Sustainable technology in construction: The power of automation

Construction technology has the power to help us reach net-zero by 2030. Learn how automation is putting us on the path towards transforming the future of construction into a sustainable industry and beyond in the next decade.

The challenge is clear across industries that the time for change to prevent our planet from ecological disaster was yesterday. According to UKGBC, the built environment leads to 40% of UK carbon emissions meaning proportionally we as an industry have the largest jump to make towards net-zero targets by 2030. However, it is not all doom and gloom for the built environment, we have an opportunity to harness the power of technology as a springboard to leap into the future.

Harnessing the power of construction technology for a sustainable future

As the world wakes up to the need for a more sustainable future, businesses will harness the power of technology to take us to a place beyond sustainability. In particular, automation will be one of the most powerful tools in the industry’s toolbox to construct a more sustainable future, according to Sensat CEO, James Dean’s 2022 predictions.

Construction suffers from information silos caused by varied file types, programmes and technical knowledge needed to read them. As a result, these barriers make it difficult for teams to gain a holistic view of sites and projects when making decisions. Poor project data and miscommunication causes 52% of rework, leading to a vast amount of material waste every year. However, we are entering a new era of data where technology can improve the unsustainable construction practices of today by the better surfacing of data and collaboration over it.

In the future using automation, construction sites will be supplied with a constant stream of accurate and up to date data, translated into a comprehensive format so that the right first time decisions can be made. Access to data and information will be almost instantaneous, and our ability to make sense of it in new and subtle ways to make decisions will be practically automatic. As we climb the levels of automation we will rely on the power of AI and machine learning so that algorithms can suggest the most sustainable and cost-effective decisions for a project. As one example, utilising automation will enable accurate material calculations for orders to prevent onsite waste. One study suggested that 13% of all solid materials delivered to sites, some 10 million tonnes, go unused, most of which is not recyclable. This is not only a significant cost to projects financially but also a detrimental and unnecessary cost to the environment.

As sustainability moves to the forefront of every business agenda, we will see companies explore tech’s ability to not only operate sustainably but give back to the planet. Automation will unlock the insights into the streams of data we require in order to plan, bid, build and manage projects more sustainably and with improved productivity. Be this reducing unnecessary trips to site, reducing material waste, or making the right decisions between teams through having accessible and up to date information. But this technology is not replacing humans; it is augmenting how we engage with the world. It will improve efficiency and productivity in the industry so that data can be placed in the hands of decision-makers so that sustainability can be achieved, minimising mistakes and waste whilst optimising efficiency.

Sensat’s vision of an automated, sustainable future

What Sensat is doing to meet sustainability targets?

At the heart of Sensat is our mission to automate the way civil infrastructure across the asset lifecycle with the aim of reducing costs by 5x, opening access to fundamental infrastructure to billions more people and ending devastating environmental practices. Last year we helped save 84,893 kg of CO2 through using autonomous UAVs compared to traditional methods of data capture, the equivalent to the offset of 3,899 trees per year, and helped some of the largest projects in the UK to use their data to minimise site visits and prevent reworks.

Sensat certificate of plating 400 trees with One Tree Planted

On our journey towards a more sustainable planet, we are conscious that we too have to look inwards which is why we have been doing our own carbon calculations on our journey towards and are working towards our B Corp accreditation. As a thank you to everyone who has supported our journey so far we donated 400 trees to help offset our footprint as a company in 2021. However, we understand that offsetting is only the best practice retrospectively and that we must be vigilant in our endeavour to reduce emissions going forward.

Read how automation is set to transform the future of construction

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