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The future face of construction - new technology

12 Jan 2018

Tech development is transforming the world at lighting speed. Things that once seemed farfetched have become everyday life. With everything online; drones, data, robots, wearable tech… the construction industry is capitalising on advances in technology making for exciting times ahead.

We’re taking a look at a few of the new technologies affecting the construction industry to see where the future lies.

Aside from parking apps and shared calendars helping our everyday jobs, the cloud enables tech to improve systems and processes for the industry as a whole. There are obvious safety benefits to using more tech, too.

3D Printing

It’s come a long way since its inception and opportunities of scale are now very exciting. Rather than printing small components, it’s expected that the capability of 3D printing will become so large that houses will be fully 3D printed, bringing flexibility and speed to house-building - plus of course huge reductions in cost. This could be highly desirable in areas trying to rebuild post-hurricane or after other natural disasters. In time, 3D housing might be the only way that future generations can afford housing.

Artificial Intelligence and Robots

Some construction organisations are already utilising AI to address the well-documented skills shortage within the industry. With some staggering stats facing the industry, such as the need to employ one worker every 77 seconds until 2021 simply to keep on top of existing Government targets, it’s no wonder we’re having to look to future tech, today! Benefits of utilising AI not only go so far as alleviating staff pressures, algorithms, computer learning and robotic assistance can speed production, improve efficiencies and minimise errors and health and safety issues too – a recent study utilised e-gloves able to detect vibrations therefore cutting the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome for workers for example. Machine vision is already being implemented to survey sites, assess and report back on construction progress and to analyse materials and structures. Some leading organisations see AI as a threat to industry workers however there are counter-arguments to suggest that new jobs such as AI trainers will be created.

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

One of the most exciting new technologies of the past few years, BIM is already transforming the way that construction works. Building modelling allows everyone involved to virtually build their project in accurate detail, before any construction work begins. This can identify potential issues, safety concerns etc and changes can be made before the cost-heavy work gets underway - ultimately enabling faster, more efficient builds.

Internet of Things - networked living

Whether commercial construction, or homebuilding, the internet of things has really accelerated over the past year. Where fully wired houses were once for only tech geeks and the super wealthy, improvements in affordability and availability have made connected buildings more accessible for everyone. Cue Alexa-powered homes and offices, with smart technology throughout, smart sensors in every room, interactive heating and lighting… everything connected via apps. It’s already here and will only grow. Architects and builders must plan for this and electricians will need to upskill into IT to really get ahead of the competition.

Wearable technology

It’s so much cooler than the Apple watch. And we love a good smartwatch. But we’re not talking about small-scale wearables and fancy pouches for your phones. As well as biometric data for on-site staff, to improve safety (think ‘tiredness kills, take a break’ messaging on motorways), wearable data offers great on-site assistance. Wearable technology will combine the real world with your plans and models, to bring the real and virtual worlds together. Think safety helmets with a heads-up display notification for wiring layouts, for example. Think exoskeleton technology (kind of like wearing part of a robot!) to help with heavy load lifting, to help shoulder the burden of the task. OK, stand-down Transformers!

New materials

You might think that everything on earth has already been developed when it comes to construction, but no. Technological advances are literally transforming what we know and what we can do with construction materials. For example, love the strength of aluminium in your building design, but hate its industrial look? Enter transparent aluminium. This really blows our minds. Imagine the applications of a material that essentially looks like glass but performs as hard aluminium metal? Materials development really is super cool. Not convinced? Perhaps engineered living materials will help? Living concrete is already a thing, where bacteria can grow cracks in concrete together again. So too is porous concrete, which enables water to seep through - ultimately to help prevent road flooding.

The Cloud and Mobile Apps

Managing documentation, on-site paperwork, plans and scheduling will be massively improved by the ongoing introduction of new Apps for the construction industry. Hiring programmers into construction teams could unlock myriad time-saving and efficiency-boosting opportunities. While the relatively simple apps already exist, for logging on, tracking time etc, the new advances have made them linkable with other apps.

Recruiting for future skills

It’s an exciting time for construction, but finding the right people with the right skills can be challenging - we’re here to help. There’s certainly a shortage of tech-skilled construction professionals - particularly in BIM and AI. At PSR we recommend ongoing skills development for candidates and also promote clients with proven development plans. Those who move forward, move upwards.

Our award-winning construction permanent and temporary recruitment specialists are committed to helping each of our candidates find their dream job. Contact us in confidence, register or send us your CV and let’s get started.

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