The construction industry took a hit in 2020 due to the pandemic, despite adding over $900 billion to the United States economy in the first quarter.
Construction is expected to rebound in 2021, but some questions still remain. How can companies optimize their workers? How do they ensure safety while keeping production steady?
The key is looking at construction trends, particularly in the latest construction technology. Whether it’s remote technology or cloud computing, companies can leverage these trends to elevate their production and processes.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some exciting developments in construction going into 2021.
1. Cloud Computing
There’s perhaps no other trend that’s making a splash in construction than cloud computing. Not only is it cost-effective and secure, but cloud computing is also convenient and scalable.
In 2017, a Sage study found that 85% of contractors were planning on implementing cloud computing into their business. But what is cloud computing and how does it apply to construction?
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is essentially outsourcing your data storage and processing to other, more powerful machines.
Until recently, most people stored all their computer data on their hard drive. This means if your computer ran out of space, you couldn’t store any more information.
With how fast the internet has gotten, we can now use online servers to store information. Now you can store more data much faster.
Cloud Computing Benefits to Construction Industry
So how does cloud-based computing benefit the construction industry?
Construction firms can use cloud computing to gain insights into their projects. They can now process images taken of a construction site and analyze them much faster.
Project managers can also monitor sites without actually having to visit them. You can also integrate cloud systems with your financials so CFMs can process their tasks easier.
Additionally, you can analyze information much quicker with cloud systems. Managers can use that data to improve their bidding processes.
2. 3D Printing
Another recent phenomenon that’s benefiting construction is 3D printing technology. In an industry that’s all about efficiently using materials to build structures, 3D printing is making a big difference in 2021.
What is 3D Printing in Construction?
3D printing in construction involves using printing technology to construct components of a building project. A software program “tells” the printer about the dimensions of that component, then the printer uses different materials to form it.
While 3D printing has existed for decades, construction companies are looking at it more and more going into 2021.
Ways 3D Printing Benefits Construction
Since 3D printers only use the necessary materials to make something, there’s very little waste. For firms, this means more efficient use of resources and lower costs.
Printers can also work day and night so long as they’re plugged in. Projects can go much faster and smoother with this constant workflow.
If you’re having issues finding a component, why not build it? 3D printers can build more unconventional designs if need be.
3. Drone Technology
While they might sound a little ominous at first, drones are making a big difference in construction. They’re excellent for recording video and images of a construction site.
What are Drones?
Drones are unmanned aircraft that can fly autonomously. In other words, they’re aircraft that don’t necessarily need humans to control.
While many have autopilot functions, they’re usually controlled by a human in construction.
Applications in Construction
Because drones offer a bird-eye view of any construction site, it provides your company with a logistical advantage. Take pictures of a site with a drone, upload them to your computer, and analyze the images.
You can monitor your team’s progress while also using drone footage for mapping. Drone pictures improve worksite communication and give your clients an idea of where a project is at.
4. Remote Technology
One of the biggest challenges that the construction industry faced in 2020 was figuring out how to keep working despite a pandemic. It forced us to ask: can construction be done remotely?
That’s why remote construction technology is becoming crucial in 2021. Outsourcing significant parts of construction to off-site workers will become a big focus.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Planning and design are crucial components of construction. While they preferably should happen on-site, you can leverage some technology to do it remotely.
Virtual reality and augmented reality software are usually associated with gaming but is beginning to find its way into construction. You can leverage this tech to allow virtual visits and inspections.
By mimicking real-life tours with AR/VR and 360-degree cameras, you can safely carry out remote visits with your clients.
Construction companies are also looking at robotics to handle certain functions remotely. Robots can perform tasks like bricklaying, painting, loading, and bulldozing without the help of a human worker.
Project managers and team members can control these robots from a distance, leading to effective yet socially-distant construction work.
5. Safety Wearables
Slowly but surely, construction companies are bringing workers back to work. Social distancing notwithstanding, firms are beginning to look at the latest safety technology to keep their staff safe in 2021.
Latest Wearable Safety Equipment
Wearable construction technology includes any device that construction workers wear to improve their safety.
One of the most prominent wearable equipment is a smartwatch. While they’re popular among consumers, it allows managers to look at each worker’s vital signs to prevent overexertion.
Smart helmets also made waves in 2020, as companies have added extra tech to traditional hardhats for improved construction safety. They can detect fatigue in workers while preventing “microsleep” through built-in sensors.
You can also apply similar technology to your tools. Tool-tracking technology helps you and your team manage equipment throughout their lifecycle. It integrates with job cost while decreasing the chances of your team losing tools during construction.
Leverage the Best Construction Trends Today
As we roll into 2021, it’s important to look at construction trends and understand their benefits to create high-powered teams. With the construction industry changing in key ways, it’s important to stay informed and leverage these trends for your company.
For more insights into the latest construction technology, check out our blog or contact us today!