The Role Of Technology In The Construction Industry

Updated October 6, 2023

Technology has been an integral part in our lives, you could say that we can’t really do our day-to-day activities without it. Technology’s impact is so vast that it influenced how we communicate and how we learn new things. When it comes to the construction industry today, it’s so beneficial to accept these technological advances and use it for better rewards. Below you will find out that if and when technology is utilized effectively, it can result in increased productivity and profit using several building automation systems.

Construction Management Software

Time to go Mobile

Considered to be one of the most utilized types of technology, mobile devices and apps have affected the way the construction industry does its job. The industry needs more apps for construction management to help managers and engineers access, document, share, and edit important project information easily and faster than ever. It can be done on the field of the construction site also, helping them manage every aspect of a construction project; from scheduling, field reporting, managing your back office, preconstruction, and project management. Every day, there’s new and improved software and their software providers are forming strategic partnerships. This allows people in the industry to effortlessly integrate their data with your other software solutions, causing it to be easier than ever to run their business. These cloud-based solutions enable employees to submit timecards, work records, requests for information (RFIs), expense reports, and other verified documentation. This can save time tremendously every year in data entry and organizing important files automatically. Say goodbye to the days of diving into paper files looking for older reports.

GPS Tracking

GPS tracking has been an important aspect for any company or firm in the construction industry. The GPS hardware is installed in each vehicle and is linked with the home base or headquarters via satellite. This enables managers to see the whereabouts of all their vehicles in real time. Also, if there’s any problem or a vehicle not operating properly, managers can find it and track it quickly, and solve the issue accordingly in a less time-consuming manner. Another benefit is how fleet tracking software and systems can provide instant data about field conditions as well as equipment conditions. Thus, resulting in pooling all that information into a central hub or dashboard easily. The future of GPS tracking will most likely involve greater connections and links to other systems. The possibilities are limitless and would greatly improve productivity.

Drones everywhere!

An extremely useful and helpful type of technology that every construction site or firm have been using is utilizing drones. They are officially called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), these little babies can have built-in cameras and they can be used to move certain things from one place to another. Also, they have been used for several years to collect information in locations that are hard for humans to access, saving time and effort in the process. The images captured can support site inspections and assessment, and it can also enhance a construction team’s understanding of progress and built-in conditions. Another great thing about drones is that the drone footage can be taken and converted to 3D pictures that can be compared to architectural plans, a lot of firms and companies would greatly benefit from that. It’s also predicted that improvements for these drones would mainly focus on advanced cameras and lenses that can capture better images and footage, as well as enhance the communication in real time between the drone and the software on the receiving end. These flying marvels can also be used for monitoring the day-to-day activities and tasks on the construction site, leading to more productivity if something out of the ordinary was spotted and handled accordingly. Every construction company or firm needs these high quality drones to be effective and efficient enough in today’s modern age.

3D Printing

3D printing has been one of the most used form of technology in any industry. The construction industry uses it to its fullest advantage, as it can be used to make prototypes or models. This would greatly help managers and engineers in their designing and building process by using materials such as concrete, plastics and others to create building components or even entire buildings. It’s documented that the world’s first 3D printed office was recently constructed in Dubai and it’s a real marvel to behold. Even though 3D printers can sometimes be very expensive, it is worth every penny spent on it because of all the rewards that will be piling up. The use of 3D printers could even lead to reduced costs and less than traditional construction techniques and processes. Companies will see a dramatic increase in their profit margins as a result of that because it would give them a chance to work in markets that previously proved inaccessible to them in the past before 3D printing. And best of all, it would improve the company’s brand as a whole because 3D printing reduces waste. So in the people’s and investor’s eyes, the company would be trusted because it watches out for the environment with the reduction of waste from its construction processes. It’s good for business.

Laser technology

If you want efficiency in your construction site, laser scanning offers that and more with field measurements and accessing sites. Laser scanners capture very detailed geometric information in the form of a large set of points on a coordinate system. They are extremely accurate and show the true conditions of anything in the construction site. In the past, this type of technology was considered to be an expensive luxury and a time-consuming method to import point data into a building file. But times have changed dramatically, this task has become much faster and more accurate. It is even predicted that there will be more improved scanners and more picture perfect software interfacing that will eventually make the process totally automatic. Moreover, the laser scanners can be very useful when analyzing potential clashes between existing conditions and new building elements. The method would lead to a major decrease in expenditure costs and saves time dramatically. It’s also likely that there will be future developments in this technology to make it have faster data incorporation and more reorganization of the process of designing and building.

Machines and Robotics

The future of machines and robotics can get overwhelming because it’s hard to believe that most of the day-to-day activities that were done in the past can be done with ease and quickness through machines. Robots are being utilized for demolition, immensely heavy lifting, placing bricks, excavating, and many other tasks. Inventors and creators are working constantly on improving the agility and scalability of these robots and machines to help increase productivity in the process and save time. Just imagine having a machine do all the work for you with a faster and better way. This does not mean that it will eliminate manpower entirely; these robots at the end of the day are still machines that need guidance and constant supervision to make sure there are no system glitches or bugs in the middle of the construction process. They are there to aid and not replace, but will lead to enhancing the worker’s performance and making them more productive.

Useful gadgets and Wearables

The construction industry has many uses for wearable gadgets and tools. These wearables can be smart glasses and hardhats that can provide visualized, amplified, or mixed reality. These visualization tools can provide tremendous improvements in efficiency, accuracy, and most importantly safety. The safety of employees and workers is paramount, so having them use other wearables to ensure that is best for business. Many things like technology-enhanced safety vests, smart watches and health trackers. These devices are outfitted with biometrics and environmental sensors, GPS and location trackers, Wi-Fi, voltage detectors, and other sensors. These devices would allow the site or safety supervisors to establish restricted or hazardous areas, thus alerting workers with a combination of pre-installed alarms and lights that an area is off limits to humans and only limited to robots or machines. There’s also smart clothing with technological enhanced textiles that can monitor vital human signs like skin temperature, heart rate, and respiration rate that will also be super useful and beneficial to the construction site. These wearables will be able to monitor an employee’s posture, track movements, determines if they are suffering from fatigue, and also find out if they are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. These technological advancements can help keep a watchful eye on workers, leading you to predict an accident before it even happens! The utilization of these wearables and gadgets is important so you can monitor the motions and movements of any employee to increase productivity, reduce risks, and also enhance the well-being and safety of your managers and workers.

The capabilities of BIM

Short for Building Information Modeling, this wildly implemented type of technology really has a lot of benefits. It pretty much replaces the need to make blueprints before any construction process, making it one of the greatest advancements in the construction industry. It gives you a better digital representation of buildings in 3D models to facilitate better collaboration among everyone on a construction project. This can lead to better designs and construction of buildings and also it can be connected to devices in the field of the job site. This type of technology can bring together all the necessary information about the project in one place. This process removes the problem of contractors and clients working alone in their office, ensuring that all parties are able to effectively collaborate and work together smoothly. Construction companies and firms are starting to come around on adopting BIM methods instead of the old blueprints way. They are researching and implementing BIM in their plans and day-to-day activities, thus causing increased productivity, better collaboration, and projects completing on time and under budget. Which is basically one of the important things in any company, having higher profit margins and doing it in half the time needed. So many researchers have estimated that BIM will slowly but surely transition into the 5D modeling world with features like time management, costing and quantity organizing. BIM is the future that every construction company should have.

Virtual Reality is here

Every construction company or firm has those “what if” moments, the cost of trying something and failing is the ultimate nightmare for everyone. But what if there was a way where you can have trial and errors without any physical setbacks and delays? VR is one of the best ways to test things out before it even begins. And also, it is wildly used for training managers and workers before they are in the field. With VR technology, workers could have opportunities to get exposed to environments like confined spaces or working from high heights in a safe and controlled environment. If any problem should occur, it won’t be much of a setback because it would be a learning experience in the VR world and not the real one. These VR simulators have been used for years to train pilots, soldiers, and surgeons, so it can definitely be used in the same way to train workers on everything from doing welding and masonry work to operate cranes and excavators. The possibilities of advancements in the VR world are tremendous because the creators and developers can control every aspect of it. Anything is possible in the construction site while using VR technology, it would greatly make the real and final building better than ever before.

Adapt or get left behind

Do you know what a whistle, a nail gun, and a cement mixer truck have in common? They were all considered pieces of “new technology” that didn’t exist hundreds of years ago. And look how technology has evolved in our modern age, how it influences the construction industry in a positive and lucrative way. It is very essential for all business owners in the construction field to equip their employees with these innovative and life changing devices and gadgets, and to also use the newest breakthroughs in technology to help build and design better and faster. Are we going to be a dinosaur and stick to the old ways? Or are we going to get with the program and adapt to change? This is the question that everyone in the construction world should ask themselves. Evolve, innovate, and build your way to better rewards and profits.

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