For as much trouble and uncertainty as it caused, 2020 proved to be a time of great innovation for the construction industry. While the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across all sectors and reshaped what the future of work would look like, construction teams learned valuable lessons by adapting to these changes and finding new, better ways to complete their projects. But, unfortunately, other groups struggled to get back to where they were, unable to benefit from the same lessons other construction firms learned during the pandemic. There are construction technology trends you can’t afford to miss in 2021.
Our team at Construction Technology Partners focuses on tracking trends in the construction technology industry and finding the best ways to help teams implement them in their work. Despite the pandemic putting many construction projects on hold, we saw firms using creative ways to keep moving forward, and we’d like to share them with you.
We’ve outlined four of 2021’s biggest construction technology trends below. We believe that these technologies and changes will become commonplace as the industry goes forward. Let’s take a look.
Offsite and modular construction wasn’t new in 2020, but it saw a considerable boom during this period — and will continue to grow throughout 2021. Previously seen almost strictly in residential projects, offsite construction has infiltrated other projects, offering a solution to a growing lack of skilled labor that spiked during the pandemic. Offsite construction also cuts costs, making it ideal for construction companies of all sizes.
Modular construction, which also happens offsite, is proving to be a real time-saver as well. Teams that need to prioritize efficiency (be it because of a lack of staff or time crunches) stand to benefit the most from this form of offsite construction, but realistically it will become a mainstay in construction as it proves itself more lucrative for clients and teams alike.
Drones had previously found their way into the construction field by providing drone topographic mapping, allowing teams to survey a potential site before building. While construction surveying and layout are where drone services began, they’ve since spread into virtually every aspect of construction, including project management, safety and security, and client communication. In addition, teams continue to find innovative new applications for drone topography, collecting different data types to make the construction process more efficient.
If you’re interested in utilizing drones for your current or future projects, you’ll most likely need to discuss your options with aerial survey companies. Commercial drone piloting is closely regulated, and only adequately qualified and licensed individuals are permitted to use them. Construction Technology Partners offers drone aerial mapping and survey services, and we’re happy to work with you to meet your needs.
Virtual Reality Applications
Virtual reality (or VR, also known as augmented reality or AR) has exploded in the entertainment industry, specifically in interactive mediums like games. While this is likely where most consumers see it applied, the construction industry has adopted VR to enhance project planning. For example, by collecting topographical information about the project site, builders can create detailed representations of future projects as they will appear in their surroundings, painting a complete picture for clients and stakeholders.
VR has changed worksite practices as well. For example, talented programmers can create realistic interactive safety and training programs for workers. When combined with data collected from drones, they can also make precise, automatic measurements and predict environmental changes based on how the project progresses. In many ways, VR is the evolution of 3D mapping applications.
One of the most challenging problems construction crews had to overcome during 2020 was the shortage of materials. Deliveries and trade struggled to maintain usual demand as the pandemic brought infrastructure to a halt, leaving many projects incomplete or canceling them altogether. As the economy recovers, it will take some time for building materials to become more accessible again, but some companies have made up for the loss with 3D printing in the interim.
Once seen as a novelty, the construction industry has helped push what is possible with 3D printing. From reproducing vital components of a structure to printing entire houses, no one can question the value of 3D printing in the new decade. While it remains an expensive option (particularly for large pieces), it has proven itself an excellent substitute when traditional materials are inaccessible. Now that the shortage of materials is behind us, 3D printing is here to stay.
Stay On Top of Trends with Construction Technology Partners
With construction technology evolving rapidly, it can be challenging to identify which tools to choose and how you can use these new tools to innovate. It can be intimidating trying to navigate this ever-changing landscape, but it doesn’t have to be.
At Construction Technology Partners, we assist crews big and small to become more efficient in their work by introducing them to new tools and helping them utilize cutting-edge tools like iDig, Hemisphere GNSS, laser construction, drone aerial mapping and survey, and more. Contact us to learn more about how our services can streamline your next project.