6 Types of Tech That Have Improved Construction
The construction industry is one of the world’s largest economic forces and generates trillions of dollars every year. In the last decade, there has been a disruption between the traditional way construction runs and the technological advancements making their way into the business.
Unlike other industries, such as education or healthcare that are adopting technology solutions into their everyday operations, construction has a more cautious approach. Owners and contractors who rely on the conventional way of doing business are hesitant to take on these disruptive changes.
Nevertheless, technology is starting to appear as an elemental piece of the construction process. Adoption of video equipment for live viewing of job sites, 3D modeling software, and tech equipment for measurements are slowly becoming necessary within construction.
The reason for this increase in technology implementation is due to a younger generation of construction professionals who know the crucial role that tech will play in the future of the industry.
Soon, these technologies will consolidate several of the small tasks currently followed and become a normal part of the construction industry. In this article, we are going to analyze the top six technologies that have improved construction’s way of doing business.
What is ConTech?
Before we dig deeper into each technology that is impacting the industry, we need to understand the concept of “ConTech.”
Angelica Krystle Donati, a Consumer Tech contributor for Forbes, defines ConTech as “the technology used to innovate the way we plan, design, and build structures, as well as the manufacture and installation of their components.”
In other words, ConTech can include tools and machinery, software, and smart devices. To summarize, it refers to any technology used in the building, modification, or planning of a structure.
No longer than 15 years ago, construction technology began to grow. It became an important solution that construction companies can rely on today. We will go over the most prominent construction technology tools that are here to stay changing the industry forever.
1. Wearable Technology
Wearables are one of the fastest-growing technology trends in the industry because they help employers improve employees and subcontractors’ performance.
Some of these devices include hardhats and glasses that help workers visualize items that were previously only in 2D. This is producing more accurate measurements, increased job efficiency, and safer work zones.
In this line of improvements, wearable technology is also allowing workers to track their health and safety. ‘Smart’ safety vests and watches are allowing users to monitor their heart rate, body temperature, and other vital signs to make sure they are safe when in potentially dangerous situations.
2. Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are the most widespread technology in construction today. Their easy-to-use and portable functions help workers access information on a job site that would not have been possible in the past.
Keep in mind that these are not your regular smartphones. These devices are made exclusively for the construction industry and come equipped with:
- Stronger screens that do not break as easily
- Better viewing for outdoor conditions
- More resistance to elements like water or dust
As a complement to this innovative technology, exclusive apps have been developed to help workers streamline processes and access data from anywhere.
3. GPS Tracking & Fleets
While this is not the most recent technology, it is one of the most important and useful within Construction. GPS tracking for fleet vehicles helps contractors stay aware of where their vehicles are at all times and provides useful information about weather conditions and location.
Today, GPS technology has evolved completely, changing the system created by the United States Department of Defense in 1973. GPS, or Global Positioning System, has gone through many changes since its introduction to the public in 1995.
In Construction, GPS has endless possibilities. The most recent benefit is related to real-time data and anti-theft measures. Not only is having real-time GPS tracking important in removing any guesswork regarding an asset’s location, but it is also helpful to have this information to share with authorities in case of theft.
Finally, GPS technology allows contractors to monitor the usage of construction equipment and helps reduce downtime or prevent breakdowns of frequently used equipment.
4. Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling, more commonly referred to as BIM in the construction industry, “is the foundation of digital transformation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry” according to Autodesk, one of the most important ConTech solutions in the United States.
With BIM technology, contractors can now review historical data to improve location conditions and the delivery of materials in an easier way. Advancements in both BIM and mobile construction technology have allowed the sharing of information directly to various locations. These features completely replace having to make a phone call, send an email, or print out data.
5. 3-D Printing
Today, builders are looking into alternative materials for building. 3D printing plays a key role in this phenomenon helping to create anything that the imagination can produce. With this technology, contractors can design and print parts or even an entire building.
The potential of drones is endless within Construction. They allow contractors to survey difficult to access areas and capture images or videos to review later. Drones can also help contractors check in on job sites without ever having to visit in person.
Bonus: Data Collection & Analysis Software
To end our list, we have included a technological bonus solution for the industry. A common theme among most of the ConTech we have discussed is its ability to capture and analyze data. What can contractors achieve with all this trackable information if they do not have a way to make sense of it? If you are a contractor, you need software that helps you analyze this information.
For example, with SmartCompliance, contractors send requests to their subcontractors to upload a Certificate of Insurance (COI) proving they have the necessary coverage for the project they are working on. When the certificate is uploaded, the software uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to scan it and combine the important data into a dashboard for the contractor to view. These reports can help contractors get an overview of their project’s insurance compliance and find where they need to improve.
Without a certificate of insurance system to analyze all this data, contractors are left to review individual documents and files to make conclusions on their own.
If you want to learn more about what SmartCompliance can do for you, schedule a free demo here.