Every day the use and application of technology further influences various businesses and the construction industry is no exception. In fact, as a result of this last year, the construction world is experiencing a boom in the use of construction specific-technology known as “contech.” This sudden construction technology adoption occurred with unprecedented speed: a post from the webpage Construct Connect states that this shift happened “in one year [in] what normally would have occurred in a three-year span.” With such a huge change, it’s important for construction companies and general contractor services to have as much insight as possible about up and coming technology trends, ranging from collaborative software to mobile solutions, drone inspections, and more.
Why The Sudden Adoption of Contech?
Pre-pandemic, the use of technology in construction was already in place, but with COVID-19, technology trends and application in construction became more crucial than ever. While mandates and regulations curtail in-person interactions, the need for completing projects in real time does not disappear. New technology trends ensure that all aspects of a project from initial planning phases to build to closeout are completed, timely. As anyone who works in construction knows, collaboration and communication are key, from all parties involved. Construction technology streamlines discussion and teamwork, permitting work to occur despite limited in-person engagement. And in addition to permitting streams of ideas and information regarding a build, contech allows the speedy distribution of visual media, from blueprints to photos of a jobsite, at all stages of construction. As there is always a need in the construction industry to find the best methods in delivering consistent and quality results, you’ll want to take a look at these upcoming technology trends, below.
Digital twin technology creates a digital “twin” or model of a building that is either completed or in progress. These digital replicas provide predictive analytics to help identify and catch problems before they occur, while further streamlining project scheduling.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is by far the most used contech. The program allows users to create digital 3D models of projects while also letting users view changes in real time, from anywhere in the world (especially key with the increase in remote work situatons in the last year). What’s also great about BIM is that users can incorporate other data into the 3D models such as pricing, building specifications, performance scoring, and more.
Construction companies have been using drones from a marketing approach to capture images and film of completed projects. These are great for creating a digital portfolio. But drones can also be utilized during all phases of a build, from surveying a potential site, to monitoring build progress, and inspecting structures for safety concerns. If you’ve been thinking of drones from a visual aesthetic, i.e., bird’s eye view images and film, rethink this technology as a “third eye” that can catch potential hazards, while monitoring workers and their progress.
The use of artificial intelligence, or AI, in construction may sound like something from a science fiction film, but some companies are already using such technology. AI contech encompasses an array of different solutions. AI works with sensors on equipment and workers, studies and tracks movements, identifies hazards and increases work efficiencies, processes huge amounts of data, and guides actual robots performing tasks such as brick laying. It is too soon to know how AI will affect the construction industry in the long term. One potential question that arises is, could AI firmly establish itself in the construction world by addressing the labor shortage within the industry? Time will tell.
Theft on construction sites is an all too real issue. Camera technology serves as theft protection by providing surveillance, and capturing illegal activities in real time. Plus, such technology monitors daily operations and documents the build process: perfect for adding to or creating a portfolio to show potential clients.
As the demand for green and energy efficient structures increases, offsite construction technology offers one possible answer. Prefabricated and modular structures are constructed off site then brought to a work site for assembly. Prefab technology also often consists of using recycled, environmentally friendly materials, while integrating energy saving technologies such as solar panels and pre-installed triple paned windows and doors. The results are highly efficient structures that can save occupants plenty on energy costs. Another plus to prefab construction is that it is extremely time efficient. By having all components built off site, within a controlled environment, delays can be avoided and the project completed much sooner than traditional on-site construction.