In these days of significant disruption, today’s construction professionals are becoming better than ever in their ability to react to any situation. As the pandemic continues to make its presence felt, construction firms continue to deal with the same issues every industry faces, including social distancing requirements, resource shifting, supply chain breaks, teleworking, cash flow, and the list goes on.
Entering 2021, the construction industry again will turn to one of its most valued allies—technology. According to a recent report by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), nearly 30% of commercial construction firms invest in technology to supplement their team’s responsibilities.
As an industry that at one time seemed neglected by the technology world, a string of advancements geared toward improving workflow, productivity, scheduling, communications, connectivity, and safety, among others. Here’s a look at some of the areas that commercial construction professionals are paying it forward with technology:
COVID-19 added another item to the already demanding safety list for today’s construction professionals, quickly becoming the top concern on jobsites. A series of ever-changing adjustments to mitigate the disease’s spread continues to demand attention, along with enhanced cleanliness protocols (masks, hand sanitizer, etc.) to keep equipment and gear clean. Systems to organize and monitor staggered shifts to keep sites less crowded are key.
While Zoom, Dropbox, and Slack are not technologies exclusive to the construction industry, they have been vital communication assets (pre and) during the pandemic. A messaging/team productivity platform, Slack enables construction professionals to stay in step, while Dropbox’s file storing and sharing platform keeps jobsite data secure. The darling of the pandemic era, Zoom continues to be an invaluable asset to keep teams connected virtually when their physical presence is compromised.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
According to an Accenture report, artificial intelligence can potentially increase industry profits by 71% by 2035. With many AI platforms capable of optimizing construction workflow in communication, data, and transparency, more construction firms are looking for ways to incorporate artificial intelligence into their day-to-day processes.
Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR)
Mirroring the advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) continue to attract construction teams’ interest by bringing digital elements to a jobsite in real-time.
Immersive Virtual Reality (IR)
If you combine VR and AR, you get Immersive Virtual Reality. The technology delivers real benefits to businesses, particularly those relying on cross-departmental collaboration to get things done. In the near future, construction teams can jump inside designs from any location, quickly iterate on concepts, share work, and leave feedback.
Even before the pandemic, drones became an invaluable part of the construction professional’s toolkit, giving them aerial insights into safety issues, site material quantity checks, inspections, etc.
Improving quality control, addressing skilled labor shortages, and exploring more intricate designs. If you were looking for ways to increase your success in these areas, 3D printing holds the key. While the technology has been around for some time, its construction applications have yet to reach their fullest potential. Some of its benefits include zero-waste construction, time and cost reduction, and the support it lends to unusual designs.
The commercial construction world’s future is filled with continued opportunities for firms willing to think outside of the box. These are just a handful of the many advancements that give construction professionals options to meet their scheduling and budgetary goals.