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Technology is a wonderful commodity in all industries and one sector that has been benefitting hugely is that of construction. Construction site broadband has revolutionised the way workers communicate with other departments and the use of robotics is relieving staff from monotonous tasks and allowing other tasks to take priority.
However, it has only been in recent years that technology has finally begun to meet the strict requirements of the construction industry. We take a look at the top construction technology trends to look for this year. These technologies have been around for many years, however, due to the high standards of health and safety needed within the sector, they have only now been able to be implemented within construction.
1. 5G and Wi-Fi 6
Mobile broadband has now become a strong competitor to traditional fixed lines. 5G and wi-fi 6 are significantly faster than their predecessors and are allowing instant sharing of data throughout businesses.
While fixed lines can be more reliable, especially in remote areas, this isn’t always viable. Fixed lines can be costly and installation times can be lengthy, which isn’t conducive for short-term projects.
2. Big Data
Big Data extracts patterns and correlations from large sets of information that would be almost impossible for a human to do so manually, in a matter of seconds.
Historical data can be used to discover patterns from previous projects that can aid new projects in steering away from risks and pitfalls and ensuring the most success.
Taking information from the weather. Community and business activity and traffic can determine the best phasing schedules and planning of construction activities.
Sensors that have been installed in machinery can provide an insight into how often this equipment has been used previously and if it is worth investing in buying these machines or simply leasing them. This allows budgets to be properly utilised.
3. Blockchain Technology
By using blockchain technology for payment of projects, it leads to transparency of contracts and faster payment methods.
Settlements are stored safely and securely with this technology after a contract is agreed within all parties.
Once the project has been completed and parties are satisfied on every end, payment can be instantly released.
This removes the hassle of banks transferring large sums and taking time to do security checks. Clients feel safe knowing that they will not lose out on funds from unsatisfactory results and construction professionals know they will be paid.
4. The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is made up of smart devices and sensors that are all controlled by a central platform that all share data with each other.
This is allowing smart machinery to perform repetitive tasks and be able to maintain themselves. Footfall can be automatically tracked on-site, reducing paperwork and the manual task of doing so.
Geo-location tracking can alert staff when they have entered a danger zone and the added bonus of sensor tracking during COVID-19 is allowing workers to be alerted should they stand too close to each other.
Carbon footprint is being reduced, sensors on engines can detect when machines are idle and not in use, leading to them automatically being switched on and energy saved.
5. Mobile and Cloud Technologies
The cloud is allowing better and instant collaboration between teams.
Digital documentation of any size or format can be shared instantly and updated and edited in real-time. This is quickly reducing wait times between departments and allowing project managers to sign things off faster than ever before.
6. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR are providing platforms to have a visual representation of finished projects and designs before they have even begun construction.
Virtual tours are being given to clients, allowing everyone involved to have a good idea of what is to be built and provide a chance to make changes before it is too late to do so.
Risk assessments can be conducted, without managers even being on-site and safety improvements are being seen as excellent training can be provided to staff without having to be physically present.
7. 3D Printing
Having a 3D printer onsite is presenting a myriad of pros in the construction industry. Materials and even tools can be printed at a fraction of the cost and time it typically takes.
Engineers can experiment more with new pieces as any failure has only been at a nominal cost.
Unique pieces that have to be specially designed can be created instantly and at a cost of practically nothing.
Not only are wait times reduced, but so are carbon emissions as fewer delivery vehicles are needed on our roads, a win for the planet too.
8. Robotics & Drones
Masonry robots are now able to bricklayer faster and more accurately than their human counterparts. Demolition robots may be slower than a human worker, but they are significantly cheaper and safer. Drones are being used to deliver supplies on-site in a new eco-friendly way. Cameras on drones are being utilised to get a bird’s eye view of the worksite, this way, managers have a comprehensive understanding of the full area and can identify risks they may not have seen at ground level. You can do a google search to find out where to buy a tethered drone.
Drones are being used to deliver supplies on-site in a new eco-friendly way. Cameras on drones are being utilised to get a bird’s eye view of the worksite, this way, managers have a comprehensive understanding of the full area and can identify risks they may not have seen at ground level.
9. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
AI and ML are quickly becoming integral pieces of technology in construction. The design process is being aided with predictive data by taking into account weather and location. This in turn helps to increase the lifespan of the building.
Machine learning can detect patterns in projects that were less successful and help the design team steer away from this.
Even the financial planning aspect of a project can be improved, with historical data allowing an insight into overspend on previous projects.
10. Building Information Technology (BIM)
This piece of software allows every aspect of the design team to have better collaboration. It can detect clashes in systems, such as plumbing and electrics, in the very early stages.
Not only does it alert designers of these clashes, but will also provide a solution for them, meaning designers don’t have to be an expert in all elements to be able to problem-solve.
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