The world is transforming at the speed of light in this “Digital Era”. Automation and digitalization have completely transformed the methodology and processes of construction that have been in use for centuries. For the past many years, the contractors have not adopted modern technology and equipment in the field of construction. However, the current stats reveal, that significant growth is observed in profits and project execution with the new technology or construction trends, including site drones, 3-D modelling, and contract management systems.
Technology is now used in the construction field to develop a sustainable ecosystem with minimal waste. Everything is now digitalized, automated, and easily accessible on laptops and mobile. The clients are inclined towards observing the construction process online virtually. All the payments and construction contracts are now closely monitored via the smart contract management systems and tools. Below is the summary of the latest trends that will dominate the construction industry in 2020.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality has conquered the field of construction with its effective pre-construction applications including project staging. It helps both the clients and developers to visualize 3D model of the future projects. It is considered an affordable simulation solution that includes the surrounding environment parameters and actual building measurements. It not only saves time but also labor and resource cost as well.
Mobile Applications and Technology
Mobile technology is now considered the top most priority of developers and contractors. The mobile applications like Infotycoon and AirMeasure provide real-time site inspections without requiring the site engineer on-site. The contractors can use different mobile applications for the measurement of building spaces. It also adds to the overall productivity of the project by reducing the time.
Construction Management Software
The management software have a multi-purpose role. They are not just valuable for expanding the business but they reduce the operational cost significantly. They provide interactive client software platforms that can be customized for the developers, clients, and project managers. The construction management software provides different types of functionality and features including:
- End-to-End performance and analysis
- Data and progress monitoring
- Real-time stats availability
- Data sharing
- Automatic documentation
- Budget control
- Inventory management
- Payments and salary management
Some examples of these construction management software include CoConstruct, Redteam, Projul, Sage 300 construction and real estate, buildertrend, and procore, etc.
Robotics and Automation
The construction equipment will be self-driven instead of being operated by the human workers. It significantly reduces the operational cost. A dire shortage of labors has been observed in the US over the past years. The construction industry is opting for robots and drones to automate the on-site work.
Modular and segmented construction
Modular construction has completely re-defined the construction processes. The advancements in technology have allowed the builders to construct the building modules off-site. Modular approach has enabled developers to build different modules and then combining them to create a magnificent structure. This approach saves the cost per module. When every module is treated as a standalone project, it improves the overall efficiency of the labors involved. Moreover, a construction project is delivered in a lesser amount of time by increasing off-site modular work.
Sustainability is the most important factor observed in the construction industry. The buildings and structures to be sustainable and eco-friendly at the same time. The industry is now more focused on using renewable energy resources. The vision is to reduce the carbon footprint of the buildings by using modular approach that requires a lesser number of resources. The construction is done in a way to support greenery and trees around and top of the buildings. The bricks are now made of recycled material and air conditioners are thermal driven.
Safety measures and regulations
The construction industry is advancing towards robotics and automated industry to eliminate the safety hazards of the workers. Robots are now replacing human labors to integrate different parts and modules. Noise and heat pollution is considerably reduced by the use of 3D printing. Machine learning techniques and algorithms can implement the safety measures and standards on-site and off-site. It is important to mention that these techniques cannot eliminate human workers. Rather, they are designed to work side-by-side with humans to add to the safety measures implementation. However, it is up to humans to enhance their existing skillset in order to use modern equipment.
Use of drones at construction sites
Drones are now used in almost every field of life including the construction industry. The drones can cover a larger area and distance and can generate blueprints, building measurements, and other heat maps. They also give a 360-degree view of the site thus reducing the manual labor of the site engineer. The drones are capable of going to different heights and this adds to the safety measures of the human workers as it is a risky job to climb to certain higher levels. The drones can also be used to monitor the work and to organize it using artificial intelligence (AI).
Innovative building material
It is a well-known fact that the material cost is increasing over the years all over the globe. The construction industry is taking all the measures and steps to switch to smart building materials that include:
- 3D graphene
- Transparent solar cells
- Self-healing concrete
- Light generating concrete
- Transparent aluminum
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
BIM enables the developers to visualize the entire construction process of different buildings, housing projects, and roads. The images are generated using computers, AI and virtual reality (VR). It is a win-win situation for both the developers and clients as they can see the entire concept during the pre-construction phase. Visualization helps the developers to minimize labor and resource cost.
Imagine if the engineers and architects are able to visualize the entire building; it will be extremely easy for them to estimate the material cost and other measurements. It is indeed a “Digital era” where buildings can be realized via VR before the construction process begins. Automation industry is helping the developers to implement safety measures by using self-driven equipment. The new digital trends are helping the developers to build eco-friendly buildings using modular approach. All these trends not only save time but also reduce the overall resource cost.