Trends That Will Shape the Construction Industry
By Satya Vyas, CEO & Co-Founder, Tornado
While traditional methods are well tried-and-trusted, the construction industry is eager to merge customer expectations, technological advancement, and an environment-conscious approach with the following innovations.
Increased Integration with Technology
Although the construction industry has been slow to catch up with technology, there have been interesting improvements and integration. The possibilities are endless. It may be as minor an improvement as having a blueprint or construction plan on your fingertips.
Alternatively, the improvements can be substantial such as the introduction of drones for a beautiful aerial view of the construction sites and work-in-progress projects. Drones and robotics show a promising future in troubleshooting safety concerns and hazards where the reach of humans or bulky equipment is not possible.
Another important integration will be using technology as an added support to human labour. This will mean the elimination of redundant and meaningless jobs by delegating to smart machines. These machines will be equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to predict risks, and help deliver error-free and data-driven project cycles. Construction and factory floors are now equipped with quality sensors that detect any structural or integral damage. Early warning systems based on machine learning may also trigger warning and safety protocols in case a threshold is breached.
Next, while we are already using the Internet of Things (IoT) in our household, construction projects are likely to connect everything – big and small and provide active reports through IoT-based analytics. Now, the retailer will be directly intimated to replenish materials and place orders on behalf of humans.
The involvement of 3D printing in complex models is expected to rise, with the technology being accessible and popular. This will bring about faster and efficient modelling with reduced wastage of construction resources.
Lastly, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has seen increased use in large government projects where partner companies are willing to go the extra mile to procure accurate representations of designs. It is being used by engineers to predict costs and show structural depletion over time, which makes BIM extremely crucial in the upcoming years.
The real-estate industry is already using virtual reality to project the appearance of a construction project, even before the construction begins. It will not be long until construction teams will be able to predict anomalies in the design and help avoid incorrigible design errors. Virtual reality is also expected to be incorporated with vital site safety demonstrations and reduce on-floor incidents.
Greener footprint with green buildings
Sustainability and reduction in the use of depleting resources will be a recurring theme for the years to come. The construction industry is already experiencing a paradigm shift in the reuse of recycled materials and investing measurable best practices.
There is an increase in creating workspaces with green walls, rooftop gardens, and thermal-driven air conditioning. While there are carbon-scrubbing facades, the industry is innovation-driven with the use of bricks made from cigarette butts, recycled plastics, and other waste materials that are gaining popularity.
Similarly, the focus is also building on sustainable products that preserve the surrounding environment and use as few resources as possible, while being resistant to disasters. Large buildings, especially the ones with office spaces, now use as much natural light as possible. A few commercial spaces have also adopted recycling water plants and rainwater harvesting as a green initiative, which will prove beneficial in the long run.
Ready-to-use modular construction
Expect to see more pop-up construction sites and spaces with ready-to-use modules. The industry has been exponentially growing in recent years and is expected to be worth $157 billion by 2023, globally, as per a recent report by marketsandmarkets.com. Several providers are producing key items such as workstations and pre-assembled modules, which gives more control over deadlines, thereby enabling faster completion of projects. These will be extremely cost-effective as modular structures will be built off-site, which means no waste materials, no construction delays, and no complex assembly methods.
Modular structures will also ensure that the owner is not hassled about growing material and labour costs.