Year after year, the construction sector picks up innovations and technologies that literally lend a cutting edge to the business of building. With clock-like regularity, we see established trends fall by the wayside as new construction trends rear their heads. As 2018 comes to an end and the countdown begins for 2019, here’s a sneak peek at some of the top technological trends that are all set to boost the construction scene.
11. BIM growth to continue
BIM retains its position as one of last year’s frontrunners in the construction technology sweepstakes. A large part of the credit for BIM’s popularity and potential can be attributed to the evolution of a data ecosystem that’s tweaked for collaboration and is open as well.
In general, BIM ushers in greater accuracy to processes and facilitates the seamless sharing of information between various stakeholders. In the times ahead, expect BIM to result in efficient and economic building projects, thanks to innovative measures that spearhead safety and sustainability. Therefore, BIM will tip the scales with its depiction of project progress within an open and collaborative framework.
10. Data ecosystem and construction software
Software that promotes collaboration in real-time, has been around in the construction business, and is poised to make further inroads in the times ahead. The role of data is acknowledged as a major factor in the pace with which construction sector is growing.
In the days ahead, the industry will become increasingly cohesive, thanks to a technical ecosystem that allows seamless exchange of data and information, among the industry frontrunners and innovators. In fact, collaborative cooperation through data exchange may well be the path that the construction business treads in the years ahead.
Combining and integrating work processes and systems on one platform will catalyze industry functioning and the way its people perform. Today, it is commonplace to mount a variety of software targeting different aspects of the business, in one location.
With the help of digital tools, construction sector professionals can effortlessly gather valuable information from different sources and process streams, and in the process, reduce the delays associated with the communication glitches between planning offices and construction sites.
All said and done, the construction sector can be expected to rely extensively on a digital framework that will enhance process speeds and information exchange simultaneously, all in real-time.
9. GPS spinoffs
GPS tracking systems will be innovatively harnessed for the constructions sector’s benefit. For starters, GPS incorporation has drastically improved the quality of site surveys that until now depended upon traditional and manual methods. The speed and accuracy of data collection can be significantly improved with the help of GPS systems. The use of GPS has made fleet management easy and smoother operations ultimately mean lesser cost inputs. Relocating equipment that’s stolen or missing is now easier.
The GPS software that is now at the heart of most technology driven processes, will soon be pressed in to handle a variety of tasks involving the transport of men and materials, monitoring and tracking equipment, remote controlled operation of vehicles and equipment.
In fact, the construction sector is learning from the mining sector, and going all out to deploy driverless vehicles and unmanned equipment. Safety and mishap control mechanisms will also be developed on the bedrock of GPS software.
8. Innovative scanning solutions
The ubiquitous scanner in the office can also be expected to usher in change in the way that the construction sector does business. Over the past few years, scanning has delivered a number of pocket-friendly solutions, courtesy of which, the building industry is in a position to efficiently keep track of the progress of their projects.
7. Augmented reality
Virtual reality is passé. Now, augmented reality is all set to take centerstage in the construction sector, in 2019. The camera lens will take clients and prospective clients on a virtual tour of the property. No more artists’ visualizations and dummy sets that feebly attempt to give a feel of the place. Builders and developers will be able to harness augmented reality technologies, to give buyers a feel of the property. Relatively costly at the moment, augmented reality is expected to be a stock-in-trade accessory for the building sector in the years ahead, starting from 2019.)
6. Promoting eco-friendliness via prefab and modularization processes
Multi-trade prefabrication is gradually emerging as a viable option for all sectors, including the construction industry. The Multi Trade Prefabrication Conference is also actively highlighting this aspect. Prefabrication greatly reduces the time and effort involved in construction. For instance, it took just 17 days to print and 3D office establishment, and another two days to assemble it onsite, in Dubai. Construction sector leaders are betting on this technology spearheading economy and efficiency initiatives over the years to come.
Modularization or off-site construction is another popular trend that is catching the attention of industry-watchers. A number of leading companies are relying on standardized processes to assemble the components in their factories and warehouses, before shipping them to the site and erecting the structure there. This approach also results in reduction of time and costs, apart from streamlining manpower utilization.
The benefits of these production processes manifest in the following benefits:
These processes are considered eco-friendly because recycling of leftover materials takes place. They are also economical because suppliers offer discount on bulk purchases to builders and fabricators. Part of these savings are generally passed on to the final buyers of construction projects.
Lastly, since the bulk of processes are executed at an off-site location or factory, the volume of pollution is greatly reduced.
5. Concrete that heals itself
Don’t be surprised, if in the future, you find yourself driving down roads made of self-healing concrete. In fact, the magic doesn’t end there. Buildings and homes of tomorrow will also be made of concrete that can self-repair itself whenever cracks develop.
4. Drone technology
The construction sector has already embraced drone technology to a large extent. But there’s scope for a lot more. Drones help in saving significant amounts of time, especially in tasks like site surveys – what used to take days and weeks to complete, drones can do within a fraction of the time. And as we all know, time saved is money saved, for everybody, including construction companies. In the days ahead, drones will be able to deliver readings with increasing precision. Increasing sophistication of these flying contraptions will also mean that human intervention or control will also become redundant. All of which are incentives enough for construction companies to plump for drones in their operations.
3. Robotic technologies
Industry analysts warn against ignoring the utility and impact of robotics in the construction sector. Already, robotics is enjoying pride of place in sectors like healthcare and automobile. With greater precision and accuracy incorporated into them, in the days ahead, robots will make their presence felt in the construction industry. It’s true that initial cost of investing will be on the higher side, in robotics. But the benefits over time will make it a worthwhile proposition. The day may not be far off, when robots are deployed for a variety of routine tasks like brick-laying and other tasks that are currently performed by humans.
2. Cloud and mobile technology
It was barely a few years ago that most people would give a blank stare when quizzed about cloud computing. Not anymore. Cloud-based technology has come of age and is here to stay. Thanks to cloud technology, our mobile phones have become virtual powerhouses of information. Storing, accessing, and sharing enormous amounts of information has become commonplace today – at a far low cost too. This facility is sure to make cloud computing and mobile technology a favorite of the construction sector as we move forward.
1. Wearable technologies
Until now, 3D goggles, Google Glass, Fitbit, and other forms of wearable technology were the exclusive preserve of fitness-minded people. But that may no longer be the case, as construction professionals could well adapt these items and other such products for on the job communications and monitoring of ground situations at construction sites. In fact, wearable technology products could end up as standard equipment for construction workers of the future.
On the whole, we can expect 2019 to be a landmark year in the evolution of the construction industry. The emphasis is most likely to be on a data-led sector with focus on seamless communication and synergetic collaboration. Only then can the sector players aspire for lesser project delays and higher profits.