The construction industry has often been slow on the uptake of technology. It’s understandable why companies are apprehensive of adopting digital developments – after all, construction is by its very existence a physical process. Nonetheless, in 2018 no industry can avoid technological advancements, and construction companies have plenty to gain from investing in new digital systems and smart tools.
Here are five reasons why the construction industry should adopt proptech, and the digital innovations of the future to look out for.
One of the main concerns for site managers considering new technology is that digital systems will be expensive to buy, require specialist equipment and be difficult to use. However, most construction workflow systems are cloud-based, meaning they don’t require niche software or hardware, and can be used remotely on tablets and mobile phones – an iPad is now an essential addition to any tool belt. A rise in paper-free solutions also means it’s easier to share information from person to person, meaning fewer miscommunications – and less stress caused by misplaced paper documents.
Tackle labour shortages
Brexit has been a cause of great concern for the construction industry and its already dwindling worker numbers. But by automating systems, workers’ time can be freed up for specialist tasks. At the top end of the spectrum, we have self-driving construction vehicles. Autonomous haulage trucks are already in use in the mining industry, and driverless construction vehicles such as American company Built Robotic’s designs are set to provide builders with a similar solution. While this tech is still very early days and not currently on the market, this is an exciting innovation sure to become prevalent in building sites in the not too distant future.
Meet government targets
With the UK government pledging to build 300,000 new homes a year in England, the demands on the construction industry are high. That means work must be completed more efficiently than ever before. Prefabricated houses are slowly creeping back into the market, partly due to the rise of BIM making this form of construction easier, and a desire for more eco-friendly smart homes. House builders such as Berkley Homes are already committing to expand their use of prefabricated homes, and with the UK government’s plans to prioritise offsite construction methods from 2019, premade structures will become increasingly prevalent in the UK house building market.
Improved worker safety
Health and safety is a non-negotiable on construction sites, but current systems of paper log books and manual checks can be lacking. New proptech solutions put the worker first, from the more basic Mosaic Fatigue Manager which automatically sends supervisors updates if employees have worked too many hours without a break, to the more high-tech Spot-r – a wearable sensor that automatically reports any slips, trips or falls with and provides supervisors with a location. Additionally, drones could become a regular feature on construction sites, which their ability to provide accurate site surveillance and increased security.
Keep up with the competition
Workers might not all be walking around looking like Robocop in VR smart helmets yet, but companies who avoid digital advancements risk coming second place to their more open-minded competitors. With BIM increasingly commonplace in the industry, now is the time to become an early adopter of the next big thing, whether that be drone monitoring or digital tool belts. Even simple tech can mean big increases in efficiency, and construction companies who are already thinking ahead to the future will be the first to reap the cost and time savings that new technology can offer.