Estimating and Preconstruction

New Tech in Construction: 3 Trends You Need to Know

By November 15, 2021 No Comments

There are three technological advancements emerging in the construction industry that are producing faster, higher quality, more economical, and safer projects. Check out how these tools and methods are making our industry better.

Drones

black and white drone against a blue sky and clouds

Drones are an increasingly popular tool within construction.

An owner wants to build an office tower on a site that overlooks a river. On the site, today is a dilapidated warehouse with a collapsing roof. Before starting construction, a survey is needed to assess the condition of the existing building and examine the slope of the land.

Instead of hiring a team to survey the site and risk their personal safety on the roof, a drone can photograph the site from multiple angles, and tag the photos with GPS coordinates. After stitching the photos together with a software program, drone images can create 2D and 3D maps.

Drones are far less expensive than a helicopter or surveyor’s manual inspection. Drones provide a safer alternative, especially for hard-to-reach areas like condemned roofs and riverbeds. Drones allow for greater accessibility through maps that can be uploaded to a portal where project teams and stakeholders can evaluate progress. Drones allow for a faster and more accurate collection of images, which benefits project teams, owners, and stakeholders.

Modular Construction

Modular construction is a method where building components are manufactured off-site, in a climate-controlled environment, and then transferred to be assembled on-site. Modular construction was an answer to the post-World War II housing boom, but the number of factory-manufactured buildings declined as customer perceptions shifted. Today modular construction is rising in popularity because of its speed, safety, efficiency, and reduced cost.

A McKinsey study found that modular construction leads to 20-50% faster schedules. Modular construction, or prefabrication, offers a streamlined approach: components can be produced simultaneously instead of sequentially. Working conditions are safer, as components are built in a climate-controlled environment: glaziers can install window panels on the ground instead of 16 stories in the air. Construction inside of a factory eliminates inclement weather damage to materials, leading to less material and financial waste. The modular construction market is poised for explosive growth due to its speed, safety, efficiency, and reduced cost.

Contextual Data

Contextual data is the application of information surrounding a project. In the office tower example, contextual data examples might include the owner’s activity and the building’s environmental factors.

Click here to read How to Use Contextual Data to Inform Project Decisions.

What conferences did the owner attend? What have they posted on social media? What previous projects have they done, and what was the budget? What will the weather be like during construction? Will there be supply chain issues in that location?

iPad displaying a pie chart, regional map, and graph

Contextual data is critical to success in both construction and preconstruction.

These are examples of contextual data. By taking all of the factors around the project into account, contextual data creates better decisions and greater trust with owners.

The use of drones, modular construction, and contextual data is already starting to make an impact on the construction industry, with enormous potential to move the industry forward.

What new construction technology are you excited about? Leave a comment below.

 

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