We love construction and technology.
As a tech company we know how important the role of technology is in businesses across all types of industries. It empowers people to work smarter and more efficiently. But we throw those words around a lot – construction technology. What is it, really?
What Is Construction Technology?
By definition, construction technology is the “collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, etc. used during the construction phase of a project”. The whole purpose of construction technology is to help push the industry forward, to drive advancement and innovation, and increase efficiency.
Sometimes referred to as “con tech”, construction technology is actually seen as its own independent category of technology. In general technology is broken down into major categories: manufacturing, medical, energy, transportation, agriculture and construction. The fact that construction tech is its own category highlights just how valuable and unique of a sector it is.
When did construction tech really boom?
It’s hard to pin-point “booms” in construction tech. You may think that modern-day innovations represent the only boom of tech advancement in the industry. However, when looking at the actual definition of construction tech it’s clear that this isn’t true.
Modern construction equipment is as much a part of construction technology as blockchain, drones or fleet management systems.
Since construction tech is defined as “innovative tools, machinery, software… used during the construction phase of a project”, machine-powered equipment can be viewed as construction tech just as much as GPS or fleet management software is. The changes that occurred in the industry during the industrial revolution were a major milestone. There’s no way that the industry would be where it is today without it. It’s important to remember how much advancement has happened in the industry between the 19th century and the internet and tech boom in the 90s and into the modern 21st century. It’s a big piece in construction history and should not be undervalued.
That being said, the 21st century is just a whole other ball game.
The Tech Revolution
When the internet was made publicly available in the 90s, a whole new world was born. From dial-up internet to the current smartphone, technology started moving really, really fast. Today, accessible software, user-friendly databases and access to information are empowering people to work differently.
Embracing Technology in the Construction Industry
The general sentiment around construction and modern tech is that the industry has been slow to embrace it. While this is true of the past, the current and future construction industry is all about modern technology.
Image borrowed from ENR.
What Are Some Examples of Construction Technology?
Some examples of construction tech include:
– Fleet management systems
– GPS technology in equipment
– Blockchain technology
– 3D printing
– Autonomous vehicles
– Robotics and exoskeletons
– Wearable safety tech
– Site management software
– Electronic payment and budget management systems
– Virtual reality
Keep in mind, this is an incredibly short list of an incredibly mind-boggling sphere of construction and innovation.
There’s no arguing it: the tech revolution has arrived in construction. More and more contractors are pushing themselves to learn new skills and become educated in the tech trends arriving in the industry. In many cases it is the new standard for winning bids and scoring jobs. There is no avoiding it. This is a bandwagon you want to jump on.
Not only does technology help to make the industry safer (something that has been a struggle for a very long time), but it is helping contractors to take back control of their budgets, to make smarter choices about project planning and equipment and is, consequently, pushing the green-construction trend forward.
Construction Tech Trends
Construction technology is embraced by the industry because it pushes the industry towards a level of efficiency and productivity that has simply hasn’t been possible before. While there is almost an unlimited number of revolutions and new tech coming out every day, there are three tech trends that are very exciting.
Safety on Construction Sites
Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Construction tech is helping to change this.
With inventions like Proxxi’s wristband that detects electric currents or virtual reality training to help make safety training more accessible for all employees, the industry will hopefully become a safer workplace and career choice for future contractors.
Many of these new technologies integrate data collection into their software. This is empowering companies and leaders to see if protocols are being followed, if new safety standards are working and to make better choices about how to keep their employees safe.
Budget-Friendly Sustainable and Green Construction
Construction is a tight industry when it comes to budgeting. Between trying to bid for projects and keeping up with changes throughout a project, staying in the green isn’t always easy. Any way that a contractor can feel more in control of their budget is beneficial.
Technology that helps to reduce idle time and fuel consumption of equipment, eliminate as much waste on-site as possible and to push sustainable construction materials all helps to keep contractors in budget. It’s just a bonus that many of these budget-friendly technologies are environmentally friendly construction practices, too.
Revolutionary Building Technologies
Modular construction, prefab construction and 3D printing are changing the way the industry looks at production and construction. Being able to build parts of a project off-site, to print it to exact specifications and to mass-produce pieces that are used repeatedly are taking construction productivity to a whole new level.
As these revolutionary building technologies continue to be used more widely, the industry will adapt and see changes in how projects are done in the future.
How Construction Tech will Change The Future
The real value of construction tech is that it empowers employees and employers to make smart choices that make them more productive and safer. On top of this, it is helping the industry address larger challenges, such as labour shortages, which are more complicated and difficult to address. A single person or company is not capable of addressing these larger challenges on their own. Technology is a key way to address these challenges and to adapt to the future.
New technology will not only help to address roadblocks the industry is facing but will also help to bring future contractors, engineers, inventors and tech minds to the industry. Li Kequiang once said, “Changes call for innovation and innovation leads to progress.”
By embracing construction technology, staying in touch with trends and welcoming progress, the construction industry will continue to blossom into the future.