The next few years are expected to usher in a broad new range of technology-based building innovations. Just how quickly they become mainstream and whether they will become the new norm for the construction industry still is open to question.
However, there is no denying that exciting developments are just over the horizon. Control-flow concrete, waterproofing techniques, green roofs, fire protection and expanded interest in modular components are only a few examples of what's in store for job sites and buildings in the foreseeable future.
A Global Renaissance
The worldwide search for enhanced new construction home building technologies—cheaper, faster, better, easier—is driving the development of new procedures and products that will have a dramatic effect on the future of the construction industry, from individual homes to infrastructure, from developing countries to the development of space-age solutions.
It is an exciting time. But it's not all about the products that comprise what's built. New technology will also have a massive influence on the way construction professionals go about the business of building.
The New Face of Technology
The technology available today and what is now emerging for the future is sure to have a major disruptive effect on the industry. Here's a brief overview of what to expect:
- Virtual and Augmented Reality: Although the concept has been around for some time now, immersive visualization is as exciting now as it was when first introduced. The future of 3D and 4D modelling is assured, and augmented reality now takers users out of a static environment and allows a walk through to see the future or, in some cases, the past. It has immense possibilities for both new construction and renovation.
- Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics: As a new generation of statistical analysis, the development of algorithms without explicit programming is truly revolutionary. Whether used for safety, quality, marketing or financial forecasting, it is now mainstream reality that will only grow in importance for the future. An enhanced ability to forecast and manage risk, based on past experience and on variable conditions, might transform health and safety concerns in construction;
- Connected Job Sites: Instant communication through modular devices forever altered jobsite efficiency. Additional connectivity, perhaps with the introduction of robots and drones, will usher in more advances as costs of such technology continues to decrease and utilization of comprehensive technology expands, freeing human workers for more productive tasks.
- Prefabrication: Modular component fabrication is not a new concept, but greener and more cost-effective construction is leading the path toward utilization of technologically advanced modular construction for everything from residential walls to entire floors of multi-story buildings. Is it the wave of the future? only time will tell.
- Wearable Technology: Physical tracking, safety monitoring, personal comfort, jobsite security, efficiency, quality control and record-keeping. Clothing and protective gear, wristwatch devices, helmets and glasses are just some of the ways to use wearables and successfully connect field workers with the home office.
The above represent only a sampling of the innovations yet to come.
Solutions in a Time of Change
Few, if any, observers predict that people will be eliminated in favour of machines, but there is reason to believe that robots and mechanized solutions will replace humans for some repetitive or dangerous tasks on tomorrow's construction site. Instead of being worrisome, there are plenty of reasons to understand and harness the new technology for better, more cost-effective construction results.
The buzz words of the future—Big Data, the Internet of Things, BIM, 3-D Printers and Robotic Constructors—are destined to become part of the everyday conversation for construction companies who expect to grow into the future. There is little doubt that the jobsite—or the construction management team—of the future will be different.
Effective new outcomes will be the result of strategic changes instituted by forward-thinking companies and executives - as well as Summerside home builders. The "emergent processes" will be significantly different from past procedures. But there is every reason to believe that those individuals and companies that embrace new technology today and use it to advantage will be around to see just how beneficial the results will be.
By Justin Havre