Construction Technology Trends
Technology is changing the construction landscape
Have you ever been pulled over for speeding because a law enforcement officer “clocked” you over the limit? Did you know that the same technology used in the officer’s scanner helps build today’s construction sites?
“We use lidar (light detection and ranging) scanners on tripods or drones to shoot out about 1 million points of light per second. Whenever a laser touches something, its light bounces off the surface and back into the scanner,” explained Ken Smerz, CEO of Zelus, a firm that specializes in building information modeling (BIM) and virtual design and construction (VDC). In the article “Here’s how advances in technology are transforming construction industry,” Smerz continues, “It’s the same technology that police officers use to see if you’re driving too fast, but it’s just recently been used in the construction field.”
Drones equipped with lidar can fly over a site and collect data that can be used to build 3D models. This fast and accurate way of surveying a site provides several benefits, according to Dustin Price, a licensed land surveyor and operations manager at Landpoint LLC. In his blog post “Lidar Inspections Improve Construction Safety,” Price points out lidar is beneficial because it:
- Delivers accurate surveys quickly at the beginning of a project
- Provides information for simulation and analysis when developing a project
- Identifies maintenance and repair requirements on the project as needed
Tech strategy adoption
Lidar is just one of many technologies trending today in construction. To gain efficiency and increase productivity, companies across the world are adopting technology as they look to lower owning and operating costs.
An analysis and outlook by construction software company InEight Inc. found that 96% of respondents believe technology can improve productivity, and 71% believe it’s already improving the industry. Nearly 100% of contractors said they had a strategy that considered the adoption of technologies for data analytics, project management software, artificial intelligence and machine learning, among others.
According to a recent article, “Construction technology funding skyrockets to record levels” in ConstructionDive, U.S. construction technology investor funding reached a record $2.1 billion in early October 2021 — more than a 100% increase from 2020.
While those are common to most in today’s construction industry, there are other technologies gaining prominence that you might not currently be aware of, but will probably know in the future.
BIM for collaboration
Owners, architects and contractors use BIM to collaborate on design and construction at each phase of the project. According to Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG), which is managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences, BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. It serves as a shared knowledge resource for information and provides a reliable basis for decisions during a project’s life cycle.
Commonly listed advantages from experts who use BIM include improved communication and coordination, cost and resource savings, higher quality results, early identification of potential problems, and increased safety.
Don’t be intimidated
Adopting technology may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be with the right approach, according to Damon Haber, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Record360, which helps businesses add the latest products to their operations.
“I was an operator before I became a tech guy, so I understand how it is affecting companies and individuals,” Haber said. “Like equipment, devices and apps don’t create outcomes; however, they can be valuable tools that help achieve them. Failures often happen when companies try to do too much or have no clear objectives as to why they want to implement certain solutions.”
Haber said there are some best practices for introducing technology: start small, set measurable goals and outcomes, and secure commitments from end-users.
“You can always bet bigger,” Haber emphasized. “Before full implementation, it’s wise to do a pilot study, and do it well. You should also look at today’s modern solutions, and see how they can flex to match desired goals.”
Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from a longer piece. To read it in its entirety for additional information about technology trends and how they are playing a role in today’s and tomorrow’s construction industry, visit komatsu.com.