Technological advances are changing the way buildings are constructed and will completely transform the industry in the coming decades. Advanced software, automated robotics, drones, and 3D printing are just a few of the ways technological innovation is creating waves of change in the field.
The construction industry is a driving force behind the commercial drone industry. Drones are cheaper to fly than manned aircraft and collect information faster and more accurately. Equipped with advanced software and high-resolution digital cameras, they’re expediting the survey and inspection process. They’re able to cover large areas in little time, and the detailed images they capture are sent to and analyzed by computer systems instantly.
Data collection through mobile devices has become invaluable to the construction process. It provides accurate assessments of a building’s progress, ensures supplies are ordered when they’re needed, and allows redistribution of manpower to the appropriate areas in a timely manner. This decreases costs since it assures an efficient use of labor and supplies.
3D printing is reducing the amount of time it takes to construct large buildings and will speed the construction process even more in the coming years. It’s used to build complex concrete structures as well as some mechanical and plumbing components of buildings. In 2014, a Chinese company constructed ten houses in less than twenty-four hours using 3D printing. A year later, the company built a five-story apartment complex using the same technology.
Automated machinery can now perform almost any task of a human construction worker. They can drill, paint, lay bricks, and construct beams, and some work together to complete complex tasks. They’re supervised by a technician on site or remotely and are making the construction process quicker, safer, and cheaper. These automated robots are mainly used in the fabrication of materials, not at job sites, but that will change in the future.
Warm-mix asphalt technologies are being increasingly adopted by state and federal government agencies as well as asphalt companies and paving contractors across the developed world. Warm-mix technologies employ a variety of methods and materials; what they have in common is the ability to drastically reduce the temperatures at which pavement material is produced and placed on the road. Not only does this have the potential to reduce seasonality in the construction industry and improve the quality and lifespan of the asphalt, but is considerably easier on fuel and thus better for the environment as well.
New technology is constantly transforming the way buildings are created, and future developments will further revolutionize the industry.