4 technology trends that will shape construction in 2019

The construction industry has been notoriously slow to jump into technology in the past, but is now increasingly promoting digital adoption to improve the sector’s productivity. Looking ahead to 2019 there’s no reason we shouldn’t expect more of the same.

From automated design to connected sites, an incredible ray of technology developments is hoping to improve a sector that shapes how every human being is able to live their lives. Other emerging trends we will see are advanced materials (and more prefabrication of large components), unmanned aerial vehicles and virtual and augmented reality. Here are 4 construction technology trends to keep your eyes on in 2019:

1. Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Similar to last year, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is predicted to be one of the most important technology trends, shaping the construction industry.

Traditionally, different pieces of data and information sat in silos, leading to delay of projects and information mismanagement. BIM can bring them together to enable collective decisions making during the different phases of projects. It allows making information about almost every aspect of a construction project available to all the relevant parties; regardless of whether those parties are on site or elsewhere. And it goes without saying that data has played an integral role in the seen shift in construction.

To hear more about BIM and how it influences the different phases in construction, listen to our latest podcast episode with David-John Gibbs from HKA here.

2. Building Lean

Now more than ever, there is a big push on the environment, demanding for the use of sustainable products and the least amount of resource possible.

Making use of prefabricated materials and setting up just-in-time deliveries that align with project schedules are just two approaches companies can adapt to eliminate waste, build leaner and increase productivity.

The modular construction market size is also projected to witness enormous growth – from an estimated $112.42 billion last year to $157.19 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 6.9%. According to Westchester Modular, through modular construction, jobs can be done 65 times faster.

3. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, especially drones, are set to become increasingly common in construction projects throughout 2019. From digitising large infrastructure sites and undertaking inspections to insuring operatives are kept out of danger zones, the continued rise of UAVs will significantly improve safety and productivity in the construction and infrastructure sector.​

Drones rapidly increase the rate of data capture, reducing time and cost to receive critical information. Combining the acquired data sets into the same simulated replica of a site also reduces data silos and information mismanagement.

Another reason for using drones is the versatility of data that can be achieved from a single survey, including 3D point clouds and photographs using a technique called structure from motion. To find out more about the different forms of data capture and how to get the most from your aerial survey, read our industry report here.

4. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Both Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are slowly becoming more commonly used in construction, predominantly through improving operatives’ safety by enabling better health and safety training and making the most relevant information available to workers in the field.

VR not only enables project teams and stakeholders to step inside their proposed schemes before construction works commence, but also to create walkthroughs of complex site logistic plans in advance to supporting health and safety awareness training. In 2019 we can expect even more new applications and practical uses across the industry, revolutionising how projects are planned and build.

Developments are also continued to be made in augmented reality, or AR. By overlaying 3D digital content seamlessly onto a user’s real vision, another dimension of information is added to the physical world. This gives builders, planners and architects the chance to interact with lifelike digital models of their projects and ideas, allowing them to be more experimental, visualising what their ideas would look like in a simulated environment.​

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