Innovation brings with it the possibility of reduced costs and improved revenue. Construction sites are reaping the benefits of advancing technology. With new materials, wearable tech and new software making fundamental changes possible, it seems like one day they may even be able to replace the simple safety cone.
Technology which may have previously seemed like science fiction or the preserve of gamers has now made its way to the construction site. We examine 4 of the most revolutionary technologies which are changing the way projects are built.
4 Innovations Revolutionizing The Construction Jobsite:
1. Virtual Reality
Previously only really finding use in video games, virtual reality and augmented reality have found their way into the construction industry. Computer modeling of architectural designs allows customers the chance to walk through their building before it really exists.
They can see what the end result will be and discover if it is actually what they were expecting. Changes can then be made if they find out something is wrong before costly rework is needed.
Virtual reality also allows the construction company to better plan out the project, making savings, and improving efficiency. It should also ensure that the company produces a final product that is more consistent with what is expected. Take, for instance, Walcraft Cabinetry, who uses VR to assist their customers by providing virtual kitchen design services without ever even having to leave your home! Walcraft simply will mail their customers a VR headset with their kitchen design loaded into it.
VR and AR had previously been too expensive to implement, but since they offer such high productivity and safety improvements, there is a new push to use the technology.
2. Project Management Software
Large construction projects are highly complicated to manage. Technology is making significant improvements here, too, with software becoming available, which makes it more transparent and more comfortable for the project managers to stay on top of the job site.
New technology is also providing more data than ever before, with wearable tech, cameras, and drones feeding back information. This stream of data can be beneficial if it can be interpreted and results categorized.
Machine learning software and AI is available that can take this data stream and create packages of information that managers are able to use. This makes efficiencies easier to find and problems more prominent, so they can be avoided before it becomes very costly.
The new software is available, which is able to find patterns in the data, highlighting potential safety issues before they become a problem. The benefits of this type of software are clear and should have a significant effect on the productivity of construction sites.
3. New Materials
Research into new building materials is starting to pay dividends with things like self-healing concrete now available. Self-healing concrete uses bacteria which automatically activates to produce limestone which fills small cracks in the surface.
The production of concrete is estimated to be the cause of 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. With a large amount of building growth in many parts of the world, this could become more of an environmental issue.
New developments in concrete, like the self-healing invention, could have some beneficial effect on the quantity of concrete required worldwide.
Other developments include the rediscovery of the particular recipe used by the Romans to make a more durable building material. Most current concrete uses Portland cement as a bonding agent, the Roman version uses volcanic limestone instead, and this results in more longer-lasting and robust construction. These improvements should lead to better and more durable structures in the future.
Automation is set to change the construction industry, with drones already available to monitor job sites. Roving robots can tour the site to observe what progress is being made, returning data that could point to potential problems before they occur.
Scans of the site can be made by robots on a daily or weekly schedule to record the state of the build. This makes it easy for production managers to stay on top of the project and see where there are any issues.
The Semi-Automated Mason or SAM is a robot that is capable of laying 3,000 bricks in an 8-hour shift. It uses a robotic arm and conveyor belt to perform bricklaying tasks.
It is able to place the brick with cement but isn’t able to finish the job entirely by itself, so humans are still required. The robot also isn’t able to do the more challenging parts of constructing a wall, so masons aren’t left entirely redundant in the process.
Automation is set to make revolutionary changes to the industry, and the developments we have highlighted may just be the tip of the iceberg.