problems in construction industry

Technology in Construction: How Property Tech and Construction Tech Are Transforming the Industry

How is technology transforming the construction industry?

Traditionally, the industry has been slow to change. But right now, Property Tech and Construction Tech are rapidly changing the sector to make it more efficient and cost-effective.

Curious to know how tech is used to improve the industry now and in the future? Here’s what you need to know about technology in construction.

What is the status of technology in construction?

You know how it is:

The construction industry has traditionally been a slowly changing industry.

As a multi-trillion sector, it’s one of the largest industries in the world. At the same time, it’s one of the least efficient and least sustainable industries.

Right now, Property Tech and Construction Tech are in the early stages of making construction more efficient and sustainable, as well as more cost-effective. This is done with the help of tech solutions like software, apps, hardware, and other tech tools.

In fact, McKinsey reports that global labor-productivity growth in the construction industry has been around 1% every year over the past two decades. That same number is 3-4% in other industries.

If new tools and technology would be used to close this gap, along with other measures, the industry’s output would increase by $1.6 trillion every year.

It’s clear that Property Tech and Construction Tech are needed and that they’re here to stay.

Why is the construction industry not as technologically developed as other industries?

You know, the way we build buildings hasn’t changed much in the past millennia.

Even though most industries have gone through massive shifts in the past twenty to thirty years, the construction industry has stayed stagnant.

Why? Partly because of the complexity of the industry. Besides that, developers still prefer old ways of doing things. And, heavy regulations, dependence on the public sector, as well as cyclicity are reasons for why the industry hasn’t moved forward much.

However, change is happening. The industry is attracting more and more investment money and that way, innovation.

In fact, funding in the US increased by 324% from 2017 to 2018. Overall, more than $10 billion has been invested in construction technology solutions in less than 10 years.

But what tech solutions are there?

That’s what we’ll look at next.

What Property Tech and Construction Tech solutions are there?

Here’s the thing:

Most industries have digitally transformed in one way or another.

The same is happening in the construction industry.

Thanks to various new solutions and technologies that are still being developed, the industry is going to:

  • Adopt better planning and follow-up systems that help avoid preventable mistakes in the early stages.
  • Adopt new ways of making construction projects less time-consuming and costly.
  • Become more sustainable.
  • Become safer.
  • Deliver better ROI both directly and indirectly.

Today, technology in construction can be categorized into three categories. These are:

  • Digital collaboration (design, contract, and document management, as well as performance dashboards).
  • On-site execution (quality control, safety, and productivity).
  • Back-office (equipment and materials management, operations, scheduling, and planning systems).

Now, what are the most prominent Property Tech and Construction Tech solutions? Here are six different solutions used in the industry:

1. Software solutions and apps

First: Software solutions are one of the more established technologies used in the construction industry.

Software and apps are used in the different phases of a construction project- design, preconstruction, construction, and operations and management.

For example, our innovation department, Alpin Innovation Labs, uses Building Performance Analysis to simulate how a building’s systems will function over time and to better determine energy and cost savings. To achieve this, we use energy modeling software, daylight analysis tools, as well as tools for HVAC system analysis and CFD analysis.

Plus, we collaborate with software tools like Measurabl (a precision software that helps you collect, report, and act upon non-financial data) to improve building analytics. And last, we have our own software tool, Alpin CxCloud, with which we deliver better-performing systems for your buildings, improve operations, and quickly adapt to changes in business demands.

2. Building Information Management (BIM)

Previously, construction projects had to rely on paper designs and guessing if an idea would work. With the help of BIM (3D to 6D Building Information Modelling) and Virtual Design Management, you can visualize exactly what your project will look like and virtually plan, design, and construct your project. BIM uses different technology and software solutions.

3. AI and machine learning

How is AI changing the construction industry?

In various ways. For example, AI is already used to improve construction efficiency. To avoid coordination issues that cause scheduling conflicts, design-related changes, delays, and unforeseen challenges, AI tools are used to monitor different aspects of construction projects.

But not only that- AI is also used to augment the construction design process by using available data from previous projects. Machine learning helps companies analyze the construction site and create a construction plan that meets the design goals. AI can also be used to analyze data to improve safety.

4. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)

One of the most interesting technologies in the construction industry?

Virtual reality and augmented reality.

Many companies are using these technologies to increase safety. In the future, virtual safety walkthroughs could be a possibility.

Other use cases include:

  • Reducing design coordination errors. AR could be used to detect issues and reduce wasteful change orders. Smart headsets and phones can be used to add sticky notes to project platforms.
  • BIM visualization. AR can be used to visualize BIM data and improve collaboration, as well as the information that is shared.
  • Recording buildings to keep data on file.

5. 3D printing and robotics

Construction is increasingly relying on standardized components that are produced off-site. That’s one area where 3D printing can be useful. Robotics can also be used to improve the industry. For example, self-driving machinery and task-performing robots can increase productivity and overall, make construction more cost-effective.

6. Drones, other hardware, and Internet of Things (IoT)

Property inspections are increasingly done with tools like drones.

And here’s the thing:

Drones can inspect properties more accurately, faster, and safer. Drones are a cost-effective way to carry out site inspections. They help you detect things like design faults and building façade leakages without having to rely on expensive manpower.

Plus, drones and other hardware can be used with Internet of Things. Frequently, these technologies are used to improve 5D BIM.

Other IoT tools include cameras and sensors that monitor the construction site and improve safety.

The future of technology in construction

Where is the industry going in the future?

Property Tech and Construction Tech are here to stay. In fact, companies that invest in these solutions today will reap the rewards in the next 10-15 years.

Change of processes

Adopting new technology does require changes to IT systems, processes, company culture, and company structure. But these changes will pay off.

After all, technology is not another layer on top of established processes. No, technology can help eliminate and improve processes.

Cyclicity

How will the construction industry’s cyclical nature affect technological advancements? Will an economic downturn stop all progress?

The need for Property Tech and Construction Tech won’t cease even if there temporarily isn’t as much demand for construction projects. The reason is simple: When times are tougher, smart solutions are needed even more.

Developing tech

It’s worth noting that most of the technologies here are still developing. For example, AI and VR/AR have the potential to change the industry in a big way, but it will take some time to develop these technologies and use them to their full potential.

Want to learn more about Property Tech and Construction Tech?

There you have it. Now you know how technology is changing the construction industry.

The industry is bound to change thanks to new solutions that will make construction processes easier, faster, and more cost-effective than before.

Want to learn more about technology in construction?

Read more about how we at Alpin Innovation Labs use technology to change the construction industry