It’s fair to say that technology has transformed almost every modern industry, and construction is no different. Whereas primitive job sites might have featured basic hand tools and little regard for health and safety, today workers are building stronger and more complex structures in more efficient ways than ever before.
The value of construction work in the UK has risen consistently in recent years too, allowing for further investment in these advances. So how exactly is technology shaping the industry today?
Simple power tools such as hole saws or cordless drills have made labourers’ lives easier for years now, while connected tools are becoming easier to monitor in terms of location and charge. But it’s software and artificial intelligence (AI) that offer perhaps the most significant potential for increasing productivity.
Mobile apps are now commonly used across almost every stage of builds, from scheduling, project management, reporting and advertising your construction marketing agency. Many are based in the cloud too, allowing teams to access and update them on the go.
All that data creates opportunities for AI and machine learning systems to streamline construction processes even further. One example is tracking worker movement to optimise tool and material placement and reduce any unnecessary back and forth.
Improving safety has long been a key concern of industry leaders, and thankfully technology is making it easier to train workers, prevent accidents and reduce serious injuries.
Virtual reality simulators, for example, are being used to expose workers to challenging conditions such as confined spaces or heights. Wearable devices meanwhile can be deployed to track workers and alert others to falls – as well as monitoring increases in temperature and heart rate.
On a similar theme, site sensors will now record things like temperature, noise and dust particles to limit worker exposure.
Construction is one of the industries in the UK facing something of a skills shortage, and it’s a gap that is now being at least partly filled by technology.
Drones are becoming a common feature of larger jobsites and can work to quickly carry out routine inspections, as well as taking photographs to track progress. Robots are also being used to carry out repetitive tasks such as bricklaying without the need for worker breaks.
On a larger scale, autonomous equipment can even perform heavy-duty jobs such as excavation. Workers are still required to set up and operate much of this technology, so there is no concern that human jobs will be replaced.
We’ll likely see more and more construction firms adopting the technologies describes above as the benefits become increasingly apparent.