How Technology Is Reshaping the Construction Industry

The 10-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago was the world’s first skyscraper. By today’s standards, it was nothing to call home about. Yet, it was a marvel at the time.

That was in 1885. Now – a couple of centuries later – we have buildings 10 to 20 times taller than the “Father of the Skyscraper.” Thanks to modern technologies, we’re enjoying new possibilities in construction.

Technology continues to evolve, however. Many innovations are opening a host of new probabilities. Here are some construction industry trends reshaping the construction industry.

3D Laser Scanners

3D laser scanning is the process of mapping an area with high accuracy. It’s a piece of technology other industries use, such as movies. However, it’s growing in demand in construction, as well.

The scanners use lasers to capture 3D information of everything around them, providing accurate measurements and details. The construction industry uses LiDAR systems to capture terrain elevation data.

Firms use the collected data to draw plans and create BIM or CAD files. The best thing about scanners is they process the information quickly.

Companies can deliver surveys right away, kickstarting the project faster than before. In the past, this process took a long time because importing cloud data was time-consuming. Mistakes are also more common back then.

Laser scanners are essential in every part of the project, though. You can perform scans and obtain the information you need right away.

Drones

Drones aren’t only for travel enthusiasts. Fitted with high-definition cameras and LiDAR, they’re a handy tool for surveying, too. They can scan construction sites and even remote locations.

Inspectors use drones to assess sites and check the project’s progress. With the help of another piece of construction technology, they can also catch errors. The digital representation of the site is accurate enough for assessments.

AR and VR

The construction sector also incorporates augmented reality and virtual reality into its processes. The implementation makes jobs faster, easier, and safer.

AR, for instance, helps in safety training. Workers can use it to train on actual equipment in real locations with augmented hazards.

The industry can also use VR for training in the same way pilots and surgeons use it. Workers can practice operating cranes without the associated danger.

Job site safety aside, AR and VR create a unique experience for construction firm clients, as well. They provide immersion into the building better than 2D and 3D models can.

Machine Learning and AI

Some tasks are better left to the machines, allowing us humans to focus on more meaningful work. Automation also helps move the project along since a hitch on one area causes a delay on the entire project.

Through data collection and machine learning, the system can make predictive analyses. For example, it can predict when you’re running out of a specific material. AI can then order it for you.

From our previous example, artificial intelligence can take the scans from drones and compare them against your BIM models. It can estimate how much progress the builders have made and whether it aligns with the schedule. It can also detect errors and deviations, saving you from expensive reworks later.

Some systems can make suggestions for more efficient operations. For instance, AI can track equipment and workers. When it gathers enough data, it comes up with solutions for easier access to the tools.

Wearables

Did you know carbon monoxide is the leading cause of death among other toxic agents? Thousands to millions of workers suffer from varying levels of exposure, leading to long-lasting health effects.

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. These are the primary reasons it’s more dangerous than the others.

Technology has already solved this issue for construction workers, though. They can wear hard hats fitted with carbon monoxide sensors. When it trips, they can escape to safety right away.

Hard hats with sensors aren’t the only smart wearables in construction. Since the job site is often dangerous, modern technology aims to make it safer for the workers by using devices for detecting danger.

Smart clothing, for instance, can monitor vital signs, such as heart rate and skin temperature. They can even track the employee’s movements. If these devices and other workers detect an anomaly, the response is immediate.

Sensors

Construction sites are full of sensors, as well. These devices can monitor conditions, promote safety, and optimize processes.

Some sensors can detect various elements, including the following:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Noise vibration
  • Pressure
  • Dust
  • Toxic compounds

Such sensors provide real-time data and alerts to workers and managers. By detecting risks, like rising temperature, everyone on the site can take the subsequent steps accordingly.

Some sensors are for the better management of the business. For example, managers can track the materials and monitor equipment health. Thanks to this technology, productivity and efficiency increased.

Robots

They always say robots will take over the world one day, and they might not be wrong, after all. Construction sites are now using automated machines for labor. One example is the self erecting tower cranes, requiring less manual handling.

Conquering the world is still a faraway dream, though. Robots are still only good at doing repetitive tasks. Yet, this ability makes them perfect for work like laying bricks.

Robots can now lift bricks, apply mortar, and set them in place continuously. Unlike humans, they don’t get tired. It makes the process easier and faster, allowing construction to finish earlier than usual.

Fortunately, workers won’t be competing for jobs with a robot. They only assist humans since the latter monitors the work and cleans the mortar.

Stay Updated About the Latest Construction Industry Trends

The construction industry is making leaps in technological advancements. Thanks to the construction industry trends above, projects are getting finished faster, and workers are safer than ever.

A lot of innovations are coming out each year. Keeping up with the latest construction trends is no joke.

If you want to stay updated, check out our other articles.

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