The Evolution of Construction Management: 5 Disruptive Technologies That Could Change the Game
If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backwards. The construction industry has been traditionally conservative when it comes to the adoption of new technologies, but forward-thinking operations are starting to embrace major transformation.
It’s natural to be reluctant to throw out the old ways in favour of untested ideas, but enterprises in 2018 must become agile if they wish to stay competitive. New concepts are changing the way we deliver construction projects worldwide, and the industry is taking note of the improvements in efficiency, safety, budget control and innovation that are on offer.
We’ve taken a closer look at five such technologies that are likely to play a major role in the near future of our industry.
Cloud Enabled Devices for Workflow Efficiency
In 2018, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a mobile phone that does not support cloud technology. Contractors and project managers can access repositories of data with ease, allowing them to double-check measurements and costs at the click of a button when on-site. This information can be useful at numerous points of a construction lifecycle, from visualisation during the planning phase or as a point of reference when inspecting work completed by contractors.
It’s not just on-site that cloud technology is valuable. Engineers, contractors, surveyors, architects and any other important stakeholder can stay connected in real-time thanks to the cloud. New programs that improve information transfer are always hitting the market; managers can control document delivery to ensure that everyone involved in a project only gets the information they need.
The Revival of Virtual and Augmented Reality
We’ve been hearing about VR and AR for some time now, and the technologies are starting to gain a foothold during numerous phases of complex builds. VR is essentially a simulated view of a real environment, whereas AR is a live, transposed view of a physical environment that is supplemented by sensory inputs generated by computer.
When it comes to construction, AR involves situating a 3D model of a planned design onto an existing space. Mobile devices can be used to view AR-enabled models, which can be a great help for those visualising a project or space planning.
VR and AR can be made available on a per-project basis, meaning the technology is within reach of smaller businesses and contractors looking to innovate. In a construction landscape that is once again embracing bold designs, AR may become a widely used tool by creators looking for affirmation that their carefully honed plans are feasible in the real world.
Drone Scanning to Avoid Environmental Oversight
There has been doubt in some parts about the value of drones in construction, but it’s hard to argue that the technology is rapidly improving. Drones can be used to quickly and accurately survey an entire building site, saving money on labour costs and removing margin for error. They can even be utilised for health and safety inspections and build progress reports.
While drones are predominantly used in major construction projects at present, expect to see them utilised in smaller builds going forward. Although some construction managers will remain wary of drones, it’s clear from their benefits that they are more than just a passing fad.
Wider Adoption of Building Information Modelling
CostX users will be very familiar with Building Information Modelling, but there are still pockets of the construction community that don’t know about the 3D model-based process.
BIM software offers value to construction managers at all levels of a build, from pre-planning through to final approval. 3D building information models can be utilised by engineers, designers and contractors alike to visualise and investigate different design options. An advanced BIM platform can allow users to accurately estimate costs and quantities through sophisticated digital data that is built into the model.
Big data and analytics play a vital role in many industries in 2018, but the construction industry has been slow to realise the potential. Forward-thinking adopters of BIM technology are leveraging all information at their disposal to reduce budgets and shorten deadlines.
BIM software is often scalable in 2018, bringing it within reach of smaller enterprises looking to stay competitive. As the industry evolves, BIM will become harder and harder to ignore.
Robotics and 3D Printing for Safety and Automation
Construction is a naturally dangerous profession, but the industry is turning towards robotics for certain jobs to keep workers safe. Multi-purpose robotics are increasingly used for risky jobs, allowing workers to turn their talents to more cognitive tasks.
3D printing has proven to be a useful technology for a wide range of applications. Everything from surgical implants to parts for automobiles and aerospace projects can be created from scratch using a 3D printer. When you consider the fact that a variety of metals, ceramics, mortars and concrete are suitable for 3D printing, the potential for the construction industry becomes clear.
Skilled labour shortages and the need to deliver projects to strict budgets means that automated production is on the rise. It’s not hard to see a future where the labour-intensive jobs in a construction build are achieved with the help of 3D printing.
Step into the Future Today
While some of these concepts are closer to delivery than others, it is evident that the future of construction will be influenced by technological advance. In the meantime, there are a range of options available to project managers hoping to achieve deadlines, manage budgets and look to the future.
Exactal offers an integrated software solution for construction managers who want to improve their productivity and collaboration. ConnectX supports cloud technology for mobile devices and is designed to work seamlessly with our BIM-enabled CostX platform, which provides world-leading construction estimating and takeoff in an integrated program.
ConnectX carries significant potential for cloud-based communication, quality assurance, document control and contract management. To organise a ConnectX demonstration for your business or to learn more about our platform training options, don’t hesitate to contact our team today. Click here to learn more about our extensive CostX range, which includes options for businesses of all sizes.