Construction Technology

Posted by Brett Long

If it’s not broken don’t fix it, right? Despite technological progress, it’s not uncommon for construction companies to still rely on spreadsheets, manual data entry, and paperwork. Low IT budgets and lack of time for training have contributed to a hesitancy around adopting new methods and technology.

Emerging construction technology isn’t just a fad or a fun new toy. There are real, practical applications and benefits to modernizing your current processes. And if your construction company wants to remain competitive and not be left behind, you’ll need to find ways to integrate new approaches into your strategy and workflows.

These cutting-edge technologies are drastically changing how the industry operates and how future projects will be completed.

Types of Construction Technology Impacting the Industry:

  • Mobile Technology
  • Drones
  • Building Information Monitoring (BIM)
  • Virtual Reality and Wearables
  • 3D Printing
  • Artificial Intelligence

1. Mobile Technology

Mobile technology isn’t just for games anymore. Apps are becoming more of the norm in construction and for good reason. The increased portability of tablets and smartphones allows for greater communication and the ability to work from anywhere. Integrating this type of technology into your current processes can be much simpler and require a smaller upfront investment while still providing major benefits and boosting productivity in your day-to-day operations. So if you want to start implementing technology, this is a good place to start.

Mobile technology can help to save time and keep your project moving forward faster by providing real-time updates and making information available between the job site and the office. You can easily access the latest revisions to plans or report a problem to the project manager off-site.

2. Drones

Drones are the most widely used emerging construction technology. They can conduct site surveys more quickly and accurately than a crew on the ground and are cheaper than aerial imaging. Their high-resolution cameras and the data collected can create interactive 3D or topographical maps and models and take volume measurements.

Another benefit of using drones is the ability to inspect hard-to-reach places such as bridges or around tall buildings, and to do it safely. You can also use them to monitor progress on a job site and see how people are working.

3. Building Information Modeling (BIM)

BIM is similar to CAD (computer-aided design), but not exactly the same. It is software for 3D design to digitally model what will be built. But its capabilities don’t stop there: “It doesn’t just create a visually appealing 3D model of your building—it creates numerous layers of metadata and renders them within a collaborative workflow,” writes Engineering.com. It captures things in a way that paper just can’t.

32.7% of builders are currently using BIM/CAD software, JBKnowledge reports in their 2016 survey. The use of BIM has even been mandated in the UK for government construction projects.

The use of BIM provides space for better collaboration because each person and expertise area can add their piece to the same model, instead of breaking out onto multiple versions of a 2D paper drawing. This way, the model evolves immediately as people contribute, streamlining the process and increasing efficiency. BIM also helps with problem-solving in the design and planning stages of a project, by automating clash detection and providing a more complete picture of the project.

4. Virtual Reality and Wearables

Virtual reality technology is often used in conjunction with BIM to help better understand complex projects. Think of the potential: you create a building design with BIM and can then use VR to actually walk around it. Pretty cool, right? This will give your team, or the client an even more realistic idea of what the project will look like once completed. Having a more complete grasp on the project before it begins allows you to avoid big changes and expensive change orders mid-way through.

Wearables are a construction technology that will have an impact on job site safety and risk management. The Daqri smart glasses, though still in the early stages, are one example. The glasses have an augmented reality display, wide-angle camera, depth sensor, and other features that allow workers to collect and see data based on their environment. The glasses give workers the information and instructions they need to complete a task right on the display, getting the job done faster and with less room for error.

5. 3D Printing

3D printing as a construction technology has the potential to change material sourcing. For prefabrication, materials for a project can be printed and then transported to the job site, ready for use immediately. This can allow you to get materials faster and streamline the process by removing extra steps in the middle.

According to the U.K. Green Building Council, around 15% of materials delivered to construction sites end up in landfills, and the American Institute of Architects believes that building-related waste makes up between 25% to 40% of America’s solid-waste stream, reports Fortune. With 3D printing it will even be possible to print materials right on site, reducing waste and further saving on transportation and storage costs.

One of the current challenges with the adoption of this technology is limitations with mass production. Although some 3D printers can produce on a larger scale, they are expensive.

6. Artificial Intelligence

The construction industry is already seeing the implementation of artificial intelligence on the job site with the use of robotics for tasks like bricklaying and autonomous equipment that can operate and complete tasks without the need for human interaction.

AI can benefit construction projects through increased safety, improving workflows, and getting jobs done faster and better. “AI can replicate the judgments, decisions, and actions of humans without getting fatigued,” said Dan Kara of ABI Research. It can also identify when information or pieces are missing and ask questions, and use the data it collects.

Sources
Device Magic
UK Connect


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About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life. Remember: If You Fail - Fail Forward

L2B Blog: Does Technology make us more or less productive in the workplace?

Does Technology make us more or less productive in the workplace?

 

Technology today puts us in contact with a constant stream of new information. Whether you are reading promotional emails, scanning the latest news and trends or connecting on social media, you are ingesting massive amounts of content. You never know where the inspiration for your next big idea might come from and engaging on such a large scale might just provide you with the right spark.

The Big Question is, however, is technology more of a distraction than a tool for productivity? The answer basically comes down to how you use technology and how you incorporate new tools to combat the effects of constant distractions.

After scouring the Net for inspiration and answers, I have come up with the following ways that we can use today’s technology to make us more productive:

Research shows there is a direct relationship between office design and productivity. It also plays an important role in employee job satisfaction and organisational performance. A well-designed office can also enhance knowledge shared among employees, which, in turn, boosts productivity.

Productivity thrives in an environment where employees are motivated to succeed. It is important to value people’s insights and involve them in setting goals for the organisation. It will not only motivate them to be more productive but also create a culture of innovation that will help your company adapt and grow as products, technology and markets evolve over time.

While technology is often viewed as a distraction, it’s one of the most important ways to enhance office productivity. One study done found that office productivity has increased by a whopping 84% over the last four decades, all thanks to advancements in digital technology. And it goes without saying that when it comes to internet speed, the faster the better!

Taking regular, short breaks throughout the day is also beneficial to productivity. A study by the University of Illinois found that even a brief interruption is enough to get back on track when you lose focus during a long or difficult task. Letting your mind wander is also a great way to stay productive, as your brain is relaxed and can focus solving tricky problems. Short breaks allow you to take a step back and evaluate your work, and ultimately leading to better performance and less burnout over the long term.

So, yes, it would appear that technology can be a distraction that can diminish productivity if not properly managed by the individual. However, technology has made the modern workplace more streamlined, efficient and accessible than ever before. The trick is, as with any double-edged sword, is to use it to your advantage and make it work for you, so that you don’t end up getting cut.

Information sourced from the following websites:

Does Technology Actually Make You More Productive?

http://www.businessrevieweurope.eu/technology/1146/3-ways-IoT-will-transform-your-office
http://www.axiomprojects.com.au/news/post/5-factors-that-influence-office-productivity/

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About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

Trends in Africa

Africa Map

What’s trending?

 

 

You might take a sneaky glance at twitter’s ‘trending’ timeline to answer or perhaps Google. What about Africa? [tweetthis]Do you know what the Trends in Africa are?[/tweetthis] Many may answer with, “no clue”.

 

I doubt that this will be your answer for much longer. The narrative on Africa is evolving, there are more individuals and companies joining in the conversation and rightly so. Previously known as ‘Deepest Darkest Africa’ and most recently dubbed ‘Silicon Safari’, Africa is not only becoming an interest but a Trend in itself.

According to numerous sources the biggest Trend in Africa at the moment is Technology. Frost & Sullivan report that Africa could evolve into a $50 billion e-commerce market within the next three years. Kenya and Nigeria are leading in terms of fundraising and start-ups, other countries include Tanzania and South Africa. Africa has had explosive increases in internet usage and economic growth. In fact Internet usage is now growing faster in Africa than in any other continent and mobile subscriptions in Africa have eclipsed those in the Asian Pacific region. Companies like Safaricom, IBM and Facebook have all realised the significant opportunities for investment and innovation on the continent.

Technology is a major driving force of progress in every industry. This is particularly evident in Education in Africa. Tony Bates highlights the boom in online higher education enrollments in Africa, with many countries using eLearning as a way to meet the increased demand for higher education that traditional programs cannot. South Africa is the dominant country but will be overtaken by Nigeria by 2016 in terms of the volume of revenues from eLearning.

The population in Africa is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2050 resulting in the largest workforce according to the Harvard Business Review. Africa is also rich in natural resources, 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land in fact. Additionally, Africa has a USD$2 trillion economy with approximately a third of its countries obtaining annual GDP growths of more than six percent. [tweetthis]Of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, six are in #Africa.[/tweetthis]

 

To end here is a quote to illustrate the Trends in Africa from the 2014 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos:

 

“Africa is the story. The big story is Africa. The Chinese and Japanese are fighting over Africa. This is a market of a billion people, of natural resources.” Dr Ahmed Heikal, Chairman and Founder of Citadel Capital

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/05/9-mega-trends-shaping-the-future-of-africa/

http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/ten-african-consumer-trends-to-run-with-and-profit-from-in-2015/45999/

http://ww2.frost.com/news/press-releases/frost-sullivan-identifies-top-trends-ict-africa-2015/

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/042915/why-tech-trends-africa-are-good-investment.asp

http://www.tonybates.ca/2013/01/29/africa-is-the-worlds-fastest-developing-e-learning-market/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/faraigundan/2014/01/28/top-quotes-about-africa-at-the-2014-world-economic-forum-in-davos/

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life. Remember: If You Fail - Fail Forward