Construction Industry

Adopting technology in construction isn’t a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’. With the ability to improve efficiency, save costs, and push the boundaries of design to meet client demands, it’s become a staple in the world of construction that continues to see widespread uptake. But, how has the digital revolution really changed the way we build?

To learn more, we’ve taken a look at some of the leading construction technology and software solutions currently changing the game. 

1. AI Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into almost every industry worldwide, including structural engineering and construction. With wide-reaching applications, it brings many benefits to the table.

In terms of construction design,  for example, it can generate entire building plans in seconds based on key criteria. It can also improve existing designs for human use. For example, a designer can instruct AI to alter floorplans for more storage space, and AI will do it. 

A real-world use of AI for construction design was seen in the collaboration between Autodesk and Daisy AI Inc. The Daisy AI software was already able to automate timber floor layouts. The Autodesk team then used this foundation to build a prototype of a system that improved the designs of timber buildings. Combined, they provide architects with a tool that drastically improves generative design flow for better timber structures.

AI is also actively used on construction sites to improve safety. With machine learning (ML), AI can use past history to find tailored solutions for specific sites that address hazards before they turn into accidents.

It can also flag safety hazards, spot when protective gear isn’t worn properly, and gather data on the ground to report any potential hazards when building (like unstable surfaces). 

2. Building Information Modelling

Building information modelling (BIM) is a tool that enhances architectural designs, engineering, and construction processes. In simple terms, it’s a 3D model of a building.

But BIM is more than a basic image. It’s a collaborative tool that can use data to bring ideas to life, testing models before they’re finalised for actionable plans. 

Some of the benefits of BIM in the construction world include:

  • Improves the safety of buildings
  • Spots potential problems in the design phase (leading to quicker construction)
  • Allows for easy sharing of realistic plans with all involved parties
  • Makes it easy to evaluate the sustainability of buildings for more eco-friendly designs

BIM also works as a digital record after the building is finished. From maintenance planning to space management, the digital version of the construction becomes an invaluable tool for the performance of the building years down the line.

3. Automated Marketing Software 

Though a lot of innovation in construction refers to the design and building works themselves, it’s important not to forget the brands behind the builds.

Automated marketing software has made it simpler for smaller brands to get ahead, levelling the playing field with big-name competitors. Tasks that were laborious, required large teams and took a lot of time can now run in the background, leaving designers and builders more time to bring their work to life.

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, for example, make it easier for smaller construction companies to communicate with their audience. From sending out emails via segmented customer lists to generating targeted ads, all the data needed is maintained in the CRM for automatic rollout. 

Review management software is another key automation tool. By automatically sending review invites and posting them to relevant third parties, clients are better informed of which construction team they can trust. Businesses can also rank higher in Google with review software, giving smaller teams a bigger audience. 

4. Drone Technology

Almost 70% of construction teams plan on expanding their use of drones, making this one of the biggest technological advancements in the industry. But why?
Drones are a versatile tool in the building world, with a number of practical uses. They can move materials, for example, from one site to another with very little labour needed, speeding up construction and reducing the need for truck drivers. 

They can also conduct thorough aerial mapping. Before designing begins, the drone can map the site, pinpointing potential issues to consider and assessing the layout to create better architectural ideas for the space. 

This is also useful when choosing between different sites. With a birdseye view of the entire landscape, designers are given a much clearer idea of what they’re dealing with before they shake on a deal. 

Thermal drones can be used to assess the safety of machinery, too. When overheating is a problem, drones can alert staff to potential hazards and deploy solutions quickly, reducing the chance of breakdown or fire. 

5. XR Technology 

Extended reality (XR) technology is an umbrella term for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).

It has a wide range of uses in construction. VR headsets, for example, can be used to walk shareholders around a virtual project space, giving them a clear idea of the projected outcome of a build. An immersive experience with realistic imagery, it leads to more accurate project approval. 

AR, too, is being used in the design phase to create 3D models. By creating a digital, interactive copy of a space, designers and stakeholders can spin the building around for views from all angles, zoom in and out, and quickly try out different design solutions with better visual rendering. 

Other key applications of XR include:

  • Improved collaboration
  • Better safety training
  • Enhanced identification of potential hazards
  • Better progress capture

MR is an emerging technology, so it hasn’t seen quite as much use in the construction world. However, it does pose great potential for visualising complex construction projects in their physical space by merging digital and real-life elements.

Final Thoughts

Construction technology has entirely changed how architects, engineers, and construction teams bring projects to life. From the futuristic capabilities of AI and ML to the quickly adopted drone technology, the world of building is a different space to the one we saw just a few decades ago.

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