What are the similarities between a pickup truck, a nail gun, a portable circular saw, a cement mixer truck, and a contemporary hydraulic excavator? The apparent explanation is that they’re all typical tools and equipment on today’s building sites. Another acceptable response is that these are all examples of construction technology that were not available 100 years ago.
Consider what a building site would be like today if it didn’t have construction technology. We’d have to cut boards and drill holes by hand if we didn’t have power equipment. Laborers would have to excavate areas and dig trenches using shovels and pickaxes if heavy equipment wasn’t available. Buildings would only be a few stories tall if they didn’t have elevators.
The argument is that new building technology has always propelled the industry ahead, therefore it’s strange that so many businesses are sluggish to accept new construction technologies. We can construct structures that are stronger, higher, and more energy-efficient. Construction sites are now safer and workers are more productive thanks to technological advancements. We’ve been able to boost productivity, enhance teamwork, and take on more challenging tasks as a result of it.
What is Construction Technology?
Construction technology, according to the Construction Industry Institute, is “a collection of advance techniques, machinery, modifications, software, and other technologies used during the construction phase of a project to enable advancement in field construction methods, including semi-automated and automated construction equipment.”
Preconstruction technologies, such as online bid boards, bid management software, and digital takeoff systems, may take it a step further. New building technologies are being created at a dizzying speed nowadays. Connected equipment and tools, telematics, mobile apps, autonomous heavy equipment, drones, robots, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D printed buildings, which looked futuristic 10, 20 years ago, are nowhere and being deployed and used on job sites all over the world.
Here are a few examples of how technology is influencing and enhancing the construction industry:
For decades, construction productivity has remained unchanged. Construction is disconnected and compartmentalized in the typical design-bid-build cycle. Every construction site is distinct, with its own set of dangers and problems. This makes streamlining operations and increasing efficiency challenging, as it has done in areas like manufacturing and retail.
But now there are software and mobile solutions available to assist in the management of all aspects of a building project. There’s software out there to assist you to optimize your procedures and increase efficiency, from preconstruction through scheduling, project management, and field reporting to managing your back office.
Real-time data gathering and transmission between the Jobsite and project managers in the back office is possible due to mobile technologies. This may save hundreds of hours each year in data input and organize essential information automatically—no more rummaging through folders looking for outdated reports.
More software companies are developing strategic relationships to allow you to effortlessly link your data with your other software solutions, making running your business easier than ever.
Offsite construction is commonly employed in the design of residential complexes, hotels, hospitals, dorms, jails, and schools, all of which have repeating designs or layouts. Offsite work is carried out in a controlled atmosphere, comparable to that of an auto manufacturing factory. Workers have all of the equipment and supplies they need at each station to complete their task, whether it’s creating a wall frame or installing electrical wiring. This style of building in an assembly plant lowers waste and allows workers to be more productive.
Modular and prefabricated buildings are the two most common types of offsite construction. Entire rooms may be created with MEP, finishes, and fixtures already installed using modular construction. They can be as tiny as bathrooms, or they can be assembled on-site to form bigger facilities such as housing units. The modular components are delivered to the job site, where they are placed and fastened to the structural frame.
Building components are manufactured and brought to the construction site, where they are assembled or installed. Framing, internal and exterior wall panels, door, and window assemblies, floor systems, and multi-trade racks, which are panels with all the ducting, wiring, and plumbing bundled together, are all examples of prefabricated building components.
Autonomous Heavy Equipment:
On job sites, autonomous heavy equipment is now being utilized to undertake mining, grading, and site work, employing technology similar to that used in self-driving automobiles. This technology allows operators to be fully detached from the machine, allowing businesses to do the same amount of work with fewer employees.
These devices travel the building site and conduct site work based on 3D representations of the landscape to correctly dig and grade the site using sensors, drones, and GPS. Adopting technology such as drones, robots, and autonomous or self-controlled equipment has two advantages. First, during the next decade, employees will join the workforce who have spent their whole lives using tablets and smartphones, making using these technologies second nature to them. Second, regardless of the area in which they work, younger people will expect to use technology to do their tasks.
Safety & Training:
As the construction industry continues to incorporate new technologies, one area that is receiving a lot of focus is enhancing safety. Every construction business should prioritize worker safety, and technological advancements are making it simpler to properly educate and monitor employees to minimize accidents and lower the likelihood of major injuries and worker deaths.
AI & Machine Learning:
Data is increasingly being used by construction companies to make better decisions, boost productivity, improve workplace safety, and lower risks. Firms may use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems to forecast future project outcomes and gain a competitive edge when forecasting and competing on construction projects, using the mountains of data they’ve accumulated over the years.
AI may boost worker productivity by lowering the time spent scouring the building site for tools, materials, and equipment needed to complete specific jobs. Smartphones are used to track workers throughout the day. Deep-learning algorithms are then utilized to detect and flag faults in the job that has been completed. Excavation and site work, as well as mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, are examples of this. Even if just a fraction of a building component is visible, AI can recognize it based on its shape, size, and placement.
These systems can inform you how much work was done each day by categorizing and measuring amounts installed, which they can then compare to your construction plan and notify you if your project is behind schedule. Additionally, the AI analyses differences between installed components and onsite work with models, allowing you to rapidly discover mistakes and save costly rework.
Wrapped up Conclusion: Technology in Construction:
Construction companies are beginning to embrace technology. Companies that develop and use construction technology gain the benefits of enhanced productivity, improved teamwork, and on-time and under-budget project completion, resulting in larger profit margins.
It may be a bitter pill to take, but we’ve reached a stage where companies who don’t invest in new technologies and solutions are losing ground to those that proactively adapt and execute technological solutions. Construction companies that refuse to innovate are doomed to fail.