What technology trends will you adopt for your construction business this year? While the industry has a reputation for being resistant to technology, tech nevertheless continues to make headway. From improving safety and performance to boosting production and accuracy, tech in the construction industry is here to stay.
1. 3D Printing
Expect to see continued growth in the use of 3-D printing -- both on-site and off. According to 3D Natives, the market for 3D concrete printing is expected to jump to $56.4 million by 2021. Using 3D printing increases versatility because companies can either fabricate components directly on-site or prefabricate them off-site. Labor, material costs and waste are reduced using 3D printing.
2. Prefabricated and Modular Solutions
Piggybacking on the previous trend is the growth of prefabricated and modular solutions. These prefabs aren't a new introduction to the construction industry, but they are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Improvements in both construction and design -- 3D printing is just one example -- make it easier for buildings and other components to be completed off-site before being moved. This allows buildings and projects to be completed more quickly.
3. Virtual Reality
You might think virtual reality is the stuff of science fiction movies and video games, but it's making a huge impact on other industries right now as well. As buildings become more complex, it takes special technology to assist construction teams and architects to find and fix design errors before moving on to the next step.
Interactive design can provide a real-time and permanent record of a building to aid in future construction projects. Engineers, service workers and maintenance personnel can see through materials and walls to better determine how to move a project forward.
Robots are another trend that actually has a long history within a number of industries. Look for an explosion in the use of robots in a range of diverse construction industries including highway construction, bricklaying and more. Using robots has been shown to increase the quality of the buildings and improve production times.
5. Building Information Modeling
Building information modeling (BIM) is a model-based process that uses 3D and intelligent technology to both create the information needed for construction projects and manage it more efficiently. BIM is quickly becoming the standard that local municipalities insist on using because it allows them to more efficiently design, plan and manage construction projects.
Many of the above-mentioned technologies can -- and do -- work together to provide the construction industry of today with the tools it needs to meet the challenges its faces. For example,Â using 3D modeling to create prefab buildings could help alleviate the housing shortages faced by many cities. Robots combined with virtual reality technology can help address labor shortages faced by the industry or complete those job elements that are deemed too risky for human beings. It's safe to say that the industry's reliance on technology is only going to grow in 2020 and beyond.