As per Business Wire, the construction industry in Canada is expected to grow steadily to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5% during the forecast period 2022-2026. Keeping this in mind, construction firms should potentially take measures to ensure that they are prepared to serve customers’ needs better and boost productivity. Here, we discuss some new trends in construction technologies we can expect to see in 2023 and how they can help transform the industry.
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Is it even possible to imagine the construction industry without tools like modern hydraulic excavators, cement mixer trucks, and caulk guns? The answer is probably not.
It would be difficult to cut boards and drill holes without power tools or dig trenches without shovels. The fact is that advancements in technology have pushed the construction industry ahead. Technology can potentially make construction sites more productive and safe for workers. To enable streamlined workflows and more prompt data access, you can harness the benefits of construction management software.
In this article, we have listed some construction tech trends that can help fuel the growth of the construction industry in 2023. Before we look at some futuristic trends, let’s first understand what construction technology is.
What is construction technology?
Construction technology can be defined as a group of innovative equipment, software, or machinery used to drive advancements in construction processes that can help reduce manual efforts. That said, emerging trends in construction technology can potentially deliver significant returns on investments (ROI) and aid in improving the productivity of construction methods.
From construction project planning to design and execution, construction technologies could help streamline different processes involved in construction management. Here’s a look at some construction tech trends that you may see becoming mainstream in the coming years.
7 Construction technologies to see in 2023
1. 3D printing
3D printing can be defined as a method of manufacturing components of construction or entire architecture using a 3D printer. Such construction printers can either print prefabricated building elements or entire buildings.
They can be used to reduce production time by automating concrete-making processes. Since such printers are typically completely automated, they use only the required materials, thereby saving costs on material waste. 3D printing technology could be one of the most effective solutions to the current housing crisis in Canada. In fact, Habitat for Humanity has launched its first-ever 3D-printed house project.
2. Building information modeling (BIM)
BIM technology can typically enable collaboration between design and construction teams by allowing them to add their updates to the same model version instead of creating multiple versions on a paper drawing. Since changes to the BIM model can happen in real-time, any modifications to the model can be conveniently shared with all stakeholders.
When paired with virtual reality (VR), BIM tools can allow workers to go over a virtual model of the construction field before a single brick is placed. This, in turn, may help avoid potential problems and errors.
What is virtual reality (VR)?
Virtual reality can be defined as technology that creates a computer-generated environment with objects and surroundings that seem real and make the user feel like a part of such an environment. For example, VR-based video games give users a quasi-real experience and help test driving skills and speed.
Although robots may not completely eliminate the need for human workers in the construction field, there could be some applications where they can help automate several tasks such as bricklaying, taking measurements, demolition, etc.
Using robots could benefit you in many ways. For instance, robots will not feel tired after laying bricks, measuring construction sites, or applying mortar. However, you may always need human workers to set up robots, monitor them, and get them to work. Amid labour shortages in Canada, robotics and automation can be potential pathways to speed up processes in the construction industry.
4. Autonomous heavy equipment
As the name indicates, autonomous equipment can be any tool or equipment that can perform tasks without requiring human aid or manual efforts. From dozers to excavators, haul trucks, and load carriers, autonomous construction equipment can perform various tasks. These include navigating construction sites, excavating and grading soil, spotting construction errors —such as improper alignment of formwork and improper finishing of concrete— and sending safety instructions to operators.
Such equipment usually use sensors, cameras, radars, and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to execute tasks without a human operator. Autonomous heavy machines may become more prevalent in the construction industry as the technology behind cameras and sensors improves.
What is artificial intelligence (AI)?
Artificial intelligence can be defined as technology that makes computers or machines able to think and act like a human. For example, using AI-based chatbots, team members can get weather updates, updates on scheduled delivery timings, or updated equipment inventory.
5. Digital twin
In construction, a digital twin can be defined as the virtual model of a building or construction site. It usually combines and gathers real-time data about the site or building using different technologies including drones, cameras, 3D laser scanners, Internet of Things (IoT) services, and sensors.
Digital twins can allow space managers to look at the building design framework and adapt to different space requirements. When integrated with AI and IoT tools, a digital twin can learn from various sources and potentially improve by suggesting adjustments automatically.
6. Wearable technology
Wearable technology in construction is typically used in personal protective equipment (PPE) and apparel. This would include things like work boots, gloves, safety jackets, glasses, and helmets. Such wearables usually comprise biometrics, location trackers, voltage detectors, and environmental sensors to monitor posture, workers’ movements, and send out alerts for any falls or accidents.
Using wearable technology may potentially improve safety at construction sites. For instance, a safety watch embedded with biometric sensors can monitor workers’ body temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vital factors and immediately send notifications to their supervisor if somebody is not feeling well or suffering from exhaustion.
Drones in the construction industry can be used to monitor job sites and detect potential hazards. Using high-definition (HD) cameras and AI tools, drones can capture visual reports of a site to keep everyone at the site informed of the varying conditions each day.
In addition to inspection, drones can potentially keep an eye on workers’ throughput and ensure that they work in safer conditions.
Investing in construction technologies may help you improve productivity, enable better collaboration, prevent potential hazards, and complete projects on time. But this does not mean you must implement all of the above technologies simultaneously. You could start by adopting the technology your business requires the most and measuring the impact of that particular technology on your business, and then expanding from there.