It is time for a change. However, it can be difficult to stay on top of the latest technology that may serve to improve processes and increase efficiency in the construction industry. Technology and software are available to change many facets of construction, from design, to site assessment to real-time data and corrective changes. The potential benefits to the industry make it worthwhile to investigate the latest technologies including, mobile devices, BIM, drones and more.
Explore the technological developments impacting the construction industry today.
Apps and Mobile
Apps may information easier to assess, document and share. This tech can be used on the job and those devices outfitted for field work can be used in poor weather conditions and may include radio-frequency identification readers and barcode scanners. Mobile devices are used often by those in the industry and should continue to be used in 2018 and beyond.
BIM is also widely implemented within the industry. BIM or Building Information Modeling is used to digitally show the physical and functional characteristics of a space. BIM is often used alongside anti-collision software. More information can now be accessed in the BIM model. Users can now pull from the historical database and real-time sharing is possible when BIM models are connected to other field devices. Additional team members can have access with today’s BIM. Those in the industry expect the ability to increase and link data sets will allow for better delivery of information via IBM.
Drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have been used to get data in areas difficult to access. Drone technology makes it possible to take pictures that will aid in inspections, site assessment, show progress and capture logistical issues. These remotely controlled or autonomous serial vehicles can provide an accurate overview of real-time conditions. Drone technology can be used to monitor real-time conditions and progress. Improvements to come include enhanced communication, capturing better images and the addition of sensors for monitoring. One potential issue with the technology is that there is not yet a single and standard drone policy. As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) makes progress in this area, construction companies may find it easier to incorporate the technology to meet their specific needs.
For those needing a survey of a large area, the Pegasus:Two is a technology offering expedient and efficient surveying. One or more laser scanners are mounted on a vehicle, in addition to inertia-tracking technologies, to allow for the capturing of 360-views of a site. The Pegasus:Two can travel as much as 50 miles an hour while surveying an area.
Clash detection software or anti-collision software may help improve workplace safety. Technology such as that found in the SK Asteroid Platform Solution can be used to monitor, wind speed, inertia, movement, position and direction of construction equipment. Any issues can be quickly corrected to prevent a potential collision and injury. Weather changes can come at any time and adjustments to large equipment, such as tower cranes, may help avoid collisions, project days and additional costs. The Design-Build combines both BIM and anti-collision software in a single model and makes for one place to access real-time details on a site.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is used to make a three-dimensional solid object using information from a CAD file. Printers are directed to lay down material to create the specified design. Materials used commonly include polylactic acid (PLA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). 3D printing may be used to increase project speed and decrease material waste. Companies are using the technology to create complex components and others are attempting to use the technology to print entire buildings.
The Impact of Technology in Construction
There is much to investigate and begin to incorporate for improved efficiency and safety. While some technologies, such as mobile devices and apps may be a familiar sight, other technologies, like 3D printing and drones may still have some ways to go before becoming commonly applied within the construction industry. Many of the technologies may reduce risk and make for greater accuracy, allowing stakeholders to reap increased profits from smoother projects and processes.
Gary Ashton is the CEO and owner of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage. His real estate team is #1 in Tennessee, Nashville and now #4 in the world.