Is the construction industry innovating enough? It is understandable that such a question is posed. Construction is one of those industries that appears to stand still more than most. The methods that were being used ten years ago are still in vogue. And that is not a bad thing. It means that companies have methods that work and they want to stick with them. But it also means that innovation can feel stifled.
We are going to assess some of the ways that construction companies have been innovating in the past few years.
There is a big push within the industry to try and use more “green” processes, wherever possible. We are seeing asphalt paving companies in [city] using recycled tires and other recycled parts within their mix. There was a huge story a couple of years ago about an entire avenue in Chicago that was paved using recycled materials. It shows how far we have come in that regard.
Recycling is happening in other areas of the construction industry too. We are seeing recycled wood and other parts make their way into residential and commercial construction projects. Of course, every contractor has their own policies. But more are starting to embrace the “green” initiative, as they know it impresses customers.
A big change that we are seeing within the construction industry is to put a priority on safety. While most sites have always been safe, there were far too many incidents occurring where workers got hurt. Companies have started to use technology as a means to help combat this issue.
Top companies are starting to use wearable technology that workers can use to warn them of hazards in real time. These wearables are very easy to use, which means that workers can immediately see and understand the alerts they are receiving on the system. They can also get real time information about their surroundings as they walk around a construction site.
Detailed Computer Models:
Another huge change that we are seeing for the industry is the greater adoption of computer models. While computer modeling has played a part in construction for a couple decades, it is taking on more importance. A lot of projects are only greenlit for construction when a full and interactive 3D model is approved.
The biggest difference between these models and the ones used in the past is the interactive nature. In the past, you had a model of the outside and some details about the inside. Now you have an interactive model where you can see the wiring, plumbing, internet connectivity and other information about a building before construction starts.
How does it help? It ensures that everyone involved with the project can assess what issues may come up if the building is constructed in this way. The model showcases those issues as it is put through a series of simulations. The result is that many projects can have tweaks made to them in the planning stages, instead of needing to change something when construction is already underway!
The construction industry may be a little slow to embrace change. But it does not mean innovation is absent. It is just a matter of looking deeper to see how new tech and other practices are changing the way these companies operate!