Over the past few years, there have been a number of significant new trends in the construction industry. New platforms and software solutions, often from startups in the form of Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Building Information Modelling have brought construction into the digital era.
Green Technology has helped to make construction sites more sustainable and adapt to often complicated and evolving local laws. There have also been improvements in safety due to the introduction of robotics and exoskeleton suits.
Below are a few examples of innovations happening across the construction sector:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI benefits the construction industry in many ways. It increases accuracy, reduces costs, and speeds up the planning process. The German startup Building Radar even uses AI to look for new properties in Europe for example. Incorporated AI increases productivity as machines are able to recognise patterns and solve problems without having to be reprogrammed.
The more data and knowledge they have the more complicated tasks they can perform. Cost overruns can be predicted by artificial neural networks for example, which means budgeting forecasts can be more accurately calculated.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR has been implemented as a handy planning tool in the construction industry. With the integration of 3D models of terrain and buildings, you get an accurate and realistic picture of how new structures will fit into their surroundings. You can even include the existing underground infrastructure. There are several kinds of augmented reality apps available for construction.
Many within the sector seek to digitise aspects of the business, beyond the typical tenancy agreements and templates currently used. One way it is seeking to do this is by digitising the floor plans of its properties. By doing this on existing and new developments the business will be able to utilise both virtual reality and augmented reality software in order to better market the developments and help potential clients visualise themselves within the space.
Many of the large-scale property developers within the residential construction space are looking to digitise their floorplans using virtual reality software.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
BIM technology reduces risks and costs in planning. It’s essentially the process of creating and managing information digitally across a construction project’s life-cycle. BIM allows problems to be solved virtually before they end up causing issues on the actual construction site. It’s basically a virtual 3D model of the project that involves everyone from the architect to the owner.
BIM facilitates the interaction and sharing of information from all perspectives at the early planning stages. It’s supported by digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places, so that construction companies can get a clearer idea. It can also give an accurate estimation of the materials needed to complete a project.
The construction industry is responsible for almost 38% of the world’s emissions. Green construction focuses on changing building projects to make them more sustainable. It’s important to be resource-efficient across all areas. Different materials such as self-healing asphalt are becoming more widely used.
Green construction also focuses on making buildings that will last longer, and that are economically and environmentally efficient.
Exoskeleton suits are so cutting edge that they’re still being developed. By 2025, it has been predicted that there will be over 2 million of them on the market. Their purpose is to aid workers with carrying heavy equipment more safely.
Companies such as Ranger also provide state-of-the-art lifting and rigging equipment for bigger jobs. It’s vital for health and safety reasons to find new ways to protect workers. Back injuries due to heavy lifting are very common in the construction industry. The introduction of drone-based robotics has also helped monitor accidents on construction sites.