The Effects of Construction Technology and the Impact on the Industry

Technology is continuously changing in every sector, software is constantly evolving and the importance it has on people’s lives is growing by the year. The construction sector is no different, but the implementation of technology in the construction industry has been slow compared to other industries. This is not from a lack of want, simply that the requirements of construction demands are so high so it has taken a while for technology to catch up with these demands.

Below, we take a look at the top 6 technology trends of 2020 that have finally been perfected for use in this sector.

 

1. Big Data

Today’s biggest resource is data and with 2.5 quintillion bytes created each day, there certainly is a lot of it out there.

But with so much data, how are we to make comprehension of all of this? Big data describes the process of taking large amounts of data and discovering hidden trends, patterns, correlations and behaviour within it and is essential to construction.

From this, actionable plans can be created. While a human brain can process this information, it can be incredibly time-consuming, not to mention monotonous. Big data can make these processes in a fraction of the time a human brain could and with far fewer errors.

From this, the construction sector can generate patterns with risks to help prevent these throughout projects. It can also pinpoint trends in weather, traffic and community activity to determine the best time to phase in different elements of construction.

Tracking of energy conservation within finished projects can determine if goals have been met and what changes should be made for future construction.

 

2. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

AI is a machine that is able to mimic human behaviour, while ML follows this but also has the ability to learn from past experiences without having to be manually programmed. Both are essential to the progress of the construction sector.

Robotics are not able to replace humans to perform tasks on the construction site. Not only does this reduce cost, but it also alleviates tedious relative tasks on the workforce and can produce more accurate results.

Bricklaying, welding and pouring concrete are popular examples of AI used within construction.

ML can aid with the design process, when clashes and errors occur, machine learning can use previous experience to create solutions for the creative team. It will take into account all elements, including plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems.

Most importantly, AI increases safety on the worksite. Ai can monitor hazards through recognition technology, incorrect PPE can be flagged to site managers and geo-location can notify workers if they are approaching a hazard.

 

3. The Internet of Things (Iot)

Most of us have this technology in our home. IoT is when smart devices, such as watches, speakers, televisions and phones all share the same sensors and are controlled from a central platform.

In construction, this constitutes safer and more efficient ways of working. AI previously mentioned needs to be controlled and monitored somehow. For example, sensors on cement mixers can alter employees when supplies are low and need to be manually refilled.

These sensors can also track footfall on the site and can check workers and visitors in and out, means reduced paperwork and higher accuracy/

Carbon footprint is being reduced within the sector, small changes such as sensors automatically turning off unused machinery is making a difference across the board.

 

4. Robotics & Drones

No longer just for hobbyists, robotics and drones are making their way into many industries.

Drones can be used to fly over sites to identify hazards and provide a quick and easy overview of the area. They are also being used to deliver supplies, reducing both waiting times and carbon footprint by lessening delivery vehicles on our roads.

Masonry and bricklaying are now commonly performed by robotics that works at a speed and accuracy many humans are unable to replicate. Robots that specialise in demolition are increasing safety throughout and reducing costing of the process.

However, there isn’t always upsides of these, demolition robots are notoriously slower than their human counterparts.

 

5. 5G and Wi-Fi 6

Every sector relies on an internet connection, even if these seem void for internal communication, it is essential for communicating with clients and suppliers.

Large sets of data require a strong connection to be relayed fully and quickly, without this, projects can be delayed and errors can be made.

Most new technologies also rely on an internet connection in order to function. However, installing fixed lines is not only costly, but the installation can also cause delays with the rest of the process, not to mention costly.

Materials are wasted, especially if the site is only intended for a short period of time, with fixed lines and can be counterproductive getting installed.

5G and wi-fi 6 have made huge improvements from their predecessors and can be just as fast, if not faster, than fixed lines. This eradicates the need to install a connection while providing the speed required.

 

6. 3D Printing

3D printers are becoming common in both households and professional settings but are now a staple in modern construction sites.

These can be used to either prefabricate supplies offsite or directly on-site. These reduce wait time but also cost. Specific measurements or requirements are no longer needed to be ordered from specialists with a long turn-around period.

Not only are these the benefits, but the environment is also benefiting from 3D printers. They create very little waste and the energy used if often much less than that of a factory setting.

As these materials are being produced on-site and only exact numbers are being created, the carbon footprint is reduced from lack of delivery vehicles and packaging for delivery is no longer required.

Technology is constantly adapting for demand and within the last decade, the face of it has changed dramatically. Who knows where we will be in 2030!

With the pandemic having taken hold across the world but construction sites remaining open throughout, this technology has proved valuable in the workplace.

More specifically, sensor technology can track and alert workers when social distancing is not being discussed and ensure everyone is staying safe.

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