To an outsider, the construction industry may look a bit stale. Sure, the equipment is getting regular updates and we will see a couple of innovations here and there but generally speaking the basic construction techniques haven’t changed for decades now, right?
Well, it only takes a closer look to see just how wrong these assumptions are.
Much like any other human activity, the construction sector has been swept by the digital tide and pushed in the direction where we not only see the onslaught of new tools and construction methods but the very core of the construction process undergoes profound changes.
Let us take a look then at a couple of the tech trends that are currently shaping the construction sector and try to predict where these innovations will eventually lead.
3D printing finally picking up steam
We need to move this thing off the table first. The idea of 3D printing is, at this point, pretty old so citing it as some of the hot new trends doesn't seem entirely fair. But, these days, it finally seems that the tech has matured enough to fulfill its potential. At the moment, Palari Group is working on its first ever zero net energy 3D printed settlement in Coachella Valley. We can imagine even bigger projects taking place somewhere in the near future. The prospects of 3D printing can also have the biggest implications on the very nature of the construction process out all mentions we are going to cover here so keep an eye on it.
BIM keeps adding new dimensions
If you are not familiar with the term, BIM or Business Information Modeling represents the process of creating virtual representations of buildings under construction capable of displaying different aspects, dimensions, and stages of the project. At this stage, BIM models are capable of leveraging the costs of the project, sustainability of the finished product, and even safety and facility management. This whole plethora of different aspects and considerations packed into the same package also makes BIM models very powerful collaborative platforms bringing together different parties involved in the construction.
An unprecedented level of automation
The construction projects consist of dozens upon dozens of different activities that, when performed manually, considerably dragged down their speed and efficiency. These days, digital tech made most of these tasks much more streamlined. Even if we are talking about hands-on duties like equipment maintenance, you now have construction equipment maintenance software to help you out. What’s even better is that most of these tools can be partially or completely automated and even integrated into an automated, AI-run workflow. These things give the construction sector an incredible level of efficiency.
Robots, drones, and exoskeletons
Only a couple of years ago, these words could be found only in sci-fi movies. But, as we mentioned earlier, the tech is developing at a relentless pace and these technologies have become affordable and refined enough to become a fairly common thing at modern construction sites. All these tools do a great job at augmenting the human workforce, relieving the heavy worksite labor, and reducing the reliance on bigger, more expensive, and unsustainable tools. Since these tools also feature a great level of autonomy they allow workers to focus on higher-value tasks that require a greater level of skill and experience.
IoT overhauling the construction sites
The IoT tech has already completely turned around the services like on-demand taxi transportation. Now, a similar thing occurs in the construction sector as well. The modern construction sites are stacked with sensors and IoT-powered tools that can easily feed the workers with valuable environmental info, safety warnings, and work guidelines through various AR devices and wearables. The tools we have covered in the previous section, on the other hand, can substitute human labor in a range of activities which means the bulk of construction work can be performed remotely. This complexly changes the core of the industry.
AI becoming a main driving force
If you take a closer look at all the things we covered so far, you will see that all these breakthroughs, at least in some capacity, are being run by AI. Those five mentions are nowhere near the complete list of the cases where the construction industry becomes reliant on Artificial Intelligence and with the constant development of Machine Learning and higher-level analytics, that list will keep on expanding already including the mentions like financial planning, project design, safety assessments, etc. This development turns AI from one of the main contributors into the most essential pillar of the entire construction sector.
So, there you have it – the top six tech trends that are currently overhauling the construction sector and that will keep paving the way for further innovations in years to come. As we can see, AI and automation will keep playing an increasingly important role in the industry which means the human input will gradually become more limited to oversight, maintenance, and project handling. That doesn't have to be a bad thing since AI is traditionally better equipped of handling manual tasks. Human ingenuity can be saved for some more creative and responsible task.
Featured image: Machine vector created by pch.vector - www.freepik.com