technology construction Ellis Fox

What technologies will influence construction in 2020?

For several years now there has been much talk about how technology could revolutionise the construction industry. While adoption rates have remained slow technology implementation is gaining momentum. Could 2020 be the year that things really start to change?

BIM has already made inroads within the industry and become a requirement for major tenders. It’s aimed at improving efficiency by maintaining a full lifecycle of project data. While architects, engineers and project managers are already seeing the benefits, BIM is yet to reach its full potential. There are still untapped options to incorporate AR and VR and integrate scanning and robotics technologies.

While traditionally construction has been largely reliant on a manual labour force, this is set to change with the introduction of robotics. While there is a concern about job losses, the benefits in terms of safety and efficiency are very attractive. Robotics are already being used in demolitions and to inspect potentially hazardous locations on building sites. Further applications are seeing robots used for roadworks and bricklaying, not to mention off-site construction and the production and assembly of modular construction and 3D printed designs.

Modular construction is seeing a boom at present as is 3D concrete printing and could provide a solution to some of construction’s most pressing problems. The housing backlog has existed for years, primarily because of the cost and time delay of traditional building methods.  Modular houses can be assembled in a matter of weeks and at a fraction of the cost. New construction methods can help reduce carbon emissions and be designed to integrate with green technologies.

Considering the ambitious emissions targets that have been set, considerable change is going to be needed within the construction industry. Green considerations will need to be implemented from the early planning stages and many traditional construction methods will need to be adapted. Which brings us full circle back to BIM, VR and AR, technologies that can not only aid in more energy efficient design, but also help to plan for more effective building operations and maintenance which contribute a large percentage of carbon emissions.

There are many challenges ahead for the construction industry, but at the same time there is an opportunity to use technology to help facilitate change. There are existing solutions that can be adapted from other industries without much effort. It’s time for construction to step up to the challenge and help make the industry more productive and solutions oriented.