By Karen L. Edwards.
Technology is advancing at a fast pace and each year brings new solutions to the construction table.
Leaders in the industry will be those who embrace the use of technology and pay attention to these emerging technologies.
- Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual reality technology allows individuals to “see” what a built environment will look like which is especially useful for proposed new construction projects. Allowing someone to visualize and experience the project can go a long way in building confidence for all involved in the project.
Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality except that the it involves walking through a real 3D environment while viewing additional real-time information about the environment. For example, if a building owner wanted to create a rooftop garden area with various features, augmented reality would bring the roof to life – before the project starts. It will allow that owner to stand on the roof and see what the existing roof would look like with the addition of the garden roof features.
- Online Jobsite
New technologies are eliminating the delays in communication that can occur between the job site, the office, the installers and the rest of the project team. Job site connectivity is becoming easier to achieve with the use of connected smartphones and tablets that can send and receive information in real time to everyone involved in a project, including the building owner.
- Wearable Technology
There is a new company that offers wearable tags that allow contractors to improve and advance the safety of their workers on the job site. A clip can be attached to workers’ belts that tell you when someone slips, trips, or falls and alerts you to what zone of the job site they are in. They also offer an equipment tag that links to the belt clip to tell you who is operating the equipment and delivers statistics on how the equipment is being used.
The drone industry is exploding and there are so many uses for drone technology in construction. They can be used to map project sites, report project progress and changes, update clients and inspect damage following severe weather. Companies are popping up every day that offer drone services which means you don’t have to master flying one.
Robotics haven’t shown up on the rooftop – yet. But they will. They are already being used to lay bricks – at a pace six times faster than a human. This video of the SAM100 bricklaying robot shows how the technology works faster and eliminates the lifting and bending that can create problems and potential injuries for workers.
Companies in the construction and roofing industries need to get on board the technology train or risk being left far, far behind the rest of the market.
Note: This article first appeared on RoofersCoffeeShop.com’s blog and can be viewed here.