It only takes a small innovation in the construction industry to save companies millions of pounds as well as decrease the time construction projects take. Advances in technology are happening faster than ever before; so it’s important for construction companies to keep their ears to the ground and make full use of anything that can lead to increase profitability.
We’ve assembled four construction tech trends for the future that may have a significant impact on the way projects are managed, planned and completed.
Drones have been used in police work as well as recreationally, but could drones set to take off in the construction industry? The concept is certainly attractive. Drones are cheaper to run than manned aircraft, which is typically used to monitor large construction sites. They’re also quicker than human surveyors, allowing faster collection of data more frequently and accurately than construction workers to minimise any wastage. The data that these drones collect can be used to build structural models and maps, which can then be used to efficiently purchase materials, allocate resources, limit delays and trim costs.
Materials that respond to changing environments are key to creating purpose-built structures with longevity and can make a huge difference when it comes to project profitability.
For example, “concrete is the most widely used material in the world and is actually the second most consumed substance on earth, with water being number one!” Scientists are developing ‘smart concrete’ that has the ability to heal the cracks that appear in concrete over time. This is a promising concept as it’s been reported that almost “£12billion needs to be spent to get the road network into reasonable condition – a job that would take 14 years.”
What’s more ‘conductive concrete’ has been developed to melt snow and ice on busy roads, creating a safer environment and preventing a loss of productivity?
Developing smart materials can save millions in repair costs and reduce pressure on taxpayers to finance these repairs.
3d Printing (using computer controlled sequencing to layer materials using data input to create 3D objects) is naturally a ‘next step’ for construction companies as they’ve been using Computer Aided Design to create mockups and designs from data for several years.
In 2017, large parts of building projects can be manufactured using 3D printers to allow faster and more accurate construction of detailed, bespoke items which reduced the labour costs needed and produce less waste.
This technology has already been used for years to create buildings faster and more efficiently. For example, WinSun decorates design engineering – a construction firm in Shanghai, used large 3D printers to build 10 small ‘demo’ houses in less than 24 hours by ‘spraying a mixture of quick drying cement mixed with recycled materials. ” It was reported by the BBC that each test house cost less than £5,000 to print.
This technology also opens doors for construction in areas that were previously deemed too dangerous for construction via a human workforce such as in space.
Again, apps have been used in construction since their advent in 2008. There are hundreds of spirit levels apps for those carrying out small projects but what about apps for those carrying out larger, commercial construction projects?
Apps such as the Calcumate app are designed for those carrying out construction projects to estimate exact quantities of screws required for the equivalent joint strength. This, in turn, makes sure the structure is structurally sound according to UK standards, whilst minimising and guesswork and wastage.
MD and Founder of OSC Sales said: ‘this app marks a turning point for the construction industry and how things are processed.”
Another example is US startup Skycatch who provide drones for construction companies to use on large building projects, to create progress reports and give real-time updates, enabling construction companies to respond faster, plan better and increase construction efficiency.
Globally, the construction industry is worth $8.5 trillion dollars, however,
The U.K. Green Building Council estimates that 15% of materials delivered to construction sites end up in landfills, the result of mismanaged scheduling and purchasing. Construction efficiency has long been a concern with regards to productivity, health and safety and improving profitability.
If construction technology can help minimise this wastage whilst making construction projects even faster to complete (whilst maintaining high standards) we can expect heavy investment in this technology in the future.