The digitalisation of construction

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The aftermath of the pandemic has resulted in companies having to adapt their practises in order to keep up with the changing environment. What was once considered normal or traditional has been affected dramatically and the construction industry, as well as other industries, must now ensure that they are equipped to survive another disruption. This is where digitalisation is introduced – modernising traditional business methods through the use of technology. It gives businesses opportunities such as to expand and attract potential customers. 

Digitising the construction industry

Digital technology has the potential to completely remodel a business. The construction and engineering sectors are currently amongst the least digitised industries (source: HM Government). However the last 10 years has seen an increased use of technology within construction, and this has affected the way in which individuals now work.

Digitalisation is steadily taking control over the construction industry, especially with the invention of technology such as Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM uses data that helps architects, engineers and contractors to “plan, design and construct” a building using a 3D model (source: Constructible). It even goes as far as allowing for the operation and management of a building even after it has been erected.

Construction is also looking to use technology to become more resourceful, and there is growing demand for “environmentally sensitive construction solutions” (source: Onecom). The sector is looking to implement practises that are resource-efficient. Smart devices can be used to achieve this and create a more sustainable world. Devices that can aid in reducing waste or water usage are just some examples of the type of technology that can help contribute to a greener environment.

The importance of innovation

Innovation is important for any sector as it enhances the quality of a product or service. Digital innovation is completely transforming construction sites as a result of technology that may not have been achieved earlier had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning will allow construction workers to accurately capture vital information needed for projects.

The safety of workers is also another major factor that highlights the importance of innovation. Machine learning can be used in place of humans, and reduce the need for workers to put themselves at risk when on site.

What does this mean for the future of construction?

The pandemic has introduced ways we can make construction more efficient and safe for staff through the use of technology. Real time intelligence such as cameras and laser scanners have already been implemented into operations. Alongside BIM, increased use of robots, Augmented and Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence is expected. The introduction of wearables is also expected to have the biggest impact on the construction industry, and in particular the safety of their workers. GPS and location trackers and sensors with the purpose of monitoring the movements or heart rate of workers will be fitted into PPE.

In the coming years, we will undoubtedly see more technological development from the construction industry. 

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