The construction industry is transforming with new age technology creating advanced tools and applications that are changing how engineers plan, design, and execute projects. Traditionally a labour intensive market, the construction sector, is now using construction focused hardware, advanced software and analytics to eliminate many challenges that the sector has faced for decades including difficulties compiling and sharing project information.
With the rising residential, industrial, and commercial growth, the demand for faster construction and extra ordinary quality has increased. Therefore, it has become imperative for companies to use advanced technologies and newer products to meet ever evolving customer demand. Hence, many engineering and construction companies are embracing technological innovations, mostly focused on software tools for digital collaboration. The new building technology, new materials, software, artificial intelligence are together changing the way we plan, build, and use our buildings.
Technological Transformation at Construction Sites
According to McKinsey, construction-technology companies have generated $10 billion investment funding from 2011 through early 2017. The use of innovative technologies is bolstering the construction industry with advancements such as pulsed radar object detection, drones, radio frequency identification (RFID), prefabrication, smart wearables, 3D printing, immersive solutions (VR/AR, Internet of Things (IoT), and smart materials.
Construction companies continue to explore new technologies that improve the strength, quality and safety of the buildings such as aluminium shuttering, self-climbing formwork, drywall systems and precast concrete techniques. These technologies offer a bunch of advantages including cost-effectiveness, higher earthquake resistance, large carpet areas, more durability, and lower maintenance.
How is Technology Changing the Industry?
The rising wave of technology and its incorporation in construction and engineering has created efficiency in day-to-day operations which has made information and communication quick and accessible. Moreover, it has done away with the need to manually draw up project outlines, illustrations, lists, and tasks for the teams. Further, the digital records make it much easier to keep constant interaction with workers, control costs on the jobsite and simulate 3-D models of the projects. Adopting these technologies is resulting in less fragmented and more streamlined operations.
Technology is also helping the construction industry shift towards a smarter building. For instance, outdated or old building do not have a building automation system which monitors an entire building’s functionality including ventilation, heating, lighting systems, air conditioning (HVAC), and fire and life safety. Many contractors are now integrating all of these functions into a unified system.
Companies that continue to embrace these practices, in the long run, will be the ones that thrive as the industry evolves. The construction and engineering industry, like many others, is on the cusp of a revolution in the way operations are carried out. By adopting technological disruption, this can be an exciting time for the industry going forward.
The Way Forward
Construction technology is evolving rapidly. Unless construction companies back their commitment to innovation with reasonable investment, they are unlikely to gain a competitive edge. Considering the financial risk, it is associated with every digital initiative. However, construction companies can control it by approaching developers, owners, technology providers and subcontractors for partnerships or co-investment opportunities.
Construction-technology companies have developed numerous tools for use cases across the project life cycle, ranging from scheduling to design management to safety monitoring. Going forward, more tools will emerge particularly for use cases related to performance management and field management. With the rising significance of construction technology, constructions firms that do not invest in the right tools risk being left behind.
Summing It All Up
All in all, the potential of the construction technology in terms of material, innovation and business models looks promising. The new age of construction which is combining the traditional construction methods with a pinch of technology will continue to play a larger role and transform the industry that exists today. The firms that play the right bets now will probably be the industry leaders in the coming years.
The writer is CEO and Director of Tracecost.