This morning I ran into a great article that was written by Stephanie Zucchi, Staff Writer, of ZBrella, a Technology Consulting firm. She discuss the “Top 3 Technologies Changing the Construction Industry Right Now” and I think she is right on track with my opinion of what we can expect to happen right now.
Modular construction is not a brand new technology, but it is one that continues to have a huge impact on the industry. Modular construction, or construction that uses “pre-fabricated and pre-engineered building units” to build structures have saved the industry millions. These units can be assembled together in any way to form rooms (full or parts of them), private housing, apartments, hotels and more. Essentially, what makes this technology so amazing is that we have leveraged the technology that has been available for years in the manufacturing industry, and brought that technology into the fabrication of a building.
What makes this technology so beneficial is the time and money it saves. Modular construction can be installed rapidly, its quality can be highly controlled within the factory, and by removing up to almost 80% of the actual construction process, modular construction reduces mistakes, reduces disruptions, and removes hazardous situations up to an extent.
Its future has boundless options. Companies like Amazon may soon leverage modular construction to let the public buy actual homes online. It may be as simple as point, click, and build!
3D Printing is slowly starting to break the surface of the role that it will play in the construction industry. 3D printing structures, or parts of structures, promise advancements in technique (only our imagination will become our limit), as well as reduction in building costs and time. Many thought leaders in the industry are looking to 3D printing to automate much of the construction process in an effort to solve global issues such as poverty and poor housing conditions.
As of today, many advancements have been made using this technology. WinSun, a company from China, has already 3D printed multiple homes in a day (these homes are printed in parts in a factory, however, and are assembled on-site). Dubai’s $500 million project of its Museum of Future plans to use 3D printed parts in its construction. In Amsterdam, a fully autonomous robot will 3D print a steel bridge, and a company called Contour Crafting is working on making 3D printed on-site homes printed in under 24 hours a reality.
It’s safe to say that 3D printing is well on its way to greatness within the industry, although it still leaves many wondering which process (manual or printed) leaves less of a carbon imprint, since both are, in fact, carbon intensive.
Robotics are popular today in construction, and getting more popular as each day passes. Much of the construction industry, whether industry professionals agree with it or not, are trying to move towards site automation. Automated machines are beginning to change the way construction is being done; by letting the robots work, processes are speeding up, hazardous situations are being removed from the site, deadlines are being completed quicker, and more money is being made.
Recently in the past couple of months, Tappan Zee Constructors contacted Wilkinson Technologies for the use of six robotic welders to help them avoid huge fees for a deadline they were pressed to meet. Robinspect is using their robotics on a huge European Union tunnel project by deploying tunnel inspecting robots onto the field. Drones are being utilized by many companies for surveying, jobsite surveillance, and building aids. And, there are even semi-autonomous robots that can lay bricks, pave whole streets like a sheet of fondant, and lay cement.
Technology will always drive change in every industry as long as we keep evolving. And although technology brings change, that change is not something to be feared. Innovation is always something that should be celebrated, because when we combine brilliant minds with brilliant tools, anything is possible.
Feature Image Courtesy of Kansas City District.