Digital transformation has been taking place across countless industries for the last several years, and construction is no exception to this new trend. Innovations in business management, job site safety, equipment, and team productivity are all coming together to help construction contractors, project managers, and subcontractors complete jobs more efficiently and safely. Here are seven areas where technology is making its way to the construction industry today.
The most beneficial improvements in the construction industry as far as technological advances are concerned is the use of specialized software to help run a more efficient business. Tracking payments to and from vendors and suppliers, keeping up to date with financial records, and ensuring the business is up to date with contractor licensing requirements are all possible with the right technology stack. Even surety bond agencies are making the digital move, allowing construction contractors the ability to quickly get the bond they need through a streamlined, online process. From any perspective, the use of technology is making the operation and ongoing management of a construction business far simpler.
Autonomous vehicles on both the consumer and business sides of the line have made headlines in recent years, but changes are coming to the construction industry as well. Thanks to advances technology, several start-up companies are focusing their digital know-how in developing autonomous equipment. Machines that can do significant, otherwise laborious jobs have the potential to reduce the overall cost of each project, without sacrificing the human workers needed for more detailed work.
Creative Material Use
There are several ways in which technology is allowing the construction industry to get more creative, especially when it comes to the materials used on the job. For instance, carbon fiber with the help of 3D printing is being used in producing wind turbine blades, while advanced lighting technology is being added to road construction projects around the world. These enhancements use available and upcoming technology to create a safer, more efficient environment for workers and ultimately, the people who will use the finished project.
Another area where construction is taking a digital leap is safety equipment. From hard hats to protective eyewear, companies are developing wearable technology that offers information about the safety level of the job site, potential hazards, and in some cases, details about how to most appropriately complete a task. Wearable technology has some way to go before it makes the mainstream in construction, but it is undoubtedly on the rise.
Drones have several use cases throughout the business world, and construction is included on that growing list. The use of drones on the job help construction contractors and project managers monitor progress of the work, along with subcontractor productivity along the way. Drones are also beneficial in delivering real-time information about upcoming weather and safety hazards that can create chaos on the job site.
Augmented reality, or AR, is making waves in construction because of its far-reaching impact. Several construction companies have started to use augmented reality technology as a method to identify potential safety issues before work begins or as it progresses. This has the potential to reduce delays on the job by eliminating hazards long before anyone starts working. The use of augmented reality also gives planners, developers, and architects the opportunity to work with construction contractors throughout a project. This collaborative environment gives all parties involves more peace of mind that the end result of the project will be the best possible outcome.
Using Big Data
Many industries have embraced the reality that information is king, and construction is falling in line quickly. Big data – information collected from multiple sources throughout a construction site or business – is being used in a variety of ways thanks to technology. For instance, the addition of data-collecting sensors on buildings gives construction contractors more information than they know what to do with. It can help with scheduling decisions, project progress and performance, and worker productivity. Additionally, big data can be used to reduce the overall cost of running a construction business. Everything from fuel costs, maintenance, construction equipment use, and inventory of materials can be monitored and reported back to the business in real-time. Construction contractors can use these crucial details to run a more efficient shop, potentially lowering the cost of doing business over time.
Overall, technology in construction has an opportunity to make a significant difference in the way projects are completed. No matter how big or small the scale of the work, the addition of technology can enhance efficiency while reducing costs across the board.
Author Bio: Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.