Technology is affecting every aspect of our lives, including reshaping the direction of all our industries. It is even affecting the construction industry, which has always been notoriously slow when it comes to adopting technological solutions.
However, our thirst for the use of accurate data has finally forced the building industry to reach for innovative solutions to solve many problems like the shortage of skilled labor after the financial crisis and the rising cost of building projects. The increasing adoption of technology is creating a quiet environmentally-friendly revolution in construction.
Five emerging trends, in particular, are green buildings, solar roofing, modular construction, Building Information Modeling, and 3-D laser scanning. Let’s take a closer look at how these breakthrough ideas are affecting the construction industry
5 Technology-Based Trends
- Green buildings.
The green revolution has affected commercial and residential sectors. The adoption of wear technology is one way the construction industry is going green. The A.J. Weller Corporation has shaped, designed, planned and manufactured some advanced green products and services a wide number of industries, including the construction industry. Information about Wear Technology available on ajweller.com describes just how radically changes in material science is affecting heavy industrial processing facilities. This innovative technology has had an impact on everything from steel manufacturing to mining to construction sites because it makes materials harder. More durable equipment lasts longer and cuts down on the need for replacements.
Although commercial construction has been quick to adopt green technology, the residential sector is now finally starting to catch up. Today both sectors are driven by desire to manufacture environmentally-friendly buildings. There are, in fact, three reasons for this. One is consumer demand. One is a need for better quality results. And one is cost savings over the life of a product.
Even when LEED certification is not mandatory, big companies involved in larger construction projects often adopt it, even for developments outside major city centers. Green principles are being incorporated into the design of every building. This trend toward green buildings and an emphasis on LEED certification will only continue to grow in the coming years. According to Dodge Data & Analytics about 33% of the residential sector is now leaning towards green building construction. Essentially, the trend is being pushed by Baby Boomers who are remodeling their current homes and are looking for ways to increase energy efficiency and cut down on their utility bills.
- Solar Roofing
Although the price for solar panels mounted on rooftops is falling and has been falling for the past decade, Elon Musk, the founder of the Tesla electric motor company, has introduced a new idea that will affect both the roofing and the solar industry. Tesla is acquiring SolarCity , which is planning to produce shingles that have integrated solar cells. This innovation will affect both the cost and aesthetics of solar roofing. In fact, it will be difficult to distinguish between a conventional roof and a solar roof. The new types of shingles will cost much less than standard solar panels.
According to Inc.magazine, “While no specific prices have been revealed yet for Tesla’s roofs, Musk says they’ll cost less to install than regular roofs. They’ll also last about 50 years, double the lifespan of regular roofs, and provide better insulation. The panels operate at 98 percent the efficiency of traditional solar panels–obviously not perfect, but nearly twice as efficient as what other solar shingle companies have developed. And Musk says Tesla is working with 3M to create a coating that can make up some of that final 2 percent, or to even go beyond the efficiency levels achieved by regular panels.”
- Modular construction
Modular construction, also known as off-site or prefabricated construction, is increasingly being seen as an alternative construction method that offers cost savings and reduced waste. It is also being viewed as a way to speed up construction time to comply with difficult schedules as well as a way to compensate for a skilled labor shortage in the building industry. In essence, then, prefab speeds up projects and save costs. However, a construction company has to do a rather large volume of work for these kinds of efficiencies to pay off.
- Building Information Modeling
Although the idea of Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been a growing trend for number of years, it was only used by the largest firms. BIM provides many tangible business benefits. For one thing, project document generation becomes less time-consuming. For another, there is enhanced collaboration between different parties involved in a particular project.
- 3-D laser scanner
A 3-D laser scanner creates a digital reproduction of the dimensions and the positions of an object in space. It can then transforms that data into a point cloud image. This technology offers a more precise way to measure all the structures in a building compared to conventional measurement tools. While it is not being widely used as of yet, it is a trend that is expected to be adopted at a faster rate over the next five years.
A Quiet Transformation
These five technological trends reflect the ways the construction industry is becoming increasingly affected by the world of technology. When you think about it, there is almost something poetic about how technology and the use of digital tools are rebuilding our future. Buildings in the future will probably be far different from anything we have ever had before.