The advent of digital technologies has taken every aspect of our personal and professional life by storm. New technologies are transforming the field both from a customer and a corporate perspective. The construction industry is no exception, some years ago, it might have ignored the digital world, but old attitudes and mindsets are not valid anymore. Nowadays, the average construction project incorporates a lot of technology and highly advanced hardware that simply wasn’t around 10 or 15 years ago.
The way the world designs, works and builds in this sector has been changing. However, there are still many substantial problems when it comes to boosting productivity and margins in the industry. As Rick Huijbregts, vice-president of strategy and innovation at George Brown College said, a cultural shift is in order for an industry bent on doing things the way it has done them for decades. Technology is going so fast now in this area that we need to get on track and get the industries to change their culture and embrace it. Now, the starting point is for contractors, subs, suppliers, consultants, and owners to get on the same page and to meet that end many builders must break from traditional ways, one of working.
It is really important for construction to become more digital and open to change since there are many reasons that support it. New types of digital technologies keep emerging in the industry. Just to name a few: modular construction, BIM, wireless sensors, 3D printing, and robotic equipment are already disrupting the field.
Digital solutions could provide the industry with a promising getaway to a more sustainable, transparent and efficient future. In this case, this transformation from the old way of working to adopting a change to new technologies concerns everybody: designers, architects, engineers, contractors and material suppliers that need to work together and stop working on outdated project data.
Building information modeling (BIM) uses historical data as well as future predictions to improve construction projects, gain insight into on-site conditions and allocate resources as necessary. Recent breakthroughs in technology, including the latest in 3-D CAD software, real-time data collection, and in-depth analytics, have helped shape BIM into its current form, while some other popular software developers such as Autodesk, GRAPHISOFT and Bentley Systems are still evolving.
Likewise, augmented reality is also another way of incorporating software into the average construction site. It has been already used to locate utility systems or other infrastructure that might be buried behind walls, floors or other obstacles. Prefabrication also goes hand-in-hand with the Industrial Internet of Things. Sometimes known as Industry 4.0, this trend promotes a greater level of automation and interconnectivity among factory machines, human workers and end-consumer products.
When a company starts to use new tools, such as software and high tech equipment, that does not change how the company operates but makes possible a better performance. The next stage is to integrate their digital world with other players to develop a common infrastructure since technology can revolutionize productivity and reduce risk.