Technology is quickly changing the face of the construction industry, and few changes have impacted the construction industry as much as technology. With that in mind, here are some top trends to watch as your construction business moves forward in the coming years:
- Surveying Technology
Surveying is one of the more time consuming parts of a major construction project, but new technology is helping. In 2014, for example, drone surveying became more of a reality. Drones can now be used to laser scan properties and get detailed, accurate maps and reports of the property’s boundaries and layout.
Car-mounted surveying technology is another time-saver now available in the construction industry. With products that can perform 360-degree corridor surveys at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour, the modern construction company can cut hours of time once sent on surveying, even on large-scale projects.
- GPS Fleet Tracking
Where are your fleet vehicles? Did your drivers arrive on time to the job? Is the customer complaining of late drivers without reason? The answers to these questions are easy to get thanks to modern technology: Know where your assets are, how drivers are behaving, and who is on time to the job with a GPS fleet tracking system on all of your mobile assets, and watch as the efficiency of your fleet and the safety of your drivers increases significantly.
Telematics in the construction industry is no longer just for fleet vehicles; off-highway vehicles and large equipment need the help of telematics as well. Rental companies, especially, are using telematics to track their products.
- 3-D Printing
Does 3-D printing have a place in the manufacturing industry? According to iSqFt it does. New technology is now allowing contractors to print concrete using 3-D printing technology. One contractor in New York City even constructed an entire 2,400-square-foot home complete with a swimming pool using only 3-D printing technology. While this type of large-scale project is still something of the future, smaller parts of today’s construction projects are relying on 3-D printing technology in a greater way.
- Increase Automation
Automation for large equipment is becoming more important as skilled-equipment handlers are leaving the industry for retirement, without proper replacements. Manufactures are adding GPS and electronic controls to make these large pieces of equipment more automated, so workers who are not skilled handlers can operate them. This allows new workers to learn the controls more quickly, and projects can stay on task.
- Green Technology
Customers want to go green, and that starts at the building stage. Energy efficiency is no longer just an expensive fad in the construction industry — it’s now something many customers demand. Technology can help by allowing construction contractors to save fuel, lower emissions on large equipment and lessen the overall impact on the environment of a large-scale construction project. With increasing fuel prices being the historic norm, this also helps contractors and companies save money and lower operating expenses.
- Safety Technology
Increasing safety and decreasing accidents on the job is one of the priorities for the modern construction crew. Technology provides help in this area as well. Innovations, such as carbon monoxide detecting hats or geofencing around the construction site, can alert workers to safety risks, and allow them to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their assets.
- Real-Time Data Reporting
The growth of cloud-based technology means construction managers now have access to real-time data. Using smartphones and tablets, site managers can get up-to-date information about the projects they are overseeing without the need to wait for workers to return to the office. This allows managers to make informed decisions in the field when needed.
With each of these advances, the construction industry is becoming increasingly dependent on technology to get the job done. If your team has not yet embraced these technological changes, it is crucial to do so as you strive to remain relevant now and in the future.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking software and systems for small and midsized companies.