It’s no secret that the construction industry is at the moment battling against serious efficiency and budget problems. One of the main reasons behind this problem has to do with the fact that construction is considered to be a traditional industry with a noticeable degree of resistance toward change.
Nonetheless, the advent of new technologies has started turning things around. More and more automated processes are introduced in the course of a construction project. On top of that, decision-makers within the industry appear to get more open toward digitization and ready to rely on cutting-edge technology for completing their building projects.
‘Modernise or Die’
Less than a year ago, the British construction consultant Mark Farmer released an extremely interesting report regarding the need of construction to become more digitized. The title of the report is ‘Modernise or Die’ and it describes the current problems that the construction industry is facing in terms of efficiency and poor decision-making. According to Farmer, it is indispensable for the construction industry to change its core practices and embrace the use of digital tools in the construction management procedure. Otherwise, its very own existence is under serious threat.
5 ways technology is disrupting construction
Thankfully, it appears that the industry has started to listen on the above mentioned points. That’s why, we observed lately an increased presence of technology on site. Without further ado, here are five of the most essential ways in which technology is transforming construction:
- Construction software
First and foremost, construction software is revolutionizing the project management process. From its initial design to its completion, construction software can help you keep good track of what’s going on. Furthermore, it empowers communication between the construction site and the office. All the different project agents are in a position to send and receive updates in real-time. This results in fewer mistakes and increased productivity. If we also take into account the perplexity of many construction projects today, it becomes apparent that the implementation of real-time project management software is the way forward. Lastly, a construction software can help you feel control the vast amounts of collected data and improve your decision-making based on it.
BIM stands for Building Information Modeling and it’s already changing construction. Of course, there are still many steps that need to be taken before we can claim that BIM has reached its full potential. In a few words, BIM is encouraging fully integrated collaboration and unhindered information flow during a construction project. In that way, the various parties involved can communicate faster and act on last-minute changes in no time. The ability to access the project’s data with no geographical or time restrictions increases accuracy both in terms of budget and deadlines. It contributes also to the significant reduction of waste which is at the time being one of the biggest concerns of the industry.
- Big data
Big data is the new bacon and construction is no exception to that. To put it simply, data is the basis on which every new endeavor and every decision is made. And that’s for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, it provides an insight to the main challenges that the industry – or a project in that case – is battling against. By knowing how to read the data, you can be confident that you have made the right decision for your project and that you monitor closely every single task. What is more, big data can offer you a trustworthy picture concerning the upcoming trends in the industry. In that manner, you can put together a functional long-term strategy not only for your current but your upcoming projects, too. Increase of transparency and accountability is another indispensable benefit that big data can offer to construction. Everything is recorded and everyone is accountable for their (either positive or negative) actions.
Robotics have already made their first vital steps in construction. Their contribution to the building process is expected to become more and more fundamental in the next years. Self-driving tracks, 3D printed bridges and bricklaying robots are only a few examples of how robotics impact on construction. The biggest advantages that robotics are providing to construction are undoubtedly related to increased efficiency and safety for the people who work on site. Thank to such machinery, the involvement of workers in dangerous or timeful tasks can be significantly reduced. Additionally, this shift on the way job in construction is done will eventually lead to the attraction of a new workforce type. The construction industry will be gradually in position to attract young skillful workers who are after a long-term career.
Last but certainly not least, the drones. Drone technology is getting more and more popular everyday and it already has a great contribution to many construction sites around the world. Drones could increase the accuracy of the building process. We are still in an early stage, but ideally, in a few years, it will be considered as a given the use of drones for the generation of a ‘digital tween’ for every construction process. In that sense, project agents will be constantly able to monitor the progress of a project and define easily its exact needs. This functionality could pave the way for the arrival of smart contracts in construction. This would signify simpler and more direct transactions while getting rid of the ‘middleman’ (eg. lawyers).
All in all, technology and digital tools have already a remarkable impact on the way the construction industry is moving forward. Their involvement in the project process is only expected to get more and more increased in the near future. The investment on the digitization of the industry will unlock tremendous possibilities and will provide great solutions to the chronic problem of efficiency.