The construction industry encompasses 4 percent of the U.S. GDP yet needs to catch up in adapting to the new technologies available to automate processes and decrease the use of manual labor. Three breakthrough technologies are emerging and transforming how buildings will be constructed.
The construction industry is labor-intensive with open construction sites, which makes using robotics more challenging than in closed industrial sites. Labor-intensive activities like bricklaying are repetitive, which makes use of robotics helpful to reduce costs and maintain quality and consistency. Construction Robotics engineered one breakthrough technology easing this task. This pioneer bricklaying robot, the semi-automated mason or SAM, is the first available product. SAM does not replace a mason but works collaboratively and has been shown to increase productivity up to five-fold.
Zak Podkaminer of Construction Robotics told Forbes magazine that “construction will benefit from robotics in work that is dangerous, is repetitive, and where heavy lifting is required. [In] high precision work such as complex designs and patterns, robotics will provide architects more creative flexibility.”
The construction industry has started benefiting from drone imagery to conduct site analysis before construction begins. In many places worldwide, there is limited access to high-quality imagery from Google Maps. This results in dependency on the manual workforce to gather on-site data before construction. Using drone photography to capture good-quality images reduces labor costs and time spent acquiring this information. Drone photography allows users to map a site and create two-dimensional and three-dimensional imagery that gives accurate measurements.
Deep Chakraborty, CEO of ENACT Systems, told Forbes, “While the use of drones is proliferating now, the construction industry lacks good software platforms and tools that can process such images rapidly and simplify the analytical activity.” He predicts that within the next two to five years, the construction industry will adopt drone-image software programs more widely.
Digital Project Collaboration Tools
The construction industry needs to catch up in using paperless and digital management tools. Many construction sites still use physical binders, logging responses in Excel, and fax machines and phones to communicate regularly. Project collaboration tools are increasing, changing how the construction industry operates with better worker communication and central data storage for project files. “Dustin DeVan, CEO of Building Connected, told Forbes magazine, using digital management tools, “Before the hammer hits the nail, hundreds and sometimes thousands of businesses communicate with one another to set budgets and decide who’s working on what.”
SOURCE: https://www.forbes.com, “Three Emerging Technologies Impacting the Construction Industry,” by Nikhil Choudhary February 2018
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