At Western Constructors, we always want to keep you updated on everything going on with us. But sometimes it’s important to broaden the scope a little, too. We’ve been covering our work and projects around Grand Junction for a while now—if you haven’t already, check out our article about Grand Junction’s 2020 Comprehensive Plan and our article about our work in the Redlands Mesa area—but we think it’s important to talk about changes and innovations in the construction industry as well. That’s why we wanted to take some time to talk about some innovative commercial construction companies and the technologies they’re using that are paving the way for the future of construction. Our goal is to make our blog as helpful and informative as possible, so whether it covers news about us or about the industry, it’s our hope that you’ll find it interesting—and hopefully fun, too.
3D Printers and Robots
One of the recent developments in construction technology has been the use of 3D printers. 3D printers have been around for a while now, but their application in construction is a fairly recent phenomenon. In 2017, for instance, two bridges were constructed with on-site 3D printers. One of the bridges was built in Madrid, and the other was a bike bridge built in the Netherlands. There are several upsides to using 3D printing in construction; without the need for formwork, for example, the process creates a lot less waste. Additionally, 3D printing makes it so that the exact amount of concrete needed is used. That means that the innovative companies using this technology reduced carbon-dioxide emissions for their projects. One of the coolest parts about 3D printing in construction, though, is that it allows construction companies to build bridges and other structures in shapes that were previously impossible to build.
The use of robots is another recent innovation in the construction industry. Though total autonomous construction isn’t feasible yet, robots can help construction projects get done more efficiently and effectively than ever before. And they can perform many different jobs, too—there are bricklaying robots that work alongside masons and even autonomous vehicles like dump trucks. One of the main reasons a construction company might want to use an autonomous or remote-controlled vehicle is the fact that it greatly reduces the risk of injury—if no one is physically present in the vehicle, then there’s no one to get hurt when an accident occurs. There have been robots in the construction industry that have been controlled from 1,000 miles away, which is truly an amazing feat. In the future, you can expect to see more robots helping out around construction sites.
VR, AR, and AI
Another incredible advancement in construction technology is the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). AR and VR have an impressive number of applications in the construction industry. Using VR, for example, an innovative commercial construction company can walk a project owner through a simulation of their project before it ever gets built. It allows construction companies and designers to plan their projects in new and exciting ways—some architects have interacted with holograms as a part of the design process. And VR also has important safety applications; VR allows construction companies to train people with new equipment in a safe and risk-free environment. Like VR, AR also has a number of helpful uses. On a construction site, AR goggles can allow construction workers to essentially see through walls that have already been built by helping them visualize the space on the other side.
Another innovation that has applications in the construction industry is artificial intelligence (AI). Even just in the planning stage, AI can help architects and designers choose between options and find the most efficient way to complete their projects. Normally, project scheduling is a nightmare, but AI assistants can help build the most efficient project schedule in just minutes. AI can also analyze 3D models of projects and point out potential flaws and errors—this improves worker safety and helps improve the efficiency of the project delivery. AI can also compile job-site imagery to create a 3D map of project progress that project owners and designers can view to keep them up to date. It’s an amazing advancement that contributes to project efficiency and worker safety, and it’ll continue to have new uses in the construction industry as innovative commercial construction companies figure out new ways to apply it.
Embedded Sensors and Predictive Analytics
More recently, there have been some interesting technological advancements in construction—and there are several things to look forward to as we move closer to the end of 2019. The use of data-driven technology, for example, has continued to rise. By using embedded sensors, project managers and construction companies can collect data about their projects; whether it’s information about the project’s safety, structural flaws, or operational workflow, these embedded sensors help make new construction projects safer and more efficient. The advancement of predictive analytics is another recent technology that’s moving the construction industry into the future. Predictive analytics use systems that can look ahead to point out things like safety concerns or budget outlooks. It uses AI to go a step further and try to predict what will happen in the future of a project.
The construction industry continues to grow and change each year as innovative commercial construction companies find new ways to improve project efficiency. If you’re interested in reading more about the future of the construction industry, we recommend checking out this article here. At Western Constructors, we think it’s important to keep looking ahead and to stay informed about the industry—and we think it’s fun to learn about, too. We hope you’re just as excited about these new technologies as we are. Already, many construction companies have begun to incorporate these new technologies—and though not all of them are widespread yet, we’re sure that they will become more and more prevalent as the years go by. The construction industry has an exciting future ahead, and we can’t wait to see all the new innovations that will shape it.
*This post was written by Third Loft Marketing.