The need for new homes is constantly growing, but advancements in technology can help streamline the building process. These tools also make construction safer. Collecting data helps to make smarter decisions about structural layouts and materials. With that in mind, here are seven technologies using interesting mechanisms or data-analysis tools to expand the construction industry.
1. 3D Printing
3D printing involves making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model. It uses a layering method to create the desired object. This can help contractors build more-solid structures. 3D printing can conserve materials and make buildings safer. The process only uses as much material as needed and reduces the chance of human error.
Also, the resulting structures have a more flexible design. For example, you can make a complex design in any shape. With a more efficient process, you can save time and money and ultimately build more homes, reducing the current housing shortage.
The challenge is that 3D printing is expensive and therefore limited to municipal entities and some private corporations. Many states have rules and permit requirements for purchases. Plus, there is a higher cost for these machines and it requires specialized labor.
2. Wearable Devices
Being connected to your projects can improve efficiency. Wearable technology is powered by microprocessors and sends and receives internet data. You can wear them, embed them in fabric, or even tattoo them directly on your skin. These devices can keep you updated on the building process in real-time.
It also helps workers in the office and on the construction site communicate. Everyone can then analyze data and respond appropriately. Wearables also ensure that all moving parts of the project are in place and accounted for. Some examples of these include smart glasses and wearable sensors.
Smart glasses share data streams to connect employees in different locations. This allows someone in the office to guide a person in the field through a complex procedure. This can also save time and prevent accidental injuries.
Wearable sensors also help with safety. A tracking device alerts the supervisor if an unauthorized person tries to operate a machine. Just keep in mind this technology is expensive and could cause security risks.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality
These two terms may sound the same, but they vary slightly. Augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements into your live view. These elements often come from your camera or smartphone. Virtual reality (VR) replaces your real-life environment with a completely simulated one.
Augmented reality can help solve problems. For example, it can analyze tasks and repairs. Designers can place decor images next to each other to ensure they match. Augmented reality can also help with on-site measurement and worker training.
Virtual reality is helpful in the preconstruction phase as well. It helps engineers visualize building plans. They can test out ideas and see what works beforehand. Then, builders waste fewer materials and create solid structures.
It also allows contractors to detect problems earlier. Suppose you notice the HVAC system isn’t correctly heating the whole house. You can replace certain parts to increase efficiency. This will save expenses, help the environment, and keep clients happier.
4. Robotic Technology
Robots aren’t replacing workers but can help streamline processes. There are four main types:
- Self-driving construction vehicles
- Humanoid laborers.
Industrial robots are used in manufacturing projects. They often resemble a human arm and can be used in assembling products or welding. Drones are powered by aerial capabilities and provide real-time updates on construction projects. They can help with 3D mapping and monitoring work sites.
Self-driving construction vehicles, such as dozers, can reduce human error while humanoid laborers complete human tasks, reducing the impact of the current labor shortage in construction. They can help use power tools safely or install drywall.
This technology can help with any automated tasks, such as budgeting. You can also use them for problem solving. Use the machines to repair hard-to-reach or dangerous places on a roof. The robots can also help with building components off-site and handling materials.
5. Cloud-Based Software
These tools can help make collaboration easier. Some companies still use paper-based reporting. However, mobile and digital options are more efficient. It allows all the essential data to remain in one secure location.
Cloud-based tools can aid in this task. Use the software to capture client data, communicate design plans, and assign tasks. Also, having the team on the same page makes the project go faster and prevents accidents.
Another significant benefit of this technology is storage mobility. You can manage your business from anywhere with an internet connection. Also, when you move things to the cloud, you reduce IT expenses, such as costly server updates.
Since technology can save you time and money, finding the right platform is essential.
When choosing software, consider the following factors:
- Cost: Determine your current computing costs, including software licensing and hardware. Then compare the cloud service price with your needs.
- Support: Is there a 24/7 customer service line? Choose a provider that is accessible and can resolve issues quickly.
- Ease of use: Choose a program with a straightforward and easy-to-use interface. First, consider testing out a free demo.
- Safety and security: Security is essential in any business. Therefore, look for a provider that will encrypt your data and provide data-leak prevention.
- Reliability: Find a provider that offers service priority and uses multiple network paths. That way, you know you always have access to essential data.
- Compatibility: You want a service that grows with your business. Thoroughly read and understand the service level agreement before signing anything.
6. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI uses machines that mimic human intelligence and perform a variety of tasks. It provides many uses in construction, including increasing safety and improving workflows. These machines can perform jobs quicker and more efficiently than humans. So, they can help with routine tasks, such as removing debris. Here are a few more benefits of AI in construction:
- AI increases design flexibility.
- It allows for hands-off project management.
- Moreover, it reduces staffing challenges.
- Finally, it increases safety.
Some businesses have built their own AI programs and others rely on third parties. In fact, having in-house systems can help with making smarter internal decisions.
7. Building Information Modeling (BIM) Software
BIM is a 3D design and modeling platform allowing engineers, architects, and contractors to collaborate. It provides a space where each person can add their expertise to the plan.
This improves efficiency and saves time. It also helps you see if any ideas clash before moving forward with construction. Plus, everyone is on the same page about the overall structure.
BIM is becoming more global, with projects in India, Hong Kong, and France. Indeed, it is one of the trends that will directly impact the building industry.
Advancements in Building Technology
With shortages in the housing market, new construction is always needed. As technology advances, it can help streamline the planning and building of structures. Watch for these tools on the horizon.
In case you have any architectural, structural, and MEP design including fire sprinkler design requirements, or need an ADU including structure, and HVAC design, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24 for your request.
Rose is the managing editor of Renovated. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.