As the Federal government begins to place greater emphasis on rebuilding infrastructure, the AEC industry outlook for 2022 is good. However, with the cost of building materials steadily increasing and a compounding labor shortage the industry is bound to face to some challenges. Therefore, the most successful construction companies will be those who are able to successfully leverage new technologies to make the building process more efficient and keep workers safe.
Below is a list of 10 technologies to look out for in 2022 and beyond:
One of the most environmentally significant trends to look out for in 2022 is in discovering new ways to reduce material costs with sustainable building materials. Some of these materials include Recycled Aggregates, Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC) also known as bendable concrete, Engineered Timber, </span><span>Transparent Aluminum, Smart Glass Windows, Composite Roofing and environmentally friendly insulation. </span><span>Identifying cost-effective, sustainable building materials, is the most surefire way of reducing building material costs long-term.</span><span></span>
Traditionally, building as industrial activity has relied heavily on “on-site” work. With the use of modularization and prefabrication, projects are able to come to fruition in nearly half the amount of time in comparison to conventional processes. This equates to a savings of nearly 20% in construction costs - not accounting for the added benefit of reduced construction waste. In fact, according to some estimates, the modular construction market will reach $157 billion by 2023.
Since its conception, 3D printing has been proven beneficial in the medical, aerospace, and tool-making arenas and is now making waves in the construction sector. In addition to creating building components or replacement parts, 3D printers are now capable of printing walls, processing cement, and building basic or emergency housing. Providing advantages in production speed, waste reduction, design freedom, reduced human error, and cost savings, it’s no surprise that this technology could soon reshape construction as we know it.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that provides a digital overlay of our real-world view, offering a wide range of data – from design information to statics on productivity and health and safety warnings. This amazing technology helps to increase accuracy and efficiency by providing a more detailed 3-D view of the 2-D drawings, which can be very complex to interpret and understand. It also helps to proactively identify any issues that may require revisions and mitigate rework. With its ability to provide data in real-time data
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is leading the future of the construction industry. AI is being used to track the real-time interactions of workers, machinery, and objects on the site and alert supervisors of potential safety issues, construction errors, and productivity issues. AI can be integrated with other technologies on the job, such as building information management, sensors, wearables, and other monitoring tools to make better-informed decisions in real-time, reducing construction costs through improved forecasting and construction management. AI is the future and will continue to make the building process that much easier.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) has laid the foundation for efficient digital planning and continues to advance through new versions. Many different levels of programming are available through BIM, up to 7D or seven dimensions, to provide users with information for all construction phases. These solutions can also be reused from one project to another, avoiding unnecessary rework on the planning and permitting side while integrating parametric control for mass customization.
As opposed to BIM/VDC technologies which are well known for their use in preconstruction planning, 3D digital twin technology delivers a view of how the construction site looks in real-time - not just how it was designed to look. Having up-to-date 3D visual representations of the physical project makes it easier to test new ideas or make changes, improving building design, project scheduling, and building operating systems that can deliver all kinds of value to everyone involved in the project. Therefore, if your goal is to stay on time, on budget, and on target, 3D digital twin technology is something you should consider implementing in 2022.
While drones have been used in various applications, construction companies are adopting them at a faster rate than ever before. Equipped with a camera, GPS, thermal sensors, and infrared sensors, drones can capture real-time data that can be beneficial throughout the construction lifecycle. Their aerial vantage point and data collecting abilities offer a range of benefits, from topographic mapping and land surveys to remote progress tracking, structure inspections, safety monitoring, and more. As long as this technology is able to pass federal aviation and zoning hurdles, we can expect to see further advancement in terms of their benefit to this industry.
The construction industry is one of the most labor-intensive industries in the world. Yet, due to the continuing labor shortage, the industry has needed to adapt to a lack of workforce. Luckily, adapting has always been one of our industry’s strongest dexterities, and with technology advancements occurring every day, a new solution has developed: robots. Some of these robots include industrial robots, drones, self-driving construction equipment, and humanoid laborers. It’s important to note that the implementation of robots is not about replacing humans but protecting workers from dangerous or repetitive tasks to enhance safety and increase efficiencies on-site so that humans can do more complex tasks faster and better.
In the US, construction workers account for nearly half of all fatal work injuries, not including the tens of thousands of non-fatal injuries each year. Wearable construction technologies may provide a key resource in the quest to eliminate worker injuries in the construction industry. Some of these wearable technologies include smart watches, powered footwear, integrated hard hats, augmented reality glasses and body wear embedded with wireless sensors to track an individual’s vital signs, movements, repetitive motions, and slips or falls. Such real-time health data helps keep workers safe and immediately alerts safety managers if a worker is exhausted or at risk for injury.