Technological Innovation Heralds a New Era in Construction
In the words of the legendary architect César Pelli – ‘Construction is a matter of facing the future with confidence’. We are at the cusp of awe-inspiring innovation, and new technology in the construction industry is what can give the impetus to evolve with the rapidly changing times.
Whether it is to improve the cost, safety, efficiency or even quality of construction, technology can add value to every stage. Additionally, construction technology can reduce rework, material use, fuel and other resources and overall energy consumption while minimising the impact on the environment.
Benefits of Construction Technology
By 2035, the percentage of the population in India at mid-year residing in urban areas will be 43.2%. There is an increasing demand for infrastructure, and the construction sector faces direct pressure to keep pace with rapid urbanisation.
It is crucial to leverage the best construction innovation to match the needs of people moving to towns and cities. Moreover, in a competitive industry where people have multiple options, builders also get a technological edge to stay ahead with efficiency and sustainability.
The benefits of using new technology in the construction industry are myriad and multi-pronged, such as:
- Increased Productivity: Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies improve productivity by automating and streamlining the numerous processes involved in construction, right from routine filtering of spam emails to advanced safety monitoring.
- Improved Safety: Using gadgets, such as VR, sensors and wearables, goes a long way in enhancing overall labour safety and bringing down site injury risks.
- Better Collaboration: Applications specifically designed for collaboration and communication, such as BIM software, Collaborative Project Management Software and File Sharing Services, help the stakeholders to track construction progress at every phase.
- Better labour shortage management: Advanced technology, such as drones, robots or autonomous heavy equipment like self-driving trucks and retrofitted bulldozers can help tackle labour shortages while ensuring efficiency.
Construction Technology Start-ups Revolutionising the Industry
Two of the most significant challenges that the construction industry faces are productivity and collaboration. Many construction projects see delays, cost overruns and quality issues owing to the lack of communication and coordination among stakeholders.
Technology can do wonders by seamlessly bringing together the owner/developer, project management consultant, architect, design engineer, contractors and subcontractors. A collaborative environment will, in turn, maximise productivity and profitability.
From automated and semi-automated construction equipment, bid management applications, autonomous heavy equipment, numerous mobile applications, robots, Virtual Reality (VR), ML, AI and so much more— technology in construction can potentially change our approach to developing infrastructure.
Brigade Real Estate Accelerator Program (REAP) — Asia’s first start-up accelerator program — brings together innovators and inventors to use technology as a catalyst for creating sustainable and scalable businesses in the realty sector. Some tech in focus includes IoT, Cleantech and renewables, Visual Computing and Nano Technology.
Here are 6 REAP start-up companies to watch out for in the construction technology space:
- Blueprint Co: Their construction collaboration tool offers a centralised platform to access data, design information, documentation and communication in real-time.
- CC Precast: They designed India’s first Prestressed Precast Concrete Pavement Technology — the perfect solution to address issues with quality control and speed of construction while reducing the carbon footprint by almost 70%.
- Favo Robotics: This start-up is at the forefront of making construction automation more accessible. Their flagship product, AutoMason: Brick masonry collaborative robot, helps with traditional brickwork and can be repurposed for construction material handling, plastering and painting.
- Seamless Plastering: The company makes a leeway in wall plaster automation by offering a real-time construction site management platform to save costs and time, thereby improving quality.
- Qwikspec: Their Operations Data Platform, a data management software, can be implemented across four stages of the construction cycle – Structural, Finishing, Snagging & Handover and Auditing.
- Strayos: Their high-precision visual AI platform is used across the mining, construction and infrastructure industry. Strayos addresses the slow and tedious way of survey data collection and inaccurate decision analytics that results in project risks in the construction and mining industry.
The general principle of leveraging innovation and technology in the construction industry will always be to build smarter and quicker in the most environmentally friendly manner.
Lately, technological transformation is catching up with companies, considering a building’s total life cycle. Integrated software platforms that better serve customer needs are slowly pervading the ecosystem. Rather than pondering if they want in on the technological revolution, construction players should act on when and how they can adapt to the ever-evolving innovations.