The Future of the Construction Industry

The Future of the Construction Industry

17th March 2016

As we’ve said in the past, the construction industry is changing – it’s modernizing to meet the needs of the 21st Century.  Traditionally, the construction industry has been slow to embrace change which means that many modern developments have had little effect.  That’s all been changing in recent years though thanks to progress and development in so many fields that impact on the construction industry.  Today we’re taking a look at three emerging trends in the construction industry that are destined to accelerate progress and change the ways in which buildings of the future will be made.

ROBOTS – We’ve already featured Hadrian, the brick laying robot this week, describing how this innovative new machine will be able to build houses in a fraction of the time needed in the past.  There’s a serious skills shortage in the construction industry in many countries of the world and robots are now becoming a viable and cost effective alternative.  Robots are now beginning to perform fabrication tasks – building construction machinery, arc welding components, applying adhesives, etc.  The new generation of robots can even assemble doors and windows.  This is likely to speed up construction activities and reduce costs, perhaps even bringing to an end the continuous rise in house prices that have seen so many young people struggle to get onto the housing ladder.

Although robots (like drones which we've also featured recently) are not new to the construction industry, recent developments and progress have led to robots becoming much more versatile and more able to take on tasks that once would have necessitated a skilled tradesperson.  If you’re imaging an army of robots all working in tandem to build a house it the space of a couple of hours – you’re on the wrong track.  The same applies if you envision robots taking over jobs, leaving the workforce redundant and useless – think again.   Far from robots leading to mass unemployment around the world, robots are actually more like to create new jobs, jobs that are safer, easier and more enjoyable than some of the repetitive and boring tasks that now exist within the construction sector.

WI-FI AND TABLETS – Traditionally, building activities have required the use of blueprints, plans and other jobsite paperwork, all of which needs to be kept in order and accessible whenever necessary.  Architects, site managers and contractors are increasingly relying on tablets (or even mobile phones) to store and access the information they need at the press of a button.  Savvy construction companies have noted this trend and are equipping jobsites with Wi-Fi connectivity to make this practise easier.  Tablets are small, lightweight and easy to carry, storing huge amounts of information and data that is necessary for construction projects large and small.

SMARTWEAR – The first construction sector smart helmet is now on offer which delivers visual instructions to alert wearers to hazards or cue them to carry out specific tasks.  It’s like a cross between Google Glass and a traditional hard hat and allows users to view their surroundings through a 360 degree multi-camera.  The helmet also serves to improve communication as managers can send instant messages to the workforce about potential hazards or use a live stream video function to give advice and guidance.