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What is construction technology?

Construction technology is a

collective term for types of technology that have a specific use within the construction industry. Examples of this include smart machinery, automated robots, virtual reality, 5G, and IoT. All of which are created and adapted to aid the industry in improving working conditions, boost efficiency, improve health and safety, and many other benefits.

The 5 types of construction technology impacting the industry:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML)
  • The Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Robotics & Drones
  • 5G and Wi-Fi6
  • Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is intelligence shown by a machine to mimic human behavior and machine learning (ML) is a field of AI, where statistical techniques are used to give a computer the ability to learn from data without being explicitly programmed. Both are fast becoming integral pieces of technology in the construction industry.

Here are some examples of how AI and ML are benefiting the construction industry today:

  • Predictive design, taking into consideration many factors such as weather, location, and creating digital building twins to increase the lifetime of a building.
  • Better design of buildings — Machine learning can be used to explore different variations of a solution and create design alternatives, taking into consideration the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and ensuring the routes for MEP systems do not clash with the building architecture.
  • Using AI-driven automation to take over highly repetitive tasks could significantly improve productivity and increase safety, whilst addressing the industry’s shortfall of labor.
  • Better financial planning and project management — using historical data, AI can predict any cost
  • overruns, realistic timelines and can also help staff access information and training material faster to reduce onboarding times.
  • Increased productivity — AI can be used to power machinery to perform repetitive tasks such as pouring concrete, bricklaying, or welding, freeing up human workers for the construction itself.
  • Increased safety — Construction workers are killed on the job five times more often than other laborers. With the use of AI, sites can be monitored for safety hazards, using photos and recognition technology to tell if a worker is wearing the correct PPE or by using geo-location to identify dangerous areas and alerting workers.

IoT is made up of smart devices and sensors that all share data and can be controlled from a central platform. The implications of this are huge as it means that a new smarter, more efficient, and safer way of working is now very possible.

  • Smart machinery can be used to perform repetitive tasks and can also be smart enough to maintain itself, for example, a cement mixer that runs low on cement, with the use of a sensor, can order itself more, boosting efficiency and productivity
  • Footfall can be tracked on site and applications used to induct and check-in and out workers — reducing paper-heavy tasks and saving huge amounts of time
  • Increased safety — by using geo-location, dangerous areas can be identified within a construction site and with the use of smart technology can alert any workers if they enter the area.
  • The use of smart technology can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of development. By having sensors in vehicles to switch off the engines when idle, or by measuring wastage and using that data for better planning to inform the layout of development to reduce travel across sites.

The construction industry is one of the least automated industries that features manual-intensive labor as a primary source of productivity, and, surprisingly, robots have yet to play a significant role. However, as we are now seeing construction sites becoming smarter, with the rise of construction technology, so is how robots can be programmed and used. Here are a few examples of how robots and drone technology is already being used on construction sites today:

  • Drones can be used for site safety; they can monitor sites and with the use of cameras be used to identify any dangerous areas and give a construction manager a quick view of the site without himself being physically present
  • Drones can be used to deliver materials to the site, reducing the number of vehicles required on site
  • Bricklaying and masonry are tasks in which robots can be used to improve the speed and quality of the work
  • Demolition robots are being used to demolish structural components at the end of a project, although they are slower, they are cheaper and safer
  • Remote controlled or autonomous vehicles
  1. 5G AND WIFI6:

Before the rise in construction technology, the construction industry had been notorious for being one of the least digitalized industries. Only in recent years has the technology that can handle the challenging environments, workflows, and complications of such a physical industry evolved and now continues to impact the sector — mobile and cloud technologies being one.

These technologies allow data sharing, from the construction sites in real-time to all entities participating in the building construction process or to other entities responsible for contract realization.

For example, review tools necessary for engineers and architects [BB] or project management tools are now available all time, providing better collaboration and information sharing.

Mobile and cloud technologies have significantly contributed to the changes and evolution of the construction sector, by enhancing the digital experience and business efficiency, enabling real-time information, providing Integrated Labour Delivery [ES], and improving organization and productivity.


VR and AR technologies are recognized as game-changer for the construction industry. Certainly, they do not belong to the gaming industry anymore.

Virtual reality (VR) implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world, whilst augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view.

The potentials of VR/AR technologies in conjunction with BIM technology are endless. The first step would be to create a building model with BIM technology and then to take a sight-seeing and literally walk through and around it — thanks to the AR/VR features.

  • Virtual tours/walkthroughs building models so you can experience almost first-hand what the finished physical project would look like and how the layout of the design would flow
  • Better collaboration — teams can work together on a project regardless of their physical location
  • Real-time design feedback — visualization of 3D projects and their surrounding environment provided by AR/VR technology support fast and precise simulation of architectural or structural changes [BR], automatic measurements, and enables design improvements.
  • Risk assessments (as a demanding and sensitive activity), reinforced with hazard simulations and clash detections became a routine task encompassed by these innovative technologies.
  • AR/VR technology’s potential for safety improvements and training is priceless, as well as support to managers, supervisors, inspections, or tenants that even do not need to be physically present to take a site walkthrough.

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