, bid information, materials pricing, employee data, and financial records, have raised concerns. To deal with such problems, a solid cybersecurity plan must be put in place.
Every industry has been influenced by technology, and construction is no exception. Technology has played an essential role in maintaining high efficiency and safety standards. However, finding workers capable of operating these technologies in the construction industry is difficult. iQuasar LLC, a Civil Engineering support services and staffing organization, has a team of professionals with experience in construction staffing, assisting your company in finding resources, being skillful in operating on different technologies and enabling organizations to reap the fruits of technological advancement.