Next-generation technology has given rise to more and easier access to popular media, such as movies, video games, television, music, and the internet. Furthermore, nearly all industries today have taken advantage of the latest innovations to complement their field, including the construction industry.
An average consumer may not realize it, but a typical construction project uses several highly advanced hardware and technology that were not around 10 or 15 years ago. With all these said, here are some ways that digital technology has helped shape the construction industry.
Software & Mobile Apps
Nowadays, it is hard to imagine doing most of our work without the assistance of digital technology. The same thing is true with the construction industry. In managing every aspect of a construction project, software and mobile solutions are relied upon Ã¢” from preconstruction to actual project management and from field reporting to managing the back office.
Instead of spending most of the day traveling from one remote site to another and emailing documents from a desktop computer to someone on the field, contractors and job managers can easily monitor several project sites from their office. Now, workers are more productive than ever since they can allocate their extra time to other office tasks.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) also makes it possible for all stakeholders to collaborate more efficiently on a project. This would further result in creating much better design and better building construction. Any changes or updates are communicated instantly to every team member.
Even purchasing and replacement of construction parts and equipment has become easier. Today, you can easily buy parts and equipment, like aftermarket CAT parts, online and have them delivered ASAP.
Like an auto manufacturing plant, offsite construction helps reduce wastage and increase workers’ productivity in projects involving repetitive floorplans, such as hotels, apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals. In these projects, workers will have to use the same tools and materials to produce the same outcome consistently.
Whether modular or prefabricated, construction companies can now easily meet tight deadlines while maintaining quality standards and reduce the number of on-site works. All that workers have to do now is build the components offsite, then transport and assemble them to the construction site.
This also significantly reduces the costs of building constructions while reducing the likelihood of site accidents and injuries.
Data is important even for construction companies. With information at hand, these firms can make better decisions, improve site safety, boost productivity, and reduce risks. Through artificial intelligence (AI), construction firms can use this pile-load of data to forecast outcomes on projects and gain leverage for estimates and bids.
With AI, monitoring job-sites progress in realtime has become possible. With enough data collected, it becomes easier for firms to analyze the workflow in the site, paving a way to come up with better solutions to rearrange the placement of tools and equipment to minimize downtime.
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Safety and equipment operations training are areas in the construction industry that benefits a lot when it comes to virtual reality (VR). This technology has been around for many years, and pilots, soldiers, and surgeons have used it to train in their field. Similarly, the construction industry has been using it to train workers from crane operation to excavation and masonry.
Another technology that the construction industry greatly benefited from is augmented reality (AR). Whether using it for training on actual heavy equipment with augmented hazards or developing a more detailed safety plan, AR helps construction companies be more efficient and confident in their projects.
The construction industry has been growing strong in the past few years. Nonetheless, it is pretty much evident that there is a shortage in the number of skilled laborers. But despite this, digital technology made it possible for younger workers to make up for the lack of experience and skills that their older peers have.
For one, several construction firms utilize drones in job sites for various reasons. Drones are deployed every day to do quick job-site inspections and determine potential hazards. This technology is also used to handle more dangerous jobs, including building inspections.
Secondly, robotics has been utilized in some aspects of constructions like bricklaying and rebar tying. These involve repetitive and mundane tasks, which robots can perform without taking a break. This significantly helps reduce overhead expenses.
However, these two advances do not entirely mean humans are eliminated in the process. Humans are still needed to perform some works, including operating these technologies. Rather than replacing humans in the construction workplace, these innovations help make the performance more efficient and productive.
Despite all these advances, some established construction firms are still reluctant to adapt to these emerging trends in the industry. But given how almost everything is fast-paced and high-tech nowadays, it is not too far from the horizon that everyone in the industry will eventually catch up.