Modern technology is constantly changing faster than anything else on the planet.
From making our home lives easier to changing how we run entire countries. Construction technology is growing faster than ever and quickly overtaking many industries for its innovation and implementation.
From heightening health and safety to creating faster communication, new technology trends are being seized to create a better future on the building site.
But what exactly are the top technology trends in 2020 for the construction industry and how are these helping everybody, from engineers, architects, managers and labourers? UK Connect discusses the top ten trends of 2020.
What exactly is big data? This relates to mass volumes of both structured and unstructured information that traditional databases would struggle to comprehend.
While a data forward human mind could interpret this, it is incredibly time-consuming and as this data is constantly being stored and updated, the job never really is complete.
Using technology to analyse this data can help to implement procedures. The use of data from weather, traffic and the environment can be analysed quickly to produce actionable insights to improve efficiency on the construction site.
AI and ML are programmes that are created to act like the human brain. This means they are learning from previous experience to create better results.
The construction industry is making good use of this technology to help increase the lifespan of a building, making sure electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems don’t clash are a perfect example of this.
It can also be used to leverage automation for relative tasks, which in turn increases productivity.
Repetitive tasks are frequent in the construction industry and IOT can help. The Internet of Things simply refers to everything that is connected to the internet, from our laptops to smart devices such as watches, smartphones and speakers.
With all these devices connected, it enables data to be collected and analysed to create an actionable plan.
Smart machinery can learn from this to increase productivity and efficiency while performing repetitive tasks. A big bonus is that this also reduces the carbon footprint.
It can even check workers in, track footfall and perform inductions. A crucial advantage of IOT is that it can use geo-location tracking technology to identify hazards and therefore ensure the safety of workers and the public.
We are all familiar with robotics and drones, but they are no longer just an at-home hobby. Cameras affixed to drones can give a quick overview of a worksite and can identify hazards.
They can also be used to deliver materials and tools quickly and efficiently, reducing the wasted time waiting for these to be delivered with conventional methods.
Bricklaying robots are becoming more common, they increase speed and productivity as well as quality, not to mention the saved cost of labourers.
Communication is key in every industry and making sure this is as fast as possible is crucial. 5G and wi-fi 6 is increasingly more popular than fixed lines.
By using 5G and wi-fi 6 on construction sites, it enables communication to be carried out uninterrupted and reduces installation times of networks while still providing the level of service needed.
As this can reduce man-hour work by 20% and increase productivity up to x 27, this is one of the most popular construction technology trends.
BIM is a tool that uses intelligence for 3D modelling in the planning process. Most frequently used by architects, engineers and construction professionals.
BIM helps to plan and modify a building’s infrastructure. Not only does this eradicate the arduous tasks of hand-drawing plans, but it also allows these professionals to easily collaborate.
Plans can be shared instantaneously throughout teams and its intelligent technology can detect any clashes and create solutions for problems.
Long gone are the days when VR and AR were just for the gaming industry. It is becoming mainstream throughout many businesses and the world of construction is taking full advantage.
VR provides a full immersion experience, while AR incorporates digital elements into a live view.
They can be used to provide virtual tours of buildings before construction has even begun while bringing teams in any location into the same space.
This provides a chance for real-time feedback on the design and helps to prevent dissatisfied clients from being produced something unexpected.
Hazard simulation can aid with risk assessments and can also be used as a training tool to increase health and safety standards.
3D printers are becoming increasingly popular across the world. They provide a vital service, from designing a computerised 3D model to realising the design itself.
These models can be printed on and off-site for immediate use. 3D printers reduce waste, saves time waiting for deliveries and reduces the carbon footprint of these deliveries.
The initial purchase of a 3D printer is costly but will quickly reduce outgoings in the long run and is a worthwhile investment.
The construction industry is infamous for being one of the least digitalised. It is only recently that this has begun to change as there is finally the technology to handle the demands of the sector.
Cloud-based technology allows data to be accessed remotely and at any time while remaining secure.
This means teams and collaborators can now share data in real-time and sign off projects and tasks with ease and speed.
Created in 2008, blockchain technology has only recently taken off within the construction world.
This is the use of digital currency, most commonly known as Bitcoin or Etherium. It provides error-free contract generation across the world.
All parties involved understand the terms of the contract and it means payment will be safely delivered when a project or task is completed.
It provides peace of mind for suppliers, contractors and clients. The worry of a ‘cowboy builder’ who takes money and does not complete the job is gone.
For almost every element of construction, there is new technology constantly being developed, implemented and improved. While current technology may seem advanced, it can age at an immense speed and it will be interesting to see what will be the newest trends in a decade.