Over the last decade, the construction industry has seen a number of promising trends that hope to revolutionize the way we build things. These emerging technologies aim to improve the construction industry from the planning stage down to setting the last nail. These advancements are anchored on sustainability, efficiency, and safety.
7 Tech Trends to Watch Out this New Year
As the construction industry become more open to new developments, every construction firm must stay up-to-date. Below we take a look at some notable trends to watch out for this coming 2020.
Virtual reality (VR)
Virtual reality (VR), alongside augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), is a major trend that affects the construction industry. These technologies help engineers, architects and construction companies improve plans, identify design flaws, analyze potential problems, and systematize implementation.
As today’s building designs become more complex, gesture interfacing and interactive design technologies prove vital. These tools are expected to advance further and play a crucial role in the building sector in the next year and beyond.
Practical applications of VR in construction engineering include HVAC system design and troubleshooting, 3D modeling, BIM visualization, building maintenance, and project presentation.
Although the global 3D printing market is still in its infancy, it is expected to grow rapidly by 22.56 percent per year and will reach around 35.6 billion US dollars by 2024. It is now used in various industries and the building industry is not exempted.
Various contractors now explore and use this technology in manufacturing prefabricated and modular construction elements. It offers cost-effectiveness, in terms of logistics, materials, and labor. It also increases flexibility by enabling off-site and on-site construction. Furthermore, 3D printing reduces waste and limitations due to manpower limitations.
Apis Cor is a leading innovator that pioneered 3D printing in the building industry. According to their website, they have developed specialized, mobile equipment that is capable of fully printing a house in just 24-hours. Many other companies are now exploring ways to incorporate this technology into their projects.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or drones
Drones are among the most beneficial technologies used in the construction industry. As drone technology advances, it has become more affordable and accessible for general use.
These versatile gadgets are used by engineers, architects, property developers, and construction teams for surveying. Drones prove vital in information gathering, such as identifying potential hazards, terrain problems, and monitoring work progress. Aside from information gathering, drones help ensure efficiency, accuracy, and safety on the job site.
Drone technology is seen to advance further in the upcoming year with better, bespoke features that are in line with a company’s specific construction needs. Experienced Florida general constructors consider UAVs as an essential gadget in their arsenal allowing them to plan more effectively.
Sustainability will continue to be a major trend in the construction industry. Building regulations place more burdens on engineers and construction companies to minimize environmental impact and ensure sustainability. Stricter implementation of these laws will greatly impact how we build.
New and innovative building methodologies are aimed at optimizing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and minimizing construction waste.
Today’s buildings are designed to ensure better thermal performance through the use of well-insulated materials. These building materials promise a fraction of the cost of today’s building materials. A practical example is the use of concrete roofing material that is able to capture solar energy.
Reusable and recyclable construction materials will greatly improve the sustainability of the industry. The year 2020 will see a ton of new reusable building materials that can potentially rival the current inventory.
Prefabricated and modular construction
Efficiency remains a major focus in the construction industry – and prefab design tops the list. Although this technology is not new (originally popularized during the post-World War), it has made a comeback in recent years.
The prefab and modular approach provide high quality, standardized and faster assembly methods. It is increasingly used in both domestic and commercial building projects and is perceived to address the shortage of workers.
The year 2020 promises a renaissance for this construction method as developers and construction companies set up their own factories of modular materials.
The exoskeleton is a futuristic tech trend that will potentially benefit the construction site workforce. Imagine laborers wearing ‘Iron Man’ suits. Industrial exoskeletons work like these suits enhancing the capabilities of the fragile human bodies. It is considered the future of physical labor.
Construction companies will benefit from this technology as it will significantly improve productivity, safety, and efficiency of laborers. As the benefits of the robotic exoskeleton are unveiled, more and more construction companies are seen to utilize them. In fact, the exoskeleton market is estimated to grow to 1.8 billion US dollars by 2025.
Building information modeling (BIM)
Widely adopted by engineers, architects and construction teams, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that uses various technologies and tools to generate and manage the digital representation of a project.
Current BIM software is utilized in diverse physical construction projects such as buildings, roads, electricity, water, and more.
BIM is not only helpful to contractors but also to end-users as it can help them plan and manage their infrastructure. Due to its benefits, many local authorities have made BIM the standard for its construction project needs.
Implications for construction companies
Startups are leveraging on innovative and promising new technologies. They are aggressively transforming the landscape. Construction companies that rely on traditional construction methods and business models must keep up with these emerging new technologies.