Imagine a construction site without a nail gun, a portable circular saw, a hydraulic excavator, or even a pickup truck. None of these items existed 100 years ago. They were all technological innovations in their day. Technology impacts every industry and construction is no different. Historically, the construction industry has been slower to respond to technology and innovations. However, in the modern competitive market, only companies that are eager to join the new and inspired collective will have a competitive edge.
One of the most prominent impacts technology plays in any industry is productivity. There are a plethora of software applications available that assist from basic day to day operations to creating interactive 3D models of structures. Making plans for daily activities required for a project, that also identifies workers and materials needed, then instantly sharing this information saves time and money.
Other applications allow professionals to draw sketches or make recommendations, then send to all invested parties for approval. Project Managers can coordinate all aspects of the project that they need, right at their fingertips. They can share digital sketches, receive feedback, then make quick decisions. All this is done in real-time, which improves efficiency significantly. Theories can be simulated on the computer, and potential issues can be identified and rectified before construction even begins. All of these situations save time, which always saves money. In some of these cases, addressing potential problems saves even more because there was no waste of labour or materials.
Smartphones and mobile apps have become an integral part of society, so it is not surprising that they are used to enhance efficiency in business. With Smartphones, stakeholders can converse in real-time. Multiple associates can meet on one call so decisions can be made, and issues can be resolved quickly.
One of the most innovative uses of technology in construction is Modular and Pre-fabricated buildings, sometimes referred to as offsite construction. Fabrication is performed in a controlled environment and can work similarly to an assembly line. Modular construction is when entire rooms are built with finishes and fixtures already installed. They can be small rooms or larger projects as well. Once completed, the components of the modular construct are moved to the site then inserted and attached to the structural frame. With Pre-fabricated construction, pieces of the building are constructed offsite, then assembled or installed later at the site.
Safety should always be the number one priority for all job sites. Technology solutions assist in properly training workers in safety practises and protocols. This helps prevent deaths. New developments are being used to increase knowledge of worker actions and construction site hazards. Information gleaned is then used to direct and enhance training. Virtual and Augmented Reality can provide numerous opportunities to become familiar with situations like confined spaces or at great heights in a safe and controlled environment. They can also train to use various equipment like cranes or learn how to weld. Wearables are new technology embedded in personal protective equipment (PPE) and used to monitor workers and the site to make things safer. It sounds very science fiction, but drones and robots are being used already for some tasks. Others are being developed to check construction sites and workers to find innovative ways to enhance safety.
There is one drawback to all of this exciting innovation. With the development of efficient software, robotics and machines, the demand for construction workers decreases. If they want to stay in this industry, these workers need to enhance their skill set in line with technology. It would be prudent for employers to take steps to support workers in their quest to gain these skills. That way, the employer does not lose the knowledge and experience these workers possess, plus they gain workers with the new skill sets required.
Technology has impacted the general contractor Calgary industry throughout its history. But, with extensive innovations made since the turn of this century, changes are happening at warp speed. However, those companies that refuse to join the technological movement will be lost. For those who do want to implement advances in technology, the future is bright. They will be awarded increased productivity and better collaboration to complete projects on time and under budget. This results in higher profit margins – the holy grail of successful businesses. Possible Addition? After Googling Azimuth Builder, there was an article that referred to an interview by a publication called Job Core. It referenced what they were doing to address the issues caused by COVID-19. They use a technological platform called Procure. It connects all their staff, clients and anyone with a vested interest who needs to access information regarding projects and work sites. Should a paragraph be added about this since it is their, Azimuth’s, blog?