Construction technology trends for 2019
Over the last few years, technology advancements within the construction industry has brought about change in working methods. Innovation and progress has made us work faster, smarter, and in a more cost-effective way.
But what does 2019 hold for construction? Here we look at what’s predicted to be the most popular construction technology trends for 2019.
Could 2019 be the breakthrough year for the use of augmented reality in the field of construction? Currently, construction is still one of the least automated but investment is increasing. Cumulative investment in construction technology increased by around 30% during 2018 and over in the USA, the sector is already worth an estimated $1 billion.
Augmented reality has many uses and benefits but it does come with considerable associated costs. However, if companies who can afford to adopt augmented reality do so, it could reinvent how projects are planned and built.
Other industries have been great at adopting and perfecting robotics. The healthcare industry for example, has invested heavily and it’s now commonplace to see operations aided by robotic arms. The construction industry hasn’t yet reached this level but as robots grow even more precise and accurate, it’s thought that they’ll become a commanding force within the industry. GenieBelt estimates that the deployment of robots within the sector could almost triple over the next decade, with a growth level of up to 175%.
We’ve talked previously about a robotic vest that was being trialled live on-site. The vest is designed to support worker’s arms during heavy lifting, enabling them to lift more but feel less exerted.
The UK government has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. With 10% of UK emissions thought to be associated with manufacturing and transporting construction materials, there has been a real strive to adopt green technology and green construction practices. Subsequently, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) was created as a sustainability standard within the industry. Whether it’s off-site construction, prefabrication or using sustainable materials, there are many ways to make construction greener.
BIM is great for architects and mechanical engineers as it provides a great way of keeping on top of a project. It does this by accurately depicting the building materials that are required, potential costs and ultimately whether the entire project is feasible. Human errors are also significantly reduced with BIM, so it’s no surprise that those within the industry expect the adoption of BIM to increase again this year.
Drones are becoming increasingly accurate in readings, land mapping and surveys. With the use of drones, surveyors can survey an entire site in just a few minutes, rather than it taking several weeks or months. Saving time and money, it makes sense that the use of drones would only look to increase.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge are developing a self-healing concrete, which could transform the construction industry. The Department of Engineering’s Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group is developing microcapsules containing ‘healing’ agents – such as minerals, epoxy or polyurethane – which can be added to building materials to allow self-repair of small cracks which develop over time. Whilst it’s still in the research and development stage, it will be interesting to see how the material aids construction and improves performance. Research has shown that annual maintenance cost for bridges, tunnels and other essential infrastructure in the EU reaches £4.2bn a year which could be potentially reduced with the introduction of self-healing concrete.