The new age of construction
Updated: Jan 18
Given the pace at which the world is evolving, it only makes sense that one of the oldest practices known to man would evolve with it. The construction industry was a crucial part of the industrial revolution. New devices like steam engines and explosives started emerging, which led to the availability of material that was scarce or expensive. Glass panes went into mass production and change from luxury to people's property. Plumbing appeared and gave common access to drinking water and sewage collection. These advancements made in the construction industry are largely attributed to the industrial revolution. But now, the construction industry is almost unrecognizable to how it was a few decades ago, the main reason being technology.
Today the modern age of construction is here, and with it comes the need to revolutionize the old notions and practices. People of construction know the importance of safety, time management, and communication of their team. Like, the Japanese company Shimabun recently released an upgrade kit that can be used to outfit standard hardhats with a range of advanced safety capabilities. The Shimabun-equipped hardhat can monitor location, motion, and temperature, enabling it to warn that a worker might be lightheaded or overheated. It can also perceive if a worker has fallen and trigger an emergency call to first responders. The exactness of the data collected also makes it possible to perform better assessments of worksite mistakes
Along with the safety of the workers, the safety of a job site is also important to a construction company. Structural monitoring systems, like those developed by Hexagon Geosystems, use sensors to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of a given structure that are invisible to the human eye. These monitors can help predict structural problems before they happen, allowing the site owner to bring in a construction crew to perform necessary maintenance before the site becomes dangerous.
After safety, one of the main concerns of a constructor is the efficiency of work. Whether it be in terms of paperwork or terms of communication, efficiency is the key to a good day. Construction management software is the future of an efficient project manager. Softwares like Procore, Fieldwire, and Procost systems are game-changers, they are what bring you a step forward from other companies, and they are what keep you there.
Other advanced softwares like predictive analytics are being used to secure more accurate estimates on a range of data, which can save time and money. For instance, predictive software can analyze a company’s purchase history on project supplies and compare it against the actual amount that is employed and generate more accurate orders for future projects, preventing expensive surpluses.
The future of construction is not only in the tools but also in the materials used in the construction process itself like the self-healing concrete that repairs its own cracks and can last up to 200 years without a replacement, or the Algae-infused building panels and invisible solar cells that can generate clean energy. The construction industry is adapting to the need to produce things quickly and efficiently. Modular and prefabricated construction is not actually all that new. After World War II, there was a boom in prefab construction, although the quality was low.
In 2020, however, prefab homes are making a huge comeback. They are cheaper to both develop and purchase, more durable, and quicker to construct than most houses. Because of this, they are attractive to the average buyer.
This journey of creation from the Stonehenge in 3000 BC, to the construction of the breathtaking Taj Mahal in 1632, the erection of the Burj Khalifa in 2004 has taught us what humans are capable of doing. The future of the industry looks promising.