Tech transformation Ellis Fox Blog

Technology transformation in Construction

Times of crisis often necessitate innovation. And for an industry that has traditionally been resistant to change, construction is certainly stepping up. Throughout both lockdowns main contractors have had to navigate the challenges of keeping work going amid safety concerns, staff and materials shortages. Many companies have reshuffled and started to refocus on technologies and construction methods that can help them become more efficient and competitive in the future. We look at three technologies that are set to make a big impact on construction:

Modern methods of construction

Interserve has recently announced shifting one of its directors to head up a new off-site manufacturing division. Additionally Japan’s major off-site manufacturer has recently set up a UK based division. These are strong indicators that the industry is embracing the benefits that offsite manufacturing and 3D printing have to offer. Internationally some of the most successful 3D printed construction projects have been for major infrastructure works such as bridges and tunnels. They’re proving to be far more efficient in terms of time to construct and install resulting in massive cost savings.

Green infrastructure development

As the UK government forges ahead with its goal to transition to all electric vehicles in the next decade, the realisation is that a vast infrastructure will be needed to support this. It’s not just setting up EV charging stations in urban and rural locations. More important is ensuring the electricity supply infrastructure is in place to be able to deliver power when and where it’s needed. Additionally there is a great deal of innovation taking place with the development of batteries. New factories, warehouses and storage facilities are other potential construction projects in the pipeline.

AI optimized workflows

A common stumbling block for productivity is the complexities of workflow on a site. One small glitch can have a knock on effect, delaying multiple aspects of the work. Traditionally, most workflows have been managed manually with various departments operating in silos. AI driven technology is ideally suited to the complex nature of construction workflows and is proving to be very effective in mitigating delays and improving production. Consulting firm Accenture has predicted that this type of technology has the potential to increase industry profits by 71% in the next 15 years.

After years of lagging behind other industries, adopting these and other emerging technologies may well see construction become more productive and profitable in the future.