Progress in Technology = Progress in Construction

Progress in Technology = Progress in Construction

05th June 2019

Now that the construction industry here in the UK is readily adopting new technologies, cutting edge methods and innovative new materials, we thought it an appropriate time to take a look at how advances in technology are likely to affect construction workers, both now and in the near future.

Whilst our sector was initially slow on the uptake with the new technologies that are becoming available at an increasing rate, this was largely thought to be a result of so many construction companies working to very tight margins which limit their ability to invest in the training and development necessary when it comes to new tech. 

However, things have changed in recent years and the construction industry is now adopting new technology at an impressive rate.  For instance, construction is the sector that has been responsible for most of the take up of drone technology here in Britain, with demand for drones increasing by more than 200% last year as companies became aware of the advantages offered by using drones on site.  We’ve also seen an increase in automation on construction sites as this can help to relieve the physical demands on those who work on manual jobs. 

Today we’re going to take a look at three types of technology that will change our industry in the coming years.

VR (Virtual Reality) in Planning – the majority of architects here in Britain have already begun to use VR software during the planning process, bringing new blood into the industry as those who previously worked on video game design have shifted their attention towards architecture.  The use of advanced visualisation software enables these new designers to build in a medium which they understand, bringing a new level of creativity into construction.  VR headsets are not just for gaming, they are now being used to help visualise where cables and pipes will eventually be installed, allowing designers to avoid obstruction and reducing the number of errors during the design process, increasing efficiency and enabling site managers to keep projects on time.

Machine Learning – also known as Artificial Intelligence (AI), one of the most important advantages brought to the construction process by AI is the creation of databases which can then be referred to at every stage of the build.  Architects can upload details of past projects that are used when assessing a new brief.  This allows the software to identify past problem points and suggest similar designs.  AI can be used to accurately monitor current projects, using day to day data combined with information from past projects to identify and solve problems, speeding up the process and improving health and safety on site.

3D Printing – this technology is particularly useful in prefab construction, which is on the increase here in Britain.  However, a 3D printing solution still relies on human input as concrete parts 3D printed onsite still need to be assembled by construction workers who have the knowledge and manual skills necessary to complete the wiring, insulation, door and window fitting processes.  One of the major advantages offered by 3D printing and prefab construction is that it eliminates much of the work at height involved, which will reduce falls from height in the future, eventually making the construction industry safer than ever before.