The future of technology in construction

The rapid advancement in technology over the past 10 years has changed the world we live.  Many industries have been disrupted, leaving those that fail to adapt lagging behind trying to pick up the pieces. 

One of the first industries to experience mass disruption was insurance.  The surge in price comparison sites increased importance on price sensitivity, forcing many companies to rethink their strategies.  Look at the popularity of the taxi app Uber, other traditional companies that were once favoured are now almost forgotten.  The launch of Just Eat and subsequently Deliveroo and Uber Eats have increased the number of companies restaurants are competing against, forcing them to up their offering in response.  These are merely examples chosen to illustrate the disruption technology can cause, but what about the construction industry?  Many companies have developed their offerings and communications in response to the new digital landscape, however, other, more substantial disrupters may be on the horizon. 

Virtual Reality

Experienced most recently with the popular 90s game Pokémon, the implementation of virtual reality into construction can aid visualisation; speeding up completion times and reducing the requirements for materials and labour.  Possibilities can range from making changes to layouts informed by a virtual walk through, to assistance when performing excavations by providing a three dimensional concept of works needed relative to the workers location. 

3D Printing

3D printing has the potential to provide anything from houses, to retail spaces, to bridges.  Chinese materials company Yingchuang New Materials has reportedly printed 10 buildings in 24 hours, using a custom built machine that combines construction waste with cement.  The potential impact of this technology is enormous and can be used anywhere from providing temporary housing after natural disasters, to use in the construction of entire communities.   

 
 

Robots

Automated robots can be used to perform almost any task required to build structures.  With the ability to operate robots remotely, construction of a building can be carried out by a technician located anywhere around the world.  One company who is in the development process of such technologies is RobitcsX, who plans to send autonomous robots to Mars for the construction of buildings and structures.