BuzzFeed: 4 Top Factors Affecting Growth In The Construction Industry

The beginning of the 21st century brought about a technological boom that changed everything. Every single industry has been affected through technological advancements, even if the degree of change varies. This also includes the construction industry. Essentially, construction is defined as the process of assembling and moving equipment and materials into an operational and completed facility. A number of construction operations are deemed repetitive, but they are not performed in a fixed location or even in a fixed sequence. Furthermore, the construction industry is not based on the production of a standardized product due to which the demands for the material supply of buying, receiving, expediting, warehousing and delivery are more complex.

This is one of the primary reasons why the basic construction process has remained the same since the Middle Ages and it is still done stick by stick and piece by piece. However, it is a fact that even this basic process is an important part of the world economy. It is a major segment of the overall economy because it includes both residential and commercial construction. The space shuttle launch facility, a neighborhood shopping center, a petrochemical plant, the Great Wall of China, a nuclear power plant, the Erie canal or a single-family home; these are all construction projects, but all require different technologies and skills. In a nutshell, they represent the different sectors of the construction industry.

In the last decade, the impact of technological advancement on the construction sector has varied as it depends on the type of construction being performed. There is a huge potential for significant developments as advancements are being driven by competitive pressures and technological innovation. Currently, the most significant changes and technological trends that have affected the growth of the construction industry are:

CAD or computer-aided design has now become a crucial element of the design-construction process and has benefitted the entire industry in several respects. This means that the interferences that occur during the design of different systems are reduced, there is better communication between the supplier and designer and also there is improvement in feedback in the design cycle. Moreover, the use of CAD has also proven to be good for speeding up the process of construction as the construction and engineering process works seamlessly.

Rather than waiting for the entire design to be finished before starting construction, CAD now enables companies to begin construction when the 40% of the design is finished. Apart from that, implementing midstream changes is easier and there is considerable time-saving as well because designs can be developed faster.

Generally, construction equipment is required for assembling and moving materials. There is more emphasis on moving material faster or simply moving larger pieces with greater accuracy and reliability. There has also been an increase in efficiency in the use of heavy construction equipment at job sites including conveyors, cranes and earth movers. Some specific machinery and equipment have also undergone dramatic improvements such as laser-based excavation equipment and also new tunneling equipment.

There is also a notable increase in the use of advanced materials like fiberglass fabric for doing repair tasks rapidly, polyester fiber for added durability and honeycomb foams and structures for increased strength and most importantly, the use of specialized material for undersea, arctic, radioactive, arid and extraterrestrial environments. There is still ongoing improvement in the qualities of these material. These trends in consumer methods, equipment and materials are affecting all kinds of construction.

The system of controls aimed at optimizing the design, implementation and construction process is referred to as the construction management process. This is deemed vital to the ability of the construction industry to take advantage of the technological innovations. The process of cost control, scheduling and planning has to address the interface between all disciplines and create a framework that enables the new technological developments to be efficiently assimilated in a construction project.

The large-scale construction work has become quite fast-tracked as job site robots are being used along with just-in time delivery systems for timely scheduling. Construction and design are able to proceed simultaneously instead of waiting for engineering to be finished and makes management simpler. Furthermore, there are other areas of construction management such as inventory, bulk staging activities, quality control, construction startup, information and handling that have also seen impacts of technology.

The technology has also changed the way contracts are done. It is now the time when construction contracts are going digital with the introduction of smart contract. What is a smart contract exactly? Furthermore, what advantages does one provide over old-style wet-signed paper? Here you can learn everything about Smart Contracts.

Another growing trend in the construction industry is the use of computerized expert systems like systems for diagnosing vibration issues in rotating machinery or systems for verifying weld performance qualifications. In the next decade, the use of expert systems is going to be the most significant application of techniques of artificial intelligence in the next decade. Technologies such as geodetic positioning and laser range-finding have also come in handy for automating storage areas on the job site, pinpointing accurate locations and for establishing tracks for remotely operated vehicles. Gradually, they will all be integrated into a coherent and smooth system for automated control of certain activities in the construction industry.

No doubt, all the mentioned above technologies may and will definitely improve construction process and optimize all related processes. The only thing that is lacking here is the backbone of the process — the structure, within which all these technologies could function at capacity. BitRent has recently announced building of an Investing Blockchain platform that is meant to unite all such technologies and control the whole construction process from the first sketch till exploitation and complete dismantling of the building project. Moreover, taking advantage of BIM and RFID tags, investors will be empowered to monitor the process down to a single piece of construction element.

Middle Age construction methods are long gone. The world becomes more digitized day after day, so why don’t we try the best of things the digital world offers us?

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Originally published at www.buzzfeed.com.

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