No doubt you and your construction business highly value technology and its many benefits. With the current rise in the national and regional construction markets, it becomes easy to place construction technology on the back burner while giving way to other stresses caused by growth, such as labor shortages. However, technology that can help lead to better productivity and profits cannot be forgotten.
As companies seek to prepare for the rest of 2018 and beyond, there are a number of technology trends shaping the construction industry that may have been overlooked. If you can capitalize on these trends now, you may be able to set your company up for success for many years to come.
Wearable Construction Technology
While cloud technology and smartphones have improved the way companies keep track of projects and workers, wearable technology is only going to gain popularity in helping keep workers safe. Equipment such as GPS-enabled safety vests, glasses and hard hats can monitor staff whereabouts and increase productivity. Features include alerting managers or sending a signal for equipment to slow down or stop working when employees enter high-risk workspaces.
As an extra perk, some of these new technologies may help to decrease insurance costs. Advances in wearable tech can help alert insurance companies of increased safety, therefore decreasing premiums. Also, filing claims, in theory, should be smoother since these gadgets can accurately record when and where an incident happened.
While this technology has been around for a few years now, we’re only starting to see its applications in the real world. Plastics and extruded concrete are being used to create parts or entire buildings. For example, robotic arms and drones are being combined with 3D printers to create materials on a much larger scale.
Embracing 3D printing has so far helped companies to rapidly prototype and create components, possibly as a replacement for traditional homes and offices. If the world’s first 3D printed office in Dubai is any indication, this construction technology could help companies gain a greater degree of efficiency and innovation.
With larger construction projects being held under closer public scrutiny, it has become increasingly important to take a closer look at alternate types of resources available that will be sensitive to the environment while at the same time either meet or exceed contract specifications. The demand has led material manufacturers to revolutionize building materials that are more cost-efficient and kinder to the environment.
For example, researchers are working towards creating and testing self-healing concrete, where concrete infrastructures can reseal after a break, much like how human bones fuse together after a fracture. Engineers at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia are experimenting with using cigarette butts in brick and paving materials. Others, like BioMason, are working on growing bricks like coral within four days.
BIM continues to be a big trend and you may already know of its many uses. Currently, 3D modeling capabilities have advanced enough to be able to take these plans into a virtual reality experience. This application will be most useful for those who are in the business of planning complex industrial projects. Implementing VR technology will help managers and workers better predict safety protocols and the type of tools they’ll need to complete a project.
While construction technology continues to evolve, investing in these types of changes is crucial for the next stages of any construction business. Although costs can be a deterrent, investing in equipment and materials that can help recover lost time, resources and prevent employee injuries will add up to huge savings and major company growth.
Meet the Authors
Vice President, Business Strategy
Aldrich Technology LLC
Peter Adams leads business strategy for Aldrich Technology. Prior to Aldrich, Peter founded and ran Lighthouse Information Systems, a West Coast technology consultancy focused on leading clients through technological and operational challenges in order to promote growth and facilitate successful systems. While running Lighthouse for more than 35 years, Peter served clients across countless industries,... Read more Peter Adams
- ERP selection and implementation
- Operations and process analysis
- Technology as a strategic asset
- Business assessments
Diana Strassmaier, CPA, CCIFP®
Aldrich CPAs + Advisors LLP
Diana joined the firm in 2018 with almost two decades of experience serving members of various industries including construction, engineering and architecture, manufacturing and distribution, and government contracting. An expert on conducting overhead audits, Diana works closely with government contracting industry clients to offer clarity on how overhead rates work and help them maximize compensation.... Read more Diana Strassmaier, CPA, CCIFP®
- Indirect cost rate (overhead) audits and consulting
- Financial audits, reviews and compilations
- Business and personal tax planning and preparation
- Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor
- Management consulting
- Compensation analysis
- Sage Fixed Assets Certified Consultant