Technology is advancing into most areas of modern life, including the construction industry. While human skills and innovative creativity are still needed, advances in digitally devised and operated processes and equipment are changing the way this industry gets jobs done. The sometimes surprising results are eye-opening and positive in unexpected ways.
The transformations within the construction field are taking specific shapes.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is shaking up the construction process in multiple ways.
- Analytical designs based on predictions
- More efficient project planning through virtual and augmented reality capabilities
- Digital twins of proposed structures
AI-driven advances can help reduce construction costs and facilitate work schedules. Major projects can be built quicker and with greater accuracy, which benefits investors because they see a fast return on their financial outlay.
Construction robots today are not quite the same as you may envision from science fiction programs of the 1950s and 1960s. Robots are performing many tasks, including digging, painting, drilling, setting up supporting beams, and even laying bricks. These automated workers can be controlled from almost anywhere on the planet by a supervisor over the internet. Automatons can work synchronously on complex projects and finish them quickly.
Growth in the capabilities of 3D printing is making ripples throughout the construction industry and beyond. Generally, 3D printing can greatly reduce project costs and duration. For this type of printing, data such as dimensions, blueprints, plans, and maps are fed into an automated machine. It digitally produces an exact physical result. This technology not only increases project efficiency overall, but it also allows for greater design creativity and innovation that might not be envisioned otherwise.
Automated drones are making construction jobs safer. Drones can be remotely controlled to carry out inspections that could be dangerous for human workers. They also have the capability to survey large areas much more quickly than human surveyors on the ground could. Efficient work decreases the length of construction projects, lowers costs, and increases safety for workers.
General Benefits of Technology
The construction industry is changing as it gradually adopts technology. These advancements bring important advantages.
- Improved safety—From automated drones that inspect dangerous sites to wearable sensors that can alert workers to dangerous situations, technology can make the industry safer.
- Higher efficiency—Time is money in the construction industry, and when companies meet schedules and produce high-quality work, everyone wins. Technology improves operations also within companies by allowing for improved resource management.
- Better client services—Technology helps construction companies make doing business easy for their clients. They can offer digital signatures on documents, which keeps the job moving along. They can also respond more quickly to client questions.
- More efficient options—In the construction industry, you must have the right tools in order to get the job done right. Technology provides many new tools for efficiently handling all parts of the process, from planning to printing to constructing.
While technology has clear benefits for the construction industry, it is also heralding changes that affect individual workers.
Particular Changes to Construction Jobs
A search of popular job sites shows specific jobs in the construction industry are adapting to the changes brought about by technology. Titles such as “construction project engineer” and “construction close-out specialist” request that applicants have experience with various software programs and technologies.
Therefore, construction workers, as in many other industries, must adapt to these changes with new knowledge and capabilities. Those just entering the field and studying through professional courses will have different curricula than industry veterans initially had. Experienced construction workers will have to expand their knowledge to include new systems and digital tools and processes that did not exist even a decade ago. Onsite work may become more specialized, as well, with robots taking over some of the more menial tasks to finish them quicker.
The Foundations of Construction Technology
The bottom line is that technology growth and use in the construction industry brings numerous benefits along with some big changes. Projects can be finished quicker with precision not even dreamed of a few years back. Skyscrapers can go up in less than one month. Low costs and quick results please investors. These advances, though, also bring in many changes for those in the construction industry. Workers, whether new or experienced, must adapt to the emerging environment in this field. Navigating new waters, though, is something this industry has done well throughout history.