Emerging Technology in Construction
A big cost of any construction job is having materials delivered to the site. Depending on the size of the job, deliveries need to be throttled because it could be months before certain materials are needed. Think of a home being built: Cabinets usually aren’t delivered until the walls are framed, utilities added, and insulation and drywall are complete. How does emerging technology in construction fit in with current methods?
But what if that all happens before it even gets to the construction site? Already being done with shipping containers being stacked, modular construction is beginning to gain a foothold. The construction process can be a time-consuming affair because one step needs to be completed before the next step can begin.
From the example above, walls can’t go up until a foundation is in place, which can’t happen until the excavation is done. But what if parts of the home could be built before excavation even begins? Instead of condensing construction workers in one area, they could spread out over five or six locations, all working at the same time.
Once all the pieces are complete, they are brought together for completion. More workers will be needed, but for shorter amounts of time. This process could see certain construction projects completed 65 times faster than standard timelines. And then it’s on to the next building.
Although this could be a boon to the construction industry, commuters have the most to gain from self-healing concrete. Who among us hasn’t railed against city hall after taking a crunching hit from a big pothole? With this new construction and emerging technology – which many believe will be seen sooner rather than later – those nuisances will be a thing of the past.
Without getting too technical, when concrete cracks, capsules of sodium silicate break and release a gel-like substance that expands to fill the crack then hardens to the same consistency. These tiny capsules are added during the mixing process. Other methods, such as using bacteria or polymers that act in the same way, are also being designed. So long, potholes!
But it won’t be used on just the highways and byways throughout the world. When concrete breaks or crumbles on the side of a building, bridge, or buried infrastructure, it needs to be patched, reinforced, or removed. Of course, concrete is a pretty durable substance that is built to last for decades.
A few chips in the facade is inevitable, though. And this self-healing concrete could be just the ticket to fixing those chips in real-time in the near future. This will prevent accidents from falling concrete as well as save the alignment on millions of cars worldwide.
Although it might sound a little too close to Big Brother, having sensors woven into safety vests or attached to hardhats can help project managers keep track of how crews are going about their job. As a matter of fact, many construction companies are already using wearable technology as smartwatches become more popular.
Instead of thinking of it as a way to make sure no one is taking a nap in his truck, think of it as a way to keep workers safer and more efficient. After a few months of gathering data, have there been any accidents or close calls? If so, why? Did they happen in the same area? Time of day?
By analyzing the data, construction firms can devise ways of making the job site safer in the present and alter processes to keep future job sites safer as well. On the other side of the coin, when constructing an industrial facility, data can be used to provide floor plans, catwalks, and machinery placement for the best possible outcomes.
Wearable technology doesn’t have to mean managers can tell which workers are going to the vending machine too often. But it can mean that those workers have a safe path to the break room.
This emerging technology is already being used to create construction models, fittings for plumbing, and even artificial limbs. However, a few companies around the world are starting to build homes with 3D printing. They just need a bigger printer to pull it off.
A Dutch company is using one of the largest 3D printers on earth to print out large building blocks that snap together and create rooms. These rooms then attach together to make a finished house. Even the exterior walls are designed to look like a traditional Dutch home.
In China, a 3D printer is used to create cement building material for building homes. They claim to be able to build 10 homes a day at a cost of $5,000 each. While these homes may resemble tony homes instead of mansions, providing inexpensive housing for those who need it could be a world-changer in high-density areas.
And The Rest
At some point, the construction industry will begin to implement such technology as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Cloud-based software solutions will give construction management ways to not only design buildings faster, but make them more efficient as well.
The use of drones and other robotics will make some jobs that cheaper, safer, and quicker than traditional methods. While workers may fear a future where machines do all the work, those jobs will be transformed into service and maintenance work on the machines.
But it will be some times before tower cranes, cement mixers, and other heavy machinery is left to the robots. Until then, Storee Construction uses the most up-to-date (and useful) technology, planning, and processes when building industrial facilities, manufacturing plants, and commercial buildings.
We also manage and maintain buildings, provide safety and building upgrades, and offer plant relocation services. We have been working in the midwest area for more than 50 years and are ready to help with your big project. Contact us today to see how we can help.