The appeal of new construction technology lies in its promise and capacity to allow companies to build faster and smarter. That is, be more efficient and competitive. The latest inventions often go beyond that to be more environmentally friendly, house people in innovative ways, pave roads with advanced materials, and operate with greater wisdom. Furthermore, new construction technology is driving efficiencies in connectivity, analytics, and big data.
The evolution of construction technology is often ascribed to new heavy equipment. But alongside those developments are breakthroughs in connected technologies. The tools extend from the field to the home office, even to the boardroom.
Driving efficiencies and better-quality outcomes aren’t only about competition. It’s about improving an industry that fuels the economy by all measures. According to Dodge Data & Analytics, research indicates that construction will start to bounce back from a 9% decline in 2020 brought on by pandemic influences. Specifically, Dodge suggests: “U.S. total construction starts are forecast to be up 4% in 2021, moving from $778 billion to $810 billion, before climbing another 8% in 2022 to $877 billion and surpassing even the 10-year high point of $856 billion in 2019.”
The most recent breakthroughs in hardware components are inspiring. Now, better collaboration, discovery, and analytics tools are driving the industry.
The context of innovation
As needs change, manufacturers have created remarkable tools to get the job done. This has been a growth area for construction since the inclusion of digital tools. It’s in software that construction has seen the most significant steps forward.
Countless resources go into major construction projects, generating large volumes of data. Finding ways to leverage that data and improve efficiency, analysis, and accountability are paramount to financial success.
New technologies streamline construction project management processes and reduce waste. This includes resource scheduling, tracking performance, equipment maintenance, and collaboration between teams.
Best of all, these tools are lowering barriers to productivity. Smaller construction firms can adopt cloud-based project management technologies. These can reduce project costs and durations by double-digit percentages.
10 construction technologies impacting the industry
Recent digital breakthroughs run alongside new hardware solutions with equal ingenuity. The following 10 recent breakthroughs include both areas of development. Discover how they can transform and prepare your operation for the future.
Prefabrication is nothing new, but technology is making its benefits easier to access. Mobile technologies provide visibility into the manufacturing process for anyone involved. Stakeholders can view related details about the project from beginning to end.
Innovators are also improving prefabrication processes and results. Modular construction is growing in popularity in both North America and Europe. The technique allows five laborers to install hundreds of hospital bathrooms in days.
2. 3D Printing
An engineer invented 3D printing, which soon wooed architects and designers. It was a means to create models they could discard and reprint while perfecting a design. But 3D printing has a new home in construction, where it is carrying out full-sized projects.
In 2017, 3D printing helped in the construction of two bridges. This was a significant milestone in the evolution of the tool.
Now, construction 3D printing is being touted by many as the future of home building. Yet, practically speaking, there are limited offerings of 3D printed houses for sale, with government regulations and construction permits being the biggest early roadblocks. According to 3drific, construction 3D printing is going to be used extensively by governments, NGOs (Non-government organizations), and private corporations, in the years ahead.
The opportunities are endless. This applies to impoverished regions of the globe, where traditional housing is costly. Construction firms with mobile, cloud-based systems could transform the scope of the industry.
3. Green & Innovative Materials
Repurposing recyclables for construction began as early as the 1960s. Now, green construction is a desirable and lucrative investment for construction firms. There are myriad materials construction teams can repurpose.
These materials have started as mixtures with traditional materials. Asphalt or concrete mixtures can even achieve greater efficiency when combined with reusables. Solar and wind are making their way into mainstream construction as well.
4. Wearables & Mobility
That means a seamless connection between back offices and workers in the field. It means real-time inputs of critical project data for analysis and response.
Wearables are improving the ways workers interact on the job. This technology can ensure the moving parts of a job are in place and accounted for.
5. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is transforming how workers interact with their tasks. It allows workers to analyze problems. They can use it to help with task analysis, building, and repair.
There are dozens of applications for augmented reality. Firms are developing these tools for field service and other verticals. Identifying the right solution starts with your business goals.
6. Virtual Reality
3D printing is an excellent way for visualizing new projects and, as we discussed, building itself. Virtual reality has become a part of the preconstruction process itself. It’s a low-stakes way to visualize an entire project and make critical changes.
Virtual reality tools help prevent problems or disasters before construction begins. It’s a good way to increase efficiencies before all the more significant investments. It also opens doors to greater creativity during design phases.
Despite the media, robots aren’t replacing construction workers any time soon. They are making workers’ lives a lot safer and better.
Construction firms with the budget can apply robotics to any task that can be automated. Apply your human capital to more important things, like problem-solving. Everyone has a shortage of that, after all.
8. Cloud-Based Collaboration Tools
The biggest drag on construction firms today is paper-based reporting. The latest platforms for reporting are digital, mobile, and they streamline processes. That means all necessary data arrives at the right locations every time.
Cloud-based tools can incorporate a wide range of processes. This includes methods for data capture, planning & rollout, and enterprise deployment. With digital, there is no limit to the communication channels you can incorporate.
While cloud computing has made headway in construction slower than other industries, research shows that it is an innovation enabler for other emerging construction technologies, such as building information modeling, the internet of things, virtual reality, augmented reality and big data analytics.
9. Predictive Analytics
Risk management is another important quality of construction firms. That’s because poor risk management leads to an inevitable crisis. One or two crises, and your firm is in trouble. Exploring how to use data for predictive analytics is an essential way to mitigate risk.
For example, by analyzing the productivity of key resources such as labor and equipment, big data solutions can inform the project team of potential delays, possible fatigue, and overall project time and cost overruns.
Analytics tools can identify the most problematic areas. It’s an example of how a high-tech investment can save companies from losses and disasters.
10. Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence (BI) describes the knowledge gained by data, governance, processes, and reporting. Used by many in the business world, it is taking on new meaning in construction.
Construction projects are huge physical undertakings. But before that, they’re monumental ideas. And mastering information is the first step towards better safety and success.
New construction technology is evolving. Your work is only as good as your team. Rhumbix empowers your workers at all stages of your project.
Our field intelligence platform delivers on all your data and reporting needs. Contact us now to request a demo.