Top Construction Technology Trends for 2020
A new decade is upon us and it’s set to usher in a wave of innovative new technologies. Many of these tech advancements will change the way we work and how construction projects are completed. In our first blog for the year (and the new decade!) we take a look at the big tech developments that will affect us most in 2020.
1. Construction Project Management Software
The construction industry remains one of the least digitised sectors in the world. While it’s true the industry has been slow to adopt new technology, it’s also fair to say many project management solutions have failed to meet the industry’s needs. Why? Many system providers never fully understood the common problems faced or how to make processes or workflows better. Thankfully this is starting to change. More advanced construction project management software solutions are becoming available and revolutionising the way things are done. By harnessing cloud-connectivity and offering tools such as real-time collaboration, project management, time-tracking and on-site support functionality, this tech will become the backbone of the industry.
Cloud systems and mobile apps that connect your teams and allow critical data to be shared securely at any time, from any place, are now a reality. From one central platform, systems like Nexvia enable the entire construction process to be managed from start to finish. Projects can be tracked in real-time and problems identified and nullified as soon as they arise. Connecting the office and building sites, and enabling secure and reliable collaboration, means everyone can view and access the same information without delay. This leads to better decision-making, less risk, greater transparency and ultimately more profitable outcomes for your business.
3. Robotics and Automation
The robots are coming! Yep, robots are expected to disrupt the industry in a big way this year. These automated smart machines are becoming popular as a way to increase productivity and reduce overhead costs and waste. From using drones for surveying job sites, to autonomous bricklayers and earthmovers, robots are a proven tool for substantially speeding up the construction process. As the technology advances and robots are able to carry out automated tasks of even greater complexity, their prevalence on job sites will increase.
4. Off-site, Prefabrication and Modular Construction
Modular construction and prefabrication methods are a steadily increasing trend. The need for turn-key solutions, combined with tight build timeframes, labour costs and quality control, have all led to this tech’s growing popularity. Assembling as much as possible off-site means greater efficiency as well as improved quality and makes the construction process easier overall.
5. Augmented and Virtual Reality
AR has been a buzzword in the construction industry for a few years now. It works by superimposing a digital image onto the user’s view of the real world. Used by designers to create 3D versions of their blueprints, it means they can see what the finished product will look like before construction has even begun. This makes it possible for any potential errors to be picked up well before the start of the build. AR and VR technology is also being used to replace paper blueprints and CAD designs as well training teams on how to use specialist equipment.
6. 3D Scanning and Printing
3D printing is a technology that’s already widely used across other industries. Its potential is now being harnessed by the construction industry. The biggest advantage? The ability to create precise and complex building materials or objects in minimal time, with minimal manual labour. In addition to printers, 3D laser scanners are also able to capture highly accurate 3D site dimensions – allowing builders and designers to achieve greater accuracy. With the ability to lower costs and improve sustainability it’s no wonder this technology is set to be a game-changer.
7. Building Information Modelling (BIM)
This is an existing trend that is carrying over into 2020. Simply put, it’s a way of generating digital representations of places – such as buildings, roads and utilities – so contractors can visualise a site before it’s constructed. This in turn enables project timeframes and materials to be more accurately estimated – leading to less time, labour and material wastage. It also allows architects and engineers to see how certain building materials will age over time and identify areas for energy improvement. This means a building’s overall energy and water consumption can be reduced – and therefore, its running costs – making it greener and more sustainable. With the potential to tackle obstacles like time delays, quality control issues and budget blowout, this tech is transforming every key stage of the industry.
8. Sustainability and green solutions
With climate-change making headlines around the world it’s no wonder the construction industry – which accounts for 20% of the world’s global emissions – is taking action. Technology is being used to develop a host of renewable energy solutions, such as solar roof tiles and self-healing concrete, products which are expected to start hitting the market very soon. Together with BIM, there is also a push towards developing low-carbon projects, zero-emission communities and more public green zones. In densely populated cities around the globe we’ve already seen a rise in the creation of ‘vertical forests’. That is, high-rise buildings lined with thousands of plants and trees as a way to reduce air pollution. As we search to find environmentally responsible solutions to everyday problems look out for even more sustainable technology innovations this year.
The future starts now
This new decade will undoubtedly herald a new direction for the construction industry. With access to more data than ever before, and real-time connectivity now an affordable reality, it’s time for construction leaders to start future-proofing their business. With so much technology now available, knowing what to invest in and how to make the change can be daunting. Prioritising technology that is proven to result in higher productivity rates and efficiencies across all areas of your business, such as cloud-based construction project management software, is a good place to start.
Give us a call today if you’d like to talk more about what you can do to ensure your business remains competitive long into the future.