Impact of Technology on the Construction Industry

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Technology in the Construction Industry

Technology is helping a lot of industries to improve their processes and productivity. So, the construction industry is no exception. Technology construction industry is regarded as one of the most information-intensive industries as a lot of processes require a real-time and extensive exchange of information between workers and stakeholders. Using the right technology at the right time is crucial to achieving the time, cost, and quality objectives of your construction project.

Assignar

It is vital that companies evaluate their technological needs before opting for a solution. One of the biggest limitations for any technology construction industry is the software they use on a single computer. You can just access information from one location. Cloud-based software has significantly opened new horizons. It also allows remote access to information without it being tied to a specific geographical location. An example of a cloud-based solution is Assignar which offers compliance and workplace management for contractors working in the heavy construction and transport industry. Companies such as UGL Limited, John Holland, and Perfect Contracting have successfully implemented and are happy using their services.

Assignar provides features like work allocation, timesheets, license and competency management as well as payroll integration. The tool was initially designed internally for ‘infraworks’ to be kept on the shelf. But due to high demand from subcontractors, it was rolled. Their package includes a mobile application that lets managers capture safety-related information about their fieldworkers.

QR Codes

Recent technological advances have made the construction industry and especially sites more productive and less stressful. Construction projects involve a lot of machinery transporting to the site which creates a risk of misplacing or stealing of machinery, costing companies millions each year. These machines also pose a safety hazard if left unattended. In response to these issues, construction companies are implementing bar-codes / QR Codes on their equipment to solve this issue. Just by scanning these codes with digital readers at the beginning and end of each workday, companies are able to track their equipment better.

Telematics

Telematics, which is a combination of words Telecommunications and Informatics, goes a step further by monitoring machines in real-time. This technology construction industry lets managers know exactly where their machine is. If it is being used and if it’s in need of service. Two major benefits of this technology are streamlining resource allocation and reducing theft. The data received from Telematics can also be used to reduce idle time. This wastes fuel and causes equipment wear. Wacker Neuson Telematic provides a similar GPS positioning solution for construction machines. Their system not only provides the operating time of construction machines but also information on GPS location and operating conditions. JDLink is another Telematics system that connects workers and managers remotely to their equipment.

Smart wearable sensors

One way for tracking workers is using smart wearable sensors. It has a positive impact on the construction industry, especially in terms of workplace safety. Several companies are now putting smart sensors in their workers’ boots, helmets, and wristwatches. It is to get real-time data on the employee’s health and safety. For example, hard helmet sensors can alert managers in the event of an incident occurring. These helmets can monitor employees’ health in extreme outdoor environments using sweatband sensors. It measures the heart rate and temperature of the wearer.

In the future, we can expect these helmets to smart and include augmented reality where workers can safely map their environment and monitor metrics. This will ensure that the workers understand the processes more quickly. They also spend less time on each step making fewer errors. A Los Angeles-based start-up – Daqri has designed a similar model. Boot sensors can monitor how long workers have been on their feet. It allows them to track the amount of time spent between breaks. Similarly, harness sensors can monitor the number of workers on site. They also notify managers in case there is a sudden drop in height indicating a worker has taken a fall.

Drone

Quite often, it is very difficult for workers to undertake tasks in awkward and dangerous places. Instead of using expensive surveying tools and heavy machinery, cheap drones can be useful to quickly survey the site and build maps. These flying gadgets installed with high-resolution cameras are already forming an integral part of the business operations of some innovative construction firms. With the advancement in 3d Modelling technology and extreme resolution cameras, 3D models of construction sites can be designed in no time. A company can also use this technology as a marketing tool enabling them to create a buzz about their company using interesting imagery and videography captured.

They can also use Drones to keep a schedule on track and reduce downtime, ensuring the efficiency of workers onsite. Detailed shots taken from a drone can keep stakeholders constantly up to date on the progress of a project. The larger the construction site the more helpful a drone can be at monitoring the project. However, most companies are still reluctant to use this technology due to its potential for hacking or loss of power. This could result in personal injury, physical damage, or even death.

Some other technological trend would be 3D printing. This will allow building parts or entire buildings manufacturing using concrete printing technologies. Also, it powered robotic exoskeletons which are completely fit for workers to boost strength.  Companies can also use smart metering to help alter their water and energy consumption habits.

Job loss

With all of these developments in the technology construction industry, there is one major drawback that will have a profound effect on the industry in the future. That is job losses arising from the decline in demand for manual labour. A recent estimation made by CEDA is that as many as 40% (5 Million) of Australian jobs are at high risk of redundancy from new technologies in the next 10 to 15 years. Smart affordable machines will take over many areas of manual work. According to the report, white-collar worker roles are at high risk due to advances in the field of artificial intelligence. There are a lot of jobs that engineers, surveyors, and designers have undertaken. The jobs that machines have already done them. They have already used robotics in the construction industry to weld structural steel for buildings. They make it faster, more accurate, and more efficient.

Google has built its first quantum computer that is 100 million times faster than digital computers. It will be able to work alongside humans and undertake the most creative tasks and decisions. They will be able to communicate and learn as they go.

Conclusion

In conclusion, whilst we believe that machines will take the place of manual jobs, technology will create more jobs than it will destroy. By creating alternate departments, where decision-making and human involvement are crucial. Hence, construction companies should consider investing in upcoming technological trends. It is to reduce their long-term cost. It also helps to be more productive and get a competitive edge in the market.