The construction industry has long suffered from the stigma that it’s slow to implement technology to improve practices and processes. And while we understand that stigmas typically develop from at least some basis in fact, the construction industry is now fully embracing technology and it has changed the landscape of our work for the better.
In recent years, high-speed communications and the use of smartphones has allowed us to solve problems much faster. Using facetime or texting pictures from the field, we can get answers in minutes, rather than days or weeks. Our ability to share information so quickly and efficiently allows us to build faster, less expensively, and with fewer mistakes.
So, the question now is, what’s next? What’s in store for the future of construction now that technology is a fundamental component for success and what are the new applications we’ll start to see?
- Virtual construction technology and off-site modular construction techniques to prefabricate materials have taken the expense and risk of on-site construction off the table. Virtual construction technology allows a team to find and fix problems in the design stage, using specialised algorithms to catch any mistakes – eliminating human error. Used concurrently with off-site modular materials, the team on site is able to bring in fixed-in-place sections that will fit perfectly every time.
- Construction methods and equipment – such as lean construction scheduling techniques and total station surveying equipment (using GPS technology) – have improved the efficiency of on-site build teams, allowing for a quicker and more cost-effective implementation of the clients’ vision.
- The role of robotics in construction is very wide in scope; drones can fly overhead to provide anything from a bird’s-eye view of a site’s progress to monitoring logistics on a particularly tricky build and even to guiding automated vehicles to deliver materials.
- 3D printing is poised to revolutionise how we approach construction. 3D concrete printers are already being tested to create specialised components, producing pieces with a level of quality and efficiency not seen before in the industry.
The construction industry may have been slow to adapt technology in the past, but now that we fully embrace it, the sky is the limit for our future success.