FUTURE OF CONSTRUCTION
According to McKinsey and company, construction industry maintaining a flat line in productivity over the years. Presenting its unique challenges and risks, every construction site different. McKinsey insights 2017 says, construction industry holds a second position from down the order in technology adoption in increasing productivity. This makes it difficult to streamline processes and increase productivity the way industries like manufacturing and retail have been able to do.
Technological advancements have always driven construction forward, so it’s odd that so many companies are slow to adopt new tech. We’re able to build stronger, taller, and more energy efficient structures. Technology has made construction sites safer and workers more efficient. It has allowed us to increase productivity, improve collaboration, and tackle more complex projects.
New technologies in construction are being developed at a fast pace. What seemed like future tech 10, 20 years ago like connected equipment and tools, mobile apps, autonomous heavy equipment, drones, robots, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D printed buildings are here and being deployed and used on job-sites across the world.
Here are the major construction technologies to be seen in coming years:
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality in construction:
Virtual Reality (VR) is one new technology that is changing the construction industry by solving old problems. This technology becomes more integrated in the digital workflow, the possibilities that open up seem limitless. Like 3D modeling, it involves a detailed virtual model of the project. Unlike 3D modeling, it places the user directly inside the virtual environment, so that the user experiences a full immersion into the virtual space.
VR gives teams the ability to “see” a project site without traveling to it. This makes it easy for teams to collaborate in real time, within a shared environment, where they can literally point out details and issues, ask questions, and immediately make decisions about changes.
This improves timelines by facilitating feedback. It also reduces rework, by improving accuracy and the detail level of communications.
Internet Of Things (IOT)
We can see the innovations in this technology creating opportunities in efficiency and productivity. Providing Embedded sensors on a work-site create huge opportunities for collecting and managing data on safety, material performance, and operational workflow, just to name a few. Smart devices and wearable construction technology, as well as sensors and on-site cameras can be tied in to construction management software and give a much clearer picture of building progress and real-time status reporting. Sensors that provide information on site conditions and structural conformance collects the vital information and affect the flow of a project.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning:
As the internet of things continues to pull more and more information, construction firms will need tools to manage all this data. This is where machine Learning is becoming increasingly crucial. Systems that aggregate and organize data from the connected work-site are going to be vital as construction firms become more reliant on real-time information for efficient project management.
AI and Machine learning is going to play a role for collecting and analyzing multiple streams of data from an integrated digital workflow. Properly trained AI can categorize data faster than a human operator, cutting the time needed to get the clearest picture of issues on a job-site.
Along with machine learning, systems that not only feed information to the head office, but can also look ahead and provide insight into safety concerns, scheduling, or budget outlooks are going to see increased development and innovation. Predictive analytics combines techniques like data mining, statistics, modeling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to analyze data and make future predictions. The purpose of predictive analytics is to create a new approach to problem solving through the use of data, predicting patterns in our workflow and highlighting innovative solutions. The predictive systems can anticipate problems as well as opportunities and give project managers insight into critical decisions.
Sending a drone to inspect a jobsite saves time and keeps the technician on the ground instead of climbing scaffolds and navigating the potential hazards of a working site. One example of this, the Skycatch drone, can generate a 3D model of a site that allows automatic calculation of area, volume of earth to be moved, and other information that once required several human hours to accomplish.
Automated rovers will also be providing jobsite status information, monitoring sites autonomously, guided by AI in the home office and feeding data back to the predictive analytics systems. We’re also seeing automated equipment being developed in the form of driverless earth-movers and dump-trucks in mining and road-building applications.
Sources: Autodesk, McKinsey Insights.