One of the wonderful things about the building industry is that we are always finding new ways to implement technology to create safer and more efficient worksites. Over the past decade, we have witnessed an unprecedented boom in the way technology is being utilised.
Remember the old days, the ones Jim and Dave constantly reminisce about? You know the yarn, the one that normally ends in “you’ll never know how good you have it” or “bloody-hell we used to dig that trench ourselves”. Well lucky for the new apprentice, those days are over.
With a raft of new technologies that you’ll be yarning about over smoko or calling the Mrs (or Mr) about in a hive of excitement, the building industry is set for a shake-up. Go show this list to the big boss and convince him that you guys ‘really’ need 3D goggles and a remote-controlled concrete truck to do your job effectively.
One of the latest trends coming from the car industry is the creation of self-driving vehicles. We’ve all heard about it and I’m sure there’s a mixed bag of opinions on your site. Personally, if I can get from A to B and eat my KFC with both hands, I’m all for it. But before you get to (not) drive your new Telstra, you could be supervising one on-site.
Automated technology is being implemented in everything from bulldozers to cranes. The idea behind automated vehicles is that hopefully, they’ll create a safer and more efficient site. Whether it’s a truck controlled by a computer or an overgrown remote control car, they could revolutionise the industry.
As the barriers surrounding driverless cars are fairly high, don’t be surprised to see driverless trucks roaming around your building site before you get to sit back and enjoy that delicious Colonel’s Stack.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Another technology craze that has the potential to revolutionise the building world is Virtual and Augmented Reality. Perfect for project planning and safety management, we believe construction companies will be spending big and using them on every project in the near future.
Firstly, Virtual Reality provides users with a 360-degree representation of your project. Through the use of wearable glasses or on a screen, you can see a 3D digital representation of how the building will look. This is ideal for project planning throughout all stages of construction as it allows users to accurately plan all aspects of a building site.
Secondly, Augmented Reality, allows users to walk through a 4D representation of how a project will look. Unlike Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality allows the user to actually walk through their building site with a digital display of how the site is projected to look at certain stages.
If your site is anything like ours, most of us are visual learners. We need to see a diagram or plan to fully understand the task. Imagine how many balls-ups this will save. Actually being able to see the completed project will reduce that awkward moment when the roofing beams are 2 cm out of place. Virtual and Augmented Reality will make your site a lot more efficient.
Within the next five years, the attention placed on worker safety will only increase. Whether it’s wearable tracking devices or exoskeletons, the modern construction worker will be safer than ever.
There are several companies that have developed apps and devices that can track workers on a building site. These wearables are used to alert workers of any hazards or find someone if they have hurt themselves, allowing for a faster response time.
There are also advancements in the development of exoskeletons that can reduce the physical strain placed on workers. These are suits that workers wear to help them perform strenuous tasks, including heavy lifting or other dangerous movements. Don’t be surprised if one of the lads on-site is wearing a terminator suit in the near future.
Drones have become a part of our daily lives over the past couple years. They are being used for everything from filming movies, news reporting and if you listen to Radio Hauraki, illegally pestering.
Drones are increasingly being used by construction companies to survey their building sites. Whether it’s identifying health and safety issues, reaching hard to access or dangerous areas or planning purposes; most sites will have one of them. As drone become more accessible and cheap, we expect their use to increase rapidly.
Internet of Things
Currently, we are connected more than ever, in every aspect of our lives. Why would the building site be any different? The industry term for it is, Internet of Things (IoT), basically it’s connecting physical features together forming a digital and interactive communication network.
It allows construction workers to generate real-world data from buildings, vehicles or tools. It is already being utilised in monitoring building progress, supply and toll management and equipment repair. In the future, IoT could shape the type of materials and practices we use helping to create smarter and more environmentally sustainable cities.
The technology that’s now available to construction workers will have a massive effect on how your world is shaped. We reckon this is an extremely exciting time within our industry and we can’t wait to see these on our future projects.