The continuous advancement of science and technology has allowed various fields to reap more cost-efficient benefits that would enable workers to work faster and safer than before. The construction industry is no different as technological advancements ceaselessly shape up the future of the said industry.
The use of modern technology for workforce management and data analytics are some of the investments made in construction technology. The number of such investments increased by 30% last year costing about $1.05 billion. Many companies are continuously exploring the possibility of using more technologies in their worksites to boost both safety and productivity. The characterization of the industry being traditional is beginning to change.
Examples of technologies invested upon by construction companies include augmented reality, construction software and data ecosystem, drone-based supervision and inspection, bricklaying robots, artificial intelligence in workforce management, global positioning system, zero-emission equipment, wearable technology, prefabricated and modular buildings, and building information modeling or BIM. Such advancements allow those involved in a project to work faster and safer without sacrificing efficiency.
Such technological advancements will change the industry this 2019 as more and more are being developed and tested on various sites.
The application of augmented reality technology displays essential information about the building through the use of a lens to overlay the data. Looking at a portion of the structure allows workers to see unbalanced structures and safety risks, letting them address the problems before they can jeopardize the project. Built-in sensors make overlaying technical information of a structure possible allowing workers to efficiently work on the design, construction, maintenance, and renovation of a building with accurate data.
Construction software and data ecosystem allow worksites to gain real-time information and data regarding the current number of materials, hazards, and other data related to the operations like students can check result online . The software can function as the digital backbone of the project, resulting in greater efficiency than with manual information gathering methods. Once gathered, relaying real-time information is easier than sending a worker on-foot to a particular area on the worksite.
Drones became famous thanks to their aerial photography capabilities that allowed them to capture otherwise impossible shots and footages. There are portions in a worksite that aren’t readily accessible to workers and inspectors and where visibility is limited, but drones can provide needed information without having to check each floor of a structure on foot. A drone programmed to sweep an entire worksite can finish a survey in a matter of hours while one conducted on foot can take a few days or weeks to complete.
Many fancied robots to make jobs faster and easier; factories even resorted to using them on various production lines. The construction industry may start seeing robots like the bricklaying robots in multiple worksites thanks to their effectivity in laying bricks at a short period of time. One was able to construct a home in only three days which were also approved by civil and structural engineers noting that they passed the local building codes. Commercializing this technology is undoubtedly possible for construction companies investing in cost-effective building equipment that can significantly reduce the time needed to accomplish a project. Bricklaying is a repetitive and time-consuming task that, when assigned to robots, would eat up considerably lesser time than when performed by humans without sacrificing the precision required of the job.
Artificial intelligence in workforce management aids in both the data gathering and analysis processes since the result of various connected devices feeding information to a database is difficult to analyze for a human operator. An AI can compile data and take a proactive approach to potential risks and uncertainties associated with the industry allowing companies to reduce costs while improving the safety of the workers in the site.
Tracking various construction equipment and machinery is already complicated and is even more so when the worksite is more massive than usual. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking solutions are currently used creatively and resourcefully to accumulate accurate data quickly. Using GPS to track heavy machinery and equipment is possible and would reduce the hassle of having to search a large area to locate them. Tracing lost or stolen equipment is also possible thanks to GPS.
Many construction companies are transitioning to using zero-emission equipment to prevent causing hazardous waste that can harm the environment. The industry is often associated with noise and pollution, but zero-emission equipment would allow for cleaner construction sites. Many people are concerned about the emissions produced by various vehicles and machinery and making construction sites cleaner than initially perceived.
Personal Protective Equipment is a necessity for an individual in a construction site to ensure personal safety. Wearable technology is an upgrade from basic safety gear as workers would be able to monitor the current status of both the project and the people working them. In the event of an accident, managers and supervisors can track wounded workers. Such tech lets workers talk to their supervisors using only the gadgets that they wear, eliminating the need to look down when being given instructions. Wearable technology also allows workers to detect possible disruptions in their operations, resulting in better productivity.
Prefabricated buildings and modular construction allow companies to save time and money. The components of a structure or the box-like structure itself are manufactured in a factory away from the site and assembled on-site when finished, significantly reducing waste by recycling any excess materials in the factory where the structures were built. Thanks to the factory, there are no more concerns about the weather affecting the construction of the buildings.
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One more trend in the construction industry is the BIM or Building Information Modeling. The BIM is a process of generating and managing digital representations of projects before being built. Architects and engineers use the computer models to show how the materials will hold up during the duration of a project while managers use BIM to create maintenance schedules using the models as a basis. Using the BIM will result in more accurate building processes.
These ten technologies are gaining popularity and are foreseen to change the construction industry this 2019. An infographic by Progressive Safety Equipment provides information regarding these technologies.