Three ways technology is making waves in construction

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Cutting edge technologies are making waves in the construction industry and are set to completely revolutionise every aspect of the job. From drones to smart helmets, tech-based solutions are helping the industry adapt to a skill and resource crunch.

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Three ways technology is making waves in construction
Wall-e may not be reality yet, but technology is already changing the way things are done in the construction industry. From drones buzzing around capturing footage of building sites to the latest computer software enabling ever closer collaboration between teams, technology is helping to streamline processes and solve some of the issues facing the construction industry.

Technology plugs the gaps
And let’s face it, help is much needed – while the UK’s construction sector ended 2016 on a strong note, the industry is also struggling with a crippling shortage of skilled labour and is experiencing intense cost pressures, the latter is, in part, due to the sharp fall in the value of the pound following the vote to leave the EU. Economic uncertainty, along with a continued lack of skilled labour, will force firms to further innovate in order to plug the gaps.

Intelligence at the tap of a finger
New tech-based solutions such as building information modelling (BIM), productivity apps, and cloud-based platforms are becoming indispensable tools for many in the industry. Seamlessly sharing data, inputs and key information across disparate teams has never been easier. Thanks to the ‘cloud’, teams on the ground can now instantly access information and solve problems on the fly. It can also be a critical factor in the delivery of complex projects; apps help project managers track a vast array of data from budgets to schedules in a simple real-time portal.

Automating building tasks
Beyond the software, there are many hardware products causing a stir. A growing number of projects are turning to automated robots to perform basic building tasks such as constructing beams and laying bricks. These can be overseen via the web from anywhere in the world. Commercial grade drones equipped with 3D scanners can survey a project within a fraction of the time traditional surveyors would take. Additionally, virtual reality devices are changing the way that prospective investors and tenants experience spaces and buildings, as models and overlays are displayed in lifelike quality.

Making equipment work harder
Safety on the job site is a major concern for anyone in the construction industry. Enter smart helmets. Currently in the pilot phase, these will use sensors and cameras to relay information about the project area, alerting staff of potential hazards.
The sharing economy has also made its way to construction and is continuing to grow as companies such as Yard Club and Dozr are offering contractors the ability to rent construction equipment when it’s not in use. In an uncertain economy, these sharing alternatives allow smaller or overloaded general contractors to rent on an ‘as needed’ basis and avoid big upfront costs.

The tech revolution has only just begun
The construction industry may traditionally have been slower than others to innovate, but as cutting edge technology becomes more mainstream, attitudes are rapidly changing, revolutionising the sector as we know it.

This article was first published on JLL Real Views, JLL’s global site providing expert insights on the trends and developments shaping real estate.

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