Have you ever wondered what the Jobsite would look like without automation, modern advancements, and technology?
We would be breaking boards without power tools, then digging holes by hand. Workers would be excavating areas and lands without heavy equipment, and digging trenches using shovels and pickaxes like cavemen. Buildings, without the modern elevator systems, would be just a few stories tall. There would be no skyscrapers without advanced tools and technological advancements.
Technological advancements have always driven the construction forward. However, what is extremely strange is that so many companies have ever been too slow to embrace new technology. There is a large innovation happening with construction software that is improving the speed projects estimated and built. The quantity takeoff for each project is usually the most challenging and time consuming aspect, but it’s being sped up by advancing estimating software.
Nowadays, we can build structures that are stronger, taller, and more energy-efficient. Technology has made the sites safer and more efficient for the staff. It has allowed us to increase productivity, improve teamwork, and cope with more complex projects. Technology has given us the tools to reshape the course of civilization, and today we will discuss the top 7 technological innovations that have forever changed the construction industry.
What Technological Innovations Are Improving Construction?
New technologies are being developed at a fast pace in the construction industry nowadays. What looked like future tech 10 or 20 years ago, is our present.
Products like connected equipment and tools, telematics, mobile apps, drones, robots, augmented and virtual reality, and 3D printed buildings are all a part of our modern world. These technologies are being deployed and used worldwide on job sites to build the best steel buildings. Let’s take a look at these advancements.
Developing new products and techniques to incorporate greener goods, waste, and recycled materials into the asphalt mixture production cycle is a strategy that increases the asphalt pavement industry’s efficiency as well as its cost-effectiveness.
Now, we have greener asphalt pavements, which are not only eco-friendly and cost-effective, but these also have a minimal impact on our environment.
Approximately 90 million tons of existing asphalt pavement is broken and recycled annually into fresh asphalt in the U.S. These numbers are twice the combined total of recycled paper, steel, aluminum, and plastic. Greener asphalt is created from recycled asphalt, which means that it not only reduces the excessive waste but also offers reusability.
Robotic Total Stations (RTS)
Current robots are good at performing basic, repetitive tasks. Our modern robots have become quite good at ordinary stuff like bricklaying or tying rebars without melting down or requiring a break.
These robots, once installed and trained, can work continuously to complete tasks faster than human workers without having to take breaks or go home or eat during lunch breaks. Robots are not tired of lifting bricks, applying mortar, and putting them in place or bending over constantly to tie rebar. Robots work continuously and faster than humans.
Safety & Training
While technological penetration in the construction industry continues to rise, one field that is attracting more focus is to improve safety. Here are the best advancements when it comes to the safety and training of the staff.
Augmented & Virtual Reality
Safety training and training of equipment operators are two areas where virtual reality (VR) could have a powerful impact. Workers could become exposed and used to environments, such as confined spaces, or high places, with the help of a controlled environment via VR.
For years, VR simulators have been used to train soldiers, pilots, and doctors and could also be used to train workers on everything from working cranes, operating heavy machinery, and excavators to welding and masonry jobs.
Wearables are used to monitor employees and their environment to make the workplace safer. Wearable tech in construction is already common on construction sites, such as hard hats, gloves, safety vests, and work boots. These wearables can easily be embedded in apparel and personal protective equipment (PPE).
These wearables are fitted with biometrics and environmental sensors, GPS, and positioning trackers, for tracking the gestures of staff, repeated actions, stance, and slips and drops.
Geofencing helps site or protection management to set up restricted or dangerous zones to warn staff with a combination of alarms and lighting that they have reached an off-limits location.
The modern era requires a lot of construction work, and there are already fewer laborers as it is. However, modern technology can help with labor shortages quickly.
We have all fallen in love with drones in the previous decade. However, drones offer a multitude of beneficial perks in the construction industry. From necessary monitoring to delivering supplies, they are capable of doing a lot for the staff workers.
Drones are used in a number of ways on the construction locations and sites. Drones can be used to conduct work checks efficiently, and to identify potential hazards before the laborers have to enter that area.
These can also be used throughout the day to track staff and ensure everyone is operating in a safe environment. Drones are used to take pictures as work progresses to create as-built job site models for future inspirations and construction practices.
Autonomous Heavy Equipment
Autonomous heavy equipment is quite perfect for construction, leveling, and site research on job sites. It allows technicians to be entirely removed from the machinery, enabling companies to do the same amount of work without having to hire a dozen workers.
This technology uses cameras, robotics, and GPS to control the construction site and carry out site work dependent on terrain 3D maps to accurately excavate and grade the ground. Augmented GPS, a mixture of on-site base stations and satellites, can be used to geofence the site and enable accurate movement of autonomous equipment around the site.
What if concrete could heal itself? It is the most commonly used material in construction. It makes sense that it should be able to withstand the rough usage and heal itself. Well, bio concrete uses bacteria to not only fill out small cracks but also heal itself entirely over some time. This improves the overall health and durability of the structures.
In facilities, such as apartment buildings, restaurants, jails, and classrooms featuring similar floor plans or configurations of their designs, off-site architecture, construction, and fabrication has become a norm.
Off-site fabrication means that the construction is performed off-site, in a controlled environment, and it reduces distractions and site accidents.
Another benefit of off-site fabrication is you use outsource estimating services to calculate quantities and submit to a fabrication company. This dramatically improves the ability to accurately calculate quantities and costs since there are less factors affecting productivity in the field.
Workers at each station have all the tools and materials to perform their tasks consistently without having to take a break or wait for others to finish as well. This construction method is similar to a manufacturing plant, and it reduces waste and allows more productivity for the workers.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Respirators, spectacles, goggles, face shields and visors, ear muffs or earplugs, gloves, and steel-toed shoes or boots are just a few examples of personal protective equipment. These tools help keep everyone safe on the location without sacrificing efficiency, productivity, and time.