History has proven that as culture shifts and new technology emerges, architecture and construction practices change as well. Now, in the digital age, the construction industry is quickly responding to new technology that makes construction work more accurate and efficient.
From virtual reality to wearable technology and drones, technological leaps have taken the construction industry to new heights and completely changed construction operations. Just as high-tech equipment can radically transform a construction business, so can tools for offsite management.
New construction and administrative technology have the potential to expand an already lucrative market. Today, the construction industry contributes over 4.1 percent to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). As technological advances make the industry more efficient, who knows how far the construction market can grow in upcoming years.
Five technology-backed construction trends, in particular, will likely continue to increase in popularity among construction companies. These trends include increasing sustainability, adopting cost estimating software, using new project management tools, offering prefabricated projects, and harnessing the power of GPS.
For years, construction regulations have placed more and more emphasis on reducing negative environmental impact. With regulations expanding and “Green Construction” becoming more favorable among clients, many construction companies have made serious efforts to increase building sustainability.
Construction experts have tried for years to optimize energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. These efforts have led to new technology and better practices. For example, scientists and engineers have made major progress on the development of thermal performance raw materials, promising better insulation in the future. In addition, the development of concrete roofs that generate and store energy has successfully made many buildings more environmentally friendly.
Other sustainable construction efforts include reducing waste and recycling old materials, switching to LED lighting wherever possible, and building carbon-scrubbing building facades.
Cost Estimating Software
On the more administrative side of the construction industry, many construction companies now use cost estimating software before bidding on a project or accepting a proposal. This technology streamlines the estimation process and provides more accurate results.
Since appearing on the market, construction estimating software systems have become increasingly intuitive. This allows you to estimate building costs for your construction company with more precision. These systems help businesses make intelligent purchasing decisions by calculating prices and installation difficulty factor of every individual material.
By using this technology, construction businesses have access to easy in-depth analysis and large sets of data, as opposed to making estimates manually. With a smaller margin for error, construction businesses can work more efficiently, giving them an edge over their competition.
Project Management Tools
Project management constantly evolves and will continue to do so as consumer demands change. Using digital management systems, construction companies can track and manage all the intricacies of every project with ease.
Improvements in project management systems have expanded their capabilities. Managers can use these tools for budgeting and to keep track of essential documents related to each construction project. They can also assist with:
- Managing the safety of employees,
- Tracking real-time changes on worksites,
- Monitoring and ordering supplies/inventory,
- Dropshipping and logistics planning,
- Getting supplies delivered immediately, and
- Communicating abroad or internationally.
Modular and Prefabricated Construction
Despite its successes and major contributions to the U.S. economy, the construction industry is not immune to problems like labor shortage. Throughout the country, construction companies often struggle to hire and retain enough workers to keep up with the demand for construction. Businesses across the U.S. report difficulties filling both salaried and hourly positions.
At the same time, the cost of construction materials add to the burden of sustaining a profitable business. Each year, the industry faces increases in material and operational costs, leading to slimmer profit margins.
However, these economic conditions have created new innovations and trends within the industry. More and more companies have expanded their offerings to include modular and prefabricated projects. By offering more affordable options, businesses can tap into entirely new customer bases.
Advanced Use of GPS
GPS technology is nothing new. However, construction companies have found creative and resourceful ways to use GPS to make their businesses more efficient. Advancements include:
- Using GPS devices to survey worksites.
- Project managers can use GPS for fleet management by utilizing GPS tracking systems. This helps keep track of company vehicles via computer or smartphone.
- Data for prospective project sites can be quickly and accurately collected.
- Businesses can prevent theft by generating maps that pinpoint the exact location of all machinery.
If you own or operate a construction business, you may want to consider investing in one or more of these construction technology trends. As competitors adopt new technology, you’ll need to keep pace with new systems of your own.