The rising costs of materials and a labour shortage within the construction industry have led to many challenges, while stricter regulations have reduced the margin for error.
As a result, the industry is now utilising and embracing technology to enable easier site management and make operations sustainable and efficient.
Here we will discuss these new trends within the industry, which include the use of robotics, advanced materials, and improved safeguarding of workers.
Building Information Modelling
Planning, designing and then building are part of a collaborative process that requires input from a variety of different stakeholders, such as builders and architects.
Traditionally, it is fairly difficult to assess changes within the construction process due to each individual working on their own project, leading to several versions of the same idea.
Building information management tools overcome this issue by providing a universal database where everyone can contribute and monitor the progress of the project, improving overall efficiency.
Robotics and automated machinery
For a long time, construction has remained one of the most labour-intensive industries, generating time-consuming tasks and causing many serious injuries.
These jobs can now be undertaken by automated machines, leading to the same tasks being completed within a fraction of the time and reducing the risk of human error. Robots also reveal additional opportunities that were previously incapable of being completed by hands alone. Some examples of this include excavation, demolition, and heavy lifting.
As the world shifts toward a more sustainable future, the construction industry has had to improvise and come up with environmentally-friendly approaches to their current processes.
Innovative and sustainable materials are now replacing old ones, which can be made of living organisms. Advanced materials like bamboo and aluminium foam even have stronger properties and are biodegradable.
Traditionally, personal protective equipment, or PPE, included a hard helmet and possibly protective eyewear and gloves. Now, these are combined with smart technology that can monitor the vitals of each worker and predict whether an accident or injury is likely.
Algorithms can also be utilised to monitor hazards and make workers aware of any potential accidents on-site. Even tools have been adjusted to improve the safety of workers. Improvements in lithium-ion batteries have led to cordless chainsaws, that can be handled easily and alleviate the risk of tripping over cables.
This is an emerging trend within the construction industry, where construction elements or components are designed and manufactured in a factory prior to installation on the site.
Doing so has many benefits, including a reduction in disruption due to the ability to carry on work regardless of weather conditions. It also leads to less waste being produced than when the work is conducted on-site, and so is a more sustainable means of working.