Oh, how the times have changed. How many months did your contractor built your house? Maybe around three to six months? Longer if your house has been around for the past 20 years. If you’re living in an ancestral home, it might have taken a year before everything was finished. That was how long construction took place back then. In 2011, Japan shocked the world when it rebuilt an entire portion of a highway in just six days. That’s thanks to technology, ingenuity, and Japanese engineering.
Technology in construction isn’t a fad. Soon, it will run over spreadsheets, manual data entry, and paperwork. No longer will there be a need for blueprints in the future because contractors will provide a 3-D print of your future house. No matter where you are in the spectrum of relying on technology or not for home construction, you cannot deny the fact that it has made the process easier, cheaper, and more reliable.
In the last few years, 3-D printing has made significant leaps. You can find a 3-D printer in homes now whereas before it was only available in public libraries and specialised stores. In 2016, the Oak Ridge National Laboratories showed the first fully 3-D-printed home that’s suitable for living. Obviously, there’s still a long way to go before contractors start building homes from a 3-D printer, but the road to it has started.
In terms of construction technology, 3-D printing will change how contractors source materials—from prefabrication to actually printing the supplies on-site. While prefabricated materials are a great way to streamline the construction process, 3-D printing will take it a notch higher by having the ability to produce the material right on the construction site.
The possibilities for this technology are endless. 3-D printing will reduce or eliminate the waste generated in construction sites. The American Institute of Architects said that waste from construction sites make up 25% to 40% of the country’s total solid waste. Printing materials on-site will reduce that, as well as the cost of transporting these materials.
Five years ago, the construction industry promised to make strides in cordless technology before 2020. It made good of that promise. Construction workers now have the option to use wireless power tools, although many companies are still not making the transition to cordless technology. You can check out companies such as Floorex Products for equally powerful corded tools and devices.
The cordless tools receive power from rechargeable batteries, so they’re usually fit for light drilling jobs. They can deliver between 12 and 18 volts, which means that heavy-duty work must still be done using corded power tools. Soon, once technology gives these tools the ability to power heavy-duty work, there will be fewer accidents caused by tripping on construction sites.
Together with building information modelling (BIM), virtual reality will allow the clients to “walk” around a model of their homes. This will allow them to better understand the process it takes to build a home. They can also make the necessary changes in the job before the major components of the house are put in place. This will avoid expensive changes midway through the project.
The plan for virtual reality is for it to soon guide workers through their tasks. For example, construction workers can wear VR glasses and receive information and instruction through the screen about the task they need to complete. This will get the job done faster. At the same time, it will reduce mistakes that happen because of miscommunication.
Is there going to be a talk about technology without mentioning artificial intelligence? The industry is already using AI for major tasks such as bricklaying and autonomous equipment. Big machines can do complex tasks without the need for human interaction. These were figments of the imagination a decade ago.
More than autonomous devices and robotics, AI can collect data and use that information to raise questions about the safety of a task or alert the contractors if there are missing pieces in an area of the house or building. AI will not only make the construction process easier, but it will also increase the safety of the workers. It will also provide data needed for the improvement of these processes in the future.
Technology in construction still has a long way to go. They need polishing if they will push the industry further in terms of innovativeness and quality production. Despite that, the industry has proven time and again that with resourcefulness, creativity, and ingenuity, it can move societies forward.