There are many pieces of equipment found in construction sites today that were not there decades ago. Try to imagine how the construction sites would be without the advancements in technology.
Our buildings would be limited to only a few stories because of the absence of cranes and elevators. Construction would be an overly tedious and lengthy endeavor as we would have to excavate using pickaxes.
Technological advancements drive the construction industry forward. Many construction industries are, however, slow to adopt new technology, thus limiting their capabilities. A study by KPMG showed that more than half of industry stakeholders agree innovations play a vital role in a better construction atmosphere, but less than half integrate these innovations in construction. Taking actionable steps can lead to a new dawn of information and technology in building. This article will discuss some of the ways the construction industry is embracing technology.
How Digital Solutions Are Transforming The Construction Industry
Forward-thinking and futuristic professionals are adopting technological solutions that improve efficiency and communication in projects. Here are some of the ways industry professionals adopt technology in construction.
1. Digital Solutions For Improving Productivity
Traditional and analog methods used in construction are often slow and rife with error. They slow down the construction process as they overwork the administration and lay extra burdens on the employees. For instance, construction bidding and cost estimation were primarily analog processes. The chances of error in bidding are high, but there are now digital solutions to help with the bidding process, reduce error, and even lessen the need for manpower. Traditional methods of construction also place unnecessary burdens on the employees. The staff ends up engaged in unnecessary paperwork managing ineffective processes.
2. Application Of Technology In Reducing On-Site Accidents
The construction industry is probably one of the most dangerous and high-risk sectors. The ongoing need for improved safety in these sites is a constant conversation among construction stakeholders. The dangers in construction are brought about by intense physical labor, terrible weather conditions, and heavy machinery. But with the help of technology, construction sites have become safer than before.
One significant breakthrough come from smart devices. Such devices can be attached to wearables such as vests, boots, safety glasses, and helmets, and they track a worker’s vitals and alert him of surrounding environmental hazards. Some wearables also have emergency buttons that workers can press when they are in danger.
Another new device that is increasingly popular in the industry are drones. Drones, if used efficiently, can complete tasks that are hard to accomplish. These can be used to survey and record data in locations that are hard to navigate. Project supervisors can also oversee projects in real-time through drones.
3. Project Management Software In Project Organization
Project management software help construction companies schedule, report, project updates, and oversee teams and tasks. The savviest construction executives look for ways to take advantage of the digital era in construction. Adopting project management software makes project integration easier.
Project management software provides all-in-one solutions or sometimes separate programs that can be integrated into the cloud. This makes it easier to implement changes, collect data, supervise workers and evaluate project progress. Technology also fosters seamless communication between clients and workers, allowing for better and faster collaboration.
4. Digital Solutions To Stay Competitive
The adoption of technology in construction was relatively slow in earlier years, but the entire industry is now moving towards integrating technological solutions. Clients tend to prefer service providers who show that they are working with technology rather than clients who resist technology. Clients prefer technology because of the convenience it offers them.
Digital solutions implement changes quickly and promote transparent reporting. Another selling point is 3D printing. It is expensive to set up at first, but it gives significant savings on labor and material costs. Small-scale designs can be printed before actual construction. These replicas make it easy to identify mistakes before they happen.
The increasing concerns on climate change raise questions on sustainability from consumers. Technology helps reduce wastage and helps in the construction of energy-efficient buildings. Adopting technologies that foster environmental sustainability helps one stay ahead of the competition.
5. Augmented And Virtual Reality In Safety Training
Virtual Reality has a substantial impact on safety training for construction workers. Virtual Reality makes it possible to train employees to work in confined environments, working in heights or controlled environments. These simulators have been used for years to improve safety in different fields.
Pilots, surgeons, and soldiers have been trained the same way using Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is also used in job sites instead of training workers using heavy equipment and exposing them to hazardous situations. Workers can move to specific job sites with safety checklists and ensure they perform their tasks properly. Safety managers can also monitor what the workers are doing and guide them through the functions.
6. Off-Site construction
Prefabricated construction is an increasingly common method when it comes to floor plans with repetitive layouts. Technology has made off-site construction a reality. Prefabricated designs work for apartment buildings, hospitals, dormitories, prison complexes, and schools. Most off-site construction takes place in controlled environments and works similarly to manufacturing plants.
Off-site construction comes in two forms; prefabricated and modular. In modular construction, entire rooms can be completed with all fixtures and finishes and then transported to the site. These rooms are built in small ‘modules’ such as bathrooms. In prefabricated construction, the components are built off-site and assembled on-site. Prefabricated features include wall panels, floor systems, window assemblies, and plumbing packages.
7. Cost Reductions
Contractors implement technologies for long-term cost reductions. Contractors adopt management solutions that sync time tracking, job costing, and field reports. It makes it possible to consolidate data on purchases, change orders, equipment, and progress. Companies can thus organize their operations for better decision-making and operations. In the long run, companies can have better pricing on materials with more accurate information. It is also easier for companies to track regular and overtime working hours and adjust accordingly.
The construction industry has always been adopting new technology, albeit some stakeholders are quite slow to catch on. The first adopters are reaping increased productivity, faster completion rates, and higher profit margins. Firms that are not adopting these technologies find it hard to stay competitive compared to those that strategically use digital solutions to improve processes and services.