Every day we are seeing how new technology is helping to improve our lives through making tasks easier. One industry that is considerably being impacted by the new wave of technology is the construction industry. From using software to get instant access to important documents to using autonomous equipment to perform excavation on site, construction technology is allowing construction companies and their employees to work much more efficient and effective than ever before.
Below we’ll walk you through what construction technology is and talk about some of the latest trends in the industry. We’ll also go over just how construction technologies are impacting the industry in all its forms.
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What is Construction Technology
So what is construction technology? According to CII, construction technology refers to the collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, etc. used during the construction phase of a project that enables advancement in field construction methods, including semi-automated and automated construction equipment. Construction technology is used for all kinds of different projects, ranging from small residential houses to massive industrial plants.
Some of the latest trends in construction technology include the increased use of prefabricated parts, using computers to design buildings, and using green technology to construct eco-friendly structures.
From the initial planning to the actual construction process, there are many careers associated with improving the industry. Some of the main jobs associated with contech are construction managers, project managers, building inspectors, cost estimators, architects, civil engineers, and skilled laborers like plumbers, brick-layers, and carpenters. However, a lot of these jobs require certain education requirements. Skilled laborers can learn their way through trade schools, and tons of universities across the world offer students degree programs in construction technology fields like construction management, engineering, and architecture.
The Changing Industry
Year after year, new technological advances are improving the construction industry, allowing for the construction of bigger, taller, and stronger structures In the past, equipment like mobile apps, drones, and virtual reality were considered future technology, but are now present on construction sites around the world.
Construction technology has a bright future too, as investments in the industry have totaled more than $4 billion in the last 10 years. Below we’ve highlighted how construction technology has drastically improved productivity, safety and training, and the labor shortage ordeal among graduates:
One way construction firms are improving productivity is through offsite construction. This method is mainly used on construction projects that have consistent layouts like apartment buildings, hospitals, and schools. Offsite construction reduces waste and increases worker productivity through creating an environment similar to a manufacturing plant.
There are two forms of offsite construction: modular and prefabrication. Modular construction is where workers will build entire rooms equipped with all appliances offsite before the section is transported, inserted, and attached to the building. Prefabrication is similar to modular construction where components are built off of the job site in a similar fashion, but rather than rooms the components are usually sections like frames, wall panels, and floor systems.
Safety and Training
Another way construction technologies are changing the industry is through improvements in safety and training. New technology like virtual reality and augmented reality are helping to improve safety by allowing workers in the construction field to practice being in certain potentially dangerous environments like operating cranes and other heavy machinery to performing welding work.
Wearables are also being used to improve worker safety by monitoring their movements and helping to define construction site hazards at the job site. Geofencing allows safety supervisors to establish restricted areas that alert workers when they have walked into hazardous zones, and e-textiles can monitor important measures like heart rate and skin temperature on workers. These wearables will allow supervisors and workers to help prevent and predict an accident before it happens.
With the lack of skilled laborers in the industry right now, construction technology is allowing companies to do more with less by saving on labor costs through using robots, machine learning, and autonomous heavy machinery. Robots are good at doing simple repetitive tasks like tying rebar and bricklaying, but they don’t need to take breaks or get sleep to perform at their best, meaning the job can get done faster.
The same is true for autonomous equipment. Sensors, GPS, and geo-fencing allow autonomous equipment to perform nonstop excavation and grading work throughout the day, while also eliminating the need for an operator.
From reading this article, you should have a much better idea as to what is contech. Keep in mind that construction technology is constantly changing the industry, so be sure to keep up with the latest trends, and research into how advances in technology could help your construction company to increase productivity, improve worker safety and training, and reduce the cost of labor.
FAQs: What is Construction Technology and How Does It Shape The Industry
What is construction technology?
- Construction technology, often referred to as contech, encompasses a collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, and more used during the construction phase of a project to advance field construction methods. This includes the use of semi-automated and automated construction equipment and various technological solutions.
What are some of the latest trends in construction technology?
- Recent trends in construction technology include the increased use of prefabricated parts, computer-aided design (CAD) for building design, and the integration of green technology to construct eco-friendly structures.
What careers are associated with construction technology?
- Several careers are associated with construction technology, including construction managers, project managers, building inspectors, cost estimators, architects, civil engineers, and skilled laborers such as plumbers, bricklayers, and carpenters. Many of these jobs may require specific education and training.
How has construction technology changed the industry?
- Construction technology has brought significant changes to the industry by improving productivity, safety, and training. It has enabled offsite construction methods, the use of virtual reality and augmented reality for safety and training, and the introduction of wearables for monitoring worker safety. Additionally, it has allowed companies to address labor shortages by employing robots, machine learning, and autonomous heavy machinery.
How is offsite construction improving productivity?
- Offsite construction, including modular and prefabrication methods, is enhancing productivity by reducing waste and creating an environment similar to a manufacturing plant. Workers can build entire rooms or components with appliances offsite before transporting and attaching them to the building, which streamlines the construction process.
How is construction technology enhancing safety and training?
- Construction technology is improving safety and training by introducing virtual reality and augmented reality tools that allow workers to practice potentially dangerous tasks, such as operating heavy machinery, in a controlled virtual environment. Wearables, including geofencing and e-textiles, help monitor worker movements, identify hazards, and monitor important health metrics, contributing to a safer work environment.
How is construction technology addressing labor shortages?
- With a shortage of skilled laborers, construction technology is helping companies do more with less by employing robots, machine learning, and autonomous heavy machinery. Robots can perform simple, repetitive tasks efficiently without breaks, and autonomous equipment equipped with sensors, GPS, and geo-fencing can work continuously, reducing the need for human operators.
What should businesses in the construction industry do to keep up with the changes brought about by construction technology?
- To stay competitive and efficient, construction companies should stay updated with the latest trends in construction technology. They should also explore how technological advances can increase productivity, enhance worker safety and training, and reduce labor costs in their specific operations.