Construction Technology Trends

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Construction Technology Trends

By Krystal Spicer - 08/13/2020

The construction industry is well-known for sticking with more traditional methods, not for a lack of wanting to modernize but due to the nature of the business.

There is no room for error in a business where peoples’ safety is at risk and businesses (and homes) can be gravely impacted if the wrong calculations are made or materials are not properly used.

But the situation is rapidly evolving. Now that many pieces of technology have been tried, tested and perfected, 2020 is the year construction can finally take full advantage of the new technology and equipment.

Here are 10 crucial construction technology trends that are impacting the industry in 2020 — and will continue to do so going forward.

1. Big Data

Big data is nothing new, but only now are we seeing it being implemented into the construction industry. It can be utilized to analyze patterns in traffic, the environment and weather to ascertain when construction should begin, achieving the most efficiency.

2. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Both AI and ML can be used to determine if there are any glitches in the design plan, ensuring that mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems don’t clash.

AI can leverage automation for repetitive tasks, increasing productivity; up to 30% of business time can be saved by AI technology. 

3. The Internet of Things (IOT)

Anyone with a smart device already uses the Internet of Things in daily life. Now IoT is being rolled out to construction sites. Smart applications can check staff members in and out, track footfall, and geolocation technology can flag any hazards before disaster strikes.

4. Robotics & Drones

Robotics can be programmed to perform repetitive work, releasing staff members from arduous tasks and providing more labor-hours for more complex work.

Drones are reducing waiting times for materials to be delivered — instead of waiting days, items can now be on-site within a few hours. Drone cameras can be used to give a quick site view and identify dangerous areas, improving safety.

5. 5G and Wi-Fi 6

Every workplace needs Internet access with a good connection. Installing broadband can be costly, time-consuming and wasteful if workers will only be using it for a short period. 5G and Wi-Fi 6 offers more flexibility and reduced waiting times.

2020 is the year construction can finally take full advantage of new technology and equipment.

6. Building Information Modeling (BIM) Technology

BIM technology allows experts to review a project in real-time, which leads to better collaboration. It allows for clash detection and problem-solving during design — before any physical work starts — which improves planning and increases efficiency.

7. Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR) Technologies

No longer reserved for the gaming industry, AR and VR technologies support fast and precise simulation of architectural or structural changes, automatic measurements and enable digital improvements. 

VR can provide tours and walk-throughs of designs to provide a full perspective of the finished product. AR can be used to create hazard simulations and aid risk assessments without having to be on site.

8. 3D Printing

Both a money and time saver, 3D printing is one of the most revolutionary pieces of technology. When items are needed quickly, having a 3D printer on-site means they can be created immediately.

Custom pieces be generated easily. Also, alterations made to current materials become an easier task.

9. Mobile and Cloud Technologies

Cloud technology enables the possibility to access, modify and manage data stored in remote services. It allows teams from various projects and departments share documents in real-time and to even edit alongside each other, reducing project times.

10. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain technology can remove the worry of payment not being made or the final project not being completed. 

Payment is stored safely until all parties are happy with what has been delivered per the contract, meaning no one is left unsatisfied. 

Krystal Spicer is the digital marketing manager of UK Connect, the U.K.’s leading communications provider to the construction industry.

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Chain Store Age magazine. Click here for the digital edition.