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5 Major Construction Technology Trends To Watch In 2021
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Posted on September 7th, 2021
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5 Major Construction Technology Trends To Watch In 2021

 

Just to be clear, these 5 construction trends are not without their speed bumps. It takes time for technology to sweep through the construction industry and become commonplace.

But, if we were to put money on it, the following 5 technologies would be the ones you ought to keep an eye on in 2021, because moving forwards we think these are going to be HUGE. Ready to learn more? Then lets go!

1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has been slowly getting better in other industries for quite some time, but construction hasn't properly used it just yet. But AI is being developed that could potentially change the face of health and safety in the industry.

AI works by collecting data and learning from it - basically it can spot patterns and notice when there is something different to that pattern. This gives some enormous applications in construction.

One way that AI is being used is in health and safety. Information can be collected about a construction site through wearable technology (something we'll discuss more later) that can alert workers to potential health and safety issues.

If you're looking at someone without their hard hat on in a zone where PPE is required, for example, you will be alerted to it so you can remind your colleague about the danger. Safety managers may also be alerted through their smartphone, so you can correct the hazard before an accident occurs.

We can also use AI in scheduling and planning to avoid human error whilst still providing a time management system that is based on human behavior, making schedules incredibly accurate and achievable, and helping you to avoid previously unforeseen speed bumps that could cause delay too.

2. Augmented/Virtual Reality

5 Major Construction Technology Trends To Watch In 2021

AR or VR are two methods in which you can place somebody in a simulated scenario in a safe space. This has obvious applications in the construction industry, which can sometimes involve high-risk tasks. For example, in safety training, a worker could be exposed to dangerous situations in AR or VR and be asked to deal with them.

They would remain safe the whole time, but it would allow them to simulate a potentially dangerous scenario that they might actually face on the job. Learning to deal with it in a controlled environment could lead to better outcomes in reality.

VR is also being successfully used right now to create models of the construction site to more accurately plan and design. AR remains in its infancy in construction, but as we explore the two further, we expect to see significant advances in the industry that could lead to a safer environment and more effective workforce.

3. Wearable Technology

Wearable technology is about implementing technology into the PPE we are already wearing on site. Hard hats, gloves, vests, and boots could all one day contain technology that keeps you safe whilst working. But how would that work?

Well, PPE is being fitted with technology such as Wi-Fi, location trackers, and environmental sensors that can monitor your location, repetitive motions, any injuries e.g. slips and falls, and your posture. Any problems with these areas, and you will be alerted to prevent you from causing any more damage to yourself or hitting speed bumps in terms of the work you are due to complete.

Environmental sensors can also alert safety managers either on site or remotely about the level of exhaustion you are feeling, which can prevent workers from becoming overheated and overworked.

This is great because currently there is no way of monitoring if you're working too hard besides your own judgement, which can often be colored by your desire to please your employers. Wearables will become more frequent because of how important health and safety is in the construction industry.

4. Robots and Drones

Robots and drones are already being used to help ease the construction industry's workload for simple, but labor-intensive tasks. For example, bricks are already being laid by automatons now because it is a relatively simple task, but one that takes a lot of time for construction workers to complete.

Drones are also being used to help take better pictures of a construction site for planning, safety, and surveying purposes at every stage of the construction process. They can also inspect the safety of buildings etc., that might otherwise be unsafe to investigate.

Robots and drones are not being used to replace workers as many would fear, but instead to help them with simple tasks, so they are free to work on tasks that require a little more thought.

This has been helpful during the pandemic to keep people on site low when they haven't needed to be there, but it's something we should expect to see more of moving forward to help workers optimize their own work.

5. Construction Specific Collaborative Software

This is another example of a technology that became more important during the pandemic, but it's something that we can almost guarantee will be used more. Remote collaboration became important when social contacts had to reduce, but the construction industry also had their eyes opened to the fact that a lot of work/meetings that were being carried out in person pre-pandemic didn't actually have to be.

By meeting through collaborative software, teams of people could make rapid, on-the-spot decisions about things on the construction site that might otherwise have hit speed bumps and led to delays.

This access to instant information is vital in construction, so we expect to see the development of more construction specific collaborative software being developed in the future that is specifically formatted for construction workers.

You should expect to see all 5 of the technologies listed today being implemented more on construction sites in the future.

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