Construction methods have been changing rapidly, resulting in changes in the types of structures being built and the way they’re built. In a recent webinar, Blake Douglas, Applied Software Director of Construction Services, talked about some remarkable tech developments taking place in the construction industry.
Most of us are aware of the big push for prefabrication, especially in plumbing, electrical and HVAC trades. In addition, modular processes – whether it’s roughed-in wall panels or full rooms – reduce jobsite rework and improve quality. Following are some other cutting-edge developments that are modernizing a traditionally cautious and conventional industry:
- 3D-printed buildings are being constructed around the world, reducing labor costs and shortening schedules.
- The use of drones has been doubling every year, and they are being used on jobsites for welding, data collection, remote monitoring, security surveillance, and photography.
- Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies both enable a deeper look inside the construction project, whether it’s using the 3D model to visualize what is located inside walls or overlaying the 3D model on a representation of the physical jobsite environment.
- Robotics are being used on jobsites to perform dangerous and repetitive tasks. Industrial exoskeletons are already being utilized to reduce effort, decrease fatigue and enhance the strength of workers, particularly in lifting, stooping, bending, and reaching.
Since long-term maintenance of a building is a significant expense, there has been a shift in the types of materials used in construction. More and more owners are interested in sustainability achieved by “green” construction. Some of the more innovative materials Blake Douglas mentioned were:
- Tesla solar roof tiles, which have a low-profile appearance and look like a typical roof with slightly reflective shingles.
- Smart-Glass that automatically adjusts its light transmission according to the amount of sunlight or shade needed in a room.
- Self-healing concrete of three types containing:
- Calcium lactate plus long-lived bacteria that are activated to synthesize limestone when exposed to water vapor.
- Spores of the fungus Trichoderma reesei, which can secrete cellulose-based polymers, referred to as nature’s prestressed concrete.
- Sodium silicate in capsule form, which is released when cracks develop. A calcium-silica-hydrate gel results, which heals the crack as it hardens over the span of about a week.
Three notable developments for the future of infrastructure construction are:
Harvesting kinetic energy – Founded in 2009, London-based Pavegen is developing kinetic floor tiles that can convert the energy of people walking on them into electricity – 3 joules of energy per footstep. Pavegen technology is already in use in England, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, and the U.S.
Solar roads – Roadways paved with a solar surface could capture an astounding amount of energy. Based in Sandpoint, Idaho, Solar Roadways® is developing intelligent modular paving panels that will produce clean, renewable energy. The plan is to enable charging of electric vehicles, first on solar parking lots and then on highways.
Permeable concrete – Highly porous concrete can be used to pave locations where it’s beneficial to limit stormwater runoff. Rainwater can pass through the concrete and soak into the soil, providing the additional benefit of groundwater recharge.
If you need a partner to help you navigate through the cutting-edge construction methods coming to a jobsite near you, contact Applied Software today. The experts of Applied will help you investigate the solutions that are right for your company.
Join the Digital Agility Summit the afternoon of January 21, 2021 to unite with peers and industry leaders and learn specific, real-world ways to navigate through the fast-paced technology changes.