New Technologies and their Impact on the Construction Industry
With innovation in the industry continually being expanded, we revisit a Construction Executive article that talked about some of the construction technology that is most likely to have an impact in the near future.
Improved Access to Information via Mobile and Apps
Providing access to information for construction workers wherever and whenever they need it most, has become increasingly important. Easy to use apps on mobile devices allow workers to share, edit and document project information whilst on the job site. Barcode scanners and radio-frequency identification readers are already being utilised by firms, as well as GPS tracking to monitor equipment in real time and wearable devices to monitor workers’ safety; future trends in GPS tracking likely involve greater interconnectedness with other systems.
Laser scanning offers enormous efficiency when it comes to assessing sites or as-built conditions. Field measurements performed with laser scanners capture very detailed geometric information and are incredibly accurate, enabling the detailing of conditions of a work space or site. Data can then be fed into BIM or CAD files, saving time and reducing cost. Faster data incorporation and more streamlining of the design-build process will inevitably come in time, improving the time-consuming task to import point cloud data into a building file, for example, and more seamless software interfacing should eventually make the process nearly automatic.
It will most likely be possible to carry out many routine tasks through an almost entirely automated workflow, with little need for manual input. Technology, such as Drones (UAVs), are already being used to collect information from locations that are hard to access normally. Captured images can support site assessment and inspections, whilst allowing a project team’s understanding of progress to be more detailed. Drones can also be used to monitor logistics, deliveries and the workforce. Then there are robots, that are being used for demolition, to place bricks, excavate and do other tasks and the agility and scalability of these activities are constantly being improved.
According to the World Economic Forum, “Wherever the new technologies have properly permeated this fragmented industry, the outlook is an almost 20 percent reduction in total life-cycle costs of a project, as well as substantial improvements in completion time, quality and safety.”
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