In today’s world, technology is changing the way we do just about everything. Construction is no exception. New innovations are making it possible to build massive structures in a fraction of the time and substantially cut construction costs – all while minimizing environmental impact. From 3D printing techniques that are revolutionizing construction methods to drones that can map out building sites quickly and cheaply, these technologies have made it easier than ever for contractors to achieve their goals.
Here are 6 construction technology advances that are revolutionizing the industry.
Construction Technology Advancements
Drones & Digital Mapping Technology
Digital mapping technologies are advancing the construction industry in a new way. Using drones, companies can get accurate maps of their building sites within minutes, meaning that they don’t have to spend hours or days walking around and measuring on-site conditions by hand. This also helps avoid human error when it comes to recording measurements for later design purposes. Plus, when a company can map out the site quickly, they are able to make any needed changes before breaking ground.
Drones also allow for more accurate surveying of terrain and building materials, including soil conditions, land elevation, tree coverage, and other factors that may affect how buildings will be constructed on-site. This is extremely useful in areas where environmental conditions are unpredictable.
Drones also help in situations where human access is difficult or dangerous, such as at height or after a natural disaster. In these cases, drones can survey the site and take photographs that operators have never been able to capture before – which helps contractors make plans for how they will continue their work safely and efficiently.
Advances in Software
In addition to the drones themselves, software is also being developed that allows for more efficient mapping of terrain and buildings. For example, a CityEngine plug-in from Esri allows construction companies to visualize their plans in an urban setting using real-world data, which helps them experiment with different building ideas before breaking ground.
This type of software construction technology is also being used to help construction companies make more accurate budget estimates, as well as provide them with better information about the environmental impact their building plans may have.
Advances in construction technology are not limited to software and drone technology. For example, new applications for additive manufacturing (or “additive fabrication”) – also known as rapid prototyping or more commonly, “three-dimensional printing” methods – allow construction companies to make custom parts that they would not otherwise be able to produce on an assembly line.
This type of additive manufacturing technology can be applied to a wide range of industries – including construction. For example, it is now possible for companies that construct buildings using prefabricated parts (such as steel frames and prefab walls) to use these same fabrication techniques in order to manufacture custom components on site during the building process itself.
This method of additive manufacturing is especially useful for companies that need to produce custom fasteners or fixings, such as screws and bolts. Without this construction technology, many projects would slow down due to a lack of parts on-site; but with the ability to “print” these items from raw materials just hours before they are needed, building timelines are much more flexible – which provides a significant advantage over competitors.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Another technology that is being used to advance construction planning and building efficiency is Building Information Modeling (BIM) techniques. While this type of software is not new, it has become more advanced in recent years – allowing contractors to better visualize the entire process for constructing a building from beginning to end before breaking ground.
For example, BIM can be used for pre-construction planning, such as budgeting and cost estimation. It can also be applied to the material selection at the start of a project so that construction teams know exactly what they are getting before buying it – which saves money in the long run by minimizing waste and unnecessary returns.
BIM software is especially useful when larger projects include multiple participants – such as general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and other experts working on site. Using BIM software allows all of these different team members to work together in real-time with accurate information about the project at hand.
Augmented Reality (AR)
While not yet a mainstream technology for construction companies, augmented reality (AR) is quickly becoming more popular in the industry. AR allows teams to see holographic images on top of the real world – such as walls and floors that need to be repaired or upgraded before the building process can proceed.
The benefit of this type of software is its ability to provide on-site technical information to construction teams and subcontractors without requiring them to stop working. For instance, a team could use AR technology as they are laying down concrete in the foundation of a building, allowing workers to see where reinforcing steel needs to be laid before it is poured – which can prevent serious issues later during building that might require massive repairs.
While this type of AR technology is still being developed, it has the potential to make construction projects safer and less wasteful – as well as save contractors a significant amount of time in planning.
Smart Construction Technology
While not specifically a technology, “smart” devices are also becoming more common on-site at construction projects. These types of tools include sensors that can monitor different aspects of the building process – such as temperature, humidity levels, and other environmental conditions.
This type of smart tool is especially useful in buildings that have envelopes or skins made from glass, steel, or other material that can be easily damaged by extreme fluctuations in heat and humidity. For example, a smart device could help construction teams monitor the temperature inside of walls to maintain an even internal climate as well as prevent condensation from damaging any insulation.
In addition to keeping buildings more comfortable for occupants during hot summers and cold winters – these types of smart tools can also help contractors save money and time by allowing them to monitor the building process remotely – such as while they are still in meetings or at their office.
This trend is especially important for construction companies that work on a project from beginning to end because it allows teams to identify problems before they escalate into much larger issues down the road.
The Future Of the Construction Industry
While it is difficult to predict the future of any industry, one thing is clear: technology will continue to transform how construction companies operate.
The role that BIM and other design software play in modern building processes are just a few examples of how these types of technologies can save time and money for contractors. As more smart devices like sensors become available for construction projects, it will become easier for teams to monitor the progress of a project without having to be on-site.
These types of tools are especially important in industries that work with constantly shifting climates – such as those involved in roofing or building envelope repair which require constant monitoring and upkeep after completion so they last longer.
As construction technology continues to evolve, it is likely that construction companies will look to adopt smart technologies and other design tools like BIM into their on-site processes as well.
In the near future, construction industry teams can expect to see more technology integrated into traditional building practices which will help contractors save time and money while still maintaining profitability for each project they take on.