5 Construction Technology Trends to Watch for in 2020

5 Construction Technology Trends to Watch for in 2020

From cars that can anticipate and ward off accidents to the small cameras that bring new visibility to delicate surgeries, the latest technological innovations are benefiting people across industries. And the good news is that the construction industry is no exception. With the promise of sites that are safer, greener, and more efficient, here are five construction industry trends to watch for in the coming year.

Green Technology  

As the environmental impact becomes front of mind for consumers, more and more companies are seeking to decrease their ecological footprint. Green technology is rising to the occasion with inventions that reduce a construction site’s carbon footprint while contributing to longer-lasting builds. 3D-printed buildings, for instance, save time and money while allowing architects to debut sophisticated designs. 3D printers can be used for smaller-scale projects within the construction industry as well: for example, building single-family homes or creating bespoke parts that save companies the hassle of locating a vendor and having supplies shipped.

Building solutions that recycle otherwise unusable materials are another green trend to note. Architecture firm Redhouse studio partnered with leading researchers to invent the machine that recycles construction site waste into usable building materials, and bricks made from cigarette butts stand out as an eco-friendly solution that harnesses waste and reinvents it as a resource.

Wearable, High-Tech Safety Equipment

Increased job site safety should be a priority for any construction company. Now, several wearable gear options are available that help workers stay safe, smart, and productive thanks to built-in technology. SolePower is OSHA-approved work boots that utilize kinetic energy technology to gather power every time the boot strikes the ground. This capability allows the boots to measure user fatigue, alert other team members to falls, warn users of impending accidents, and increase workplace transparency through the use of GPS tracking and Wi-Fi. 

Another noteworthy product is the LifeBand, a wearable device that monitors the user’s brain waves in order to detect fatigue levels. This capability can prevent exhaustion-related incidents on the job site, while also ensuring that workers stay connected to their team.

Modular Building Software and Hardware

Modular Building Software and Hardware

Modular building accounts for just 4% of the construction market — but that small number doesn’t mean construction companies should turn a blind eye. More high-profile companies are turning to this building method and the technology that enables it since it allows for a more streamlined and expedient construction process. Take, for example, Hilton: they broke ground last year by constructing San Francisco’s first modular hotel. The building process brought prefabricated units on-site, ready to be stacked on traditional steel and concrete base formations. 

Companies looking to work in this arena can incorporate a host of relevant technologies. Katerra is a technology firm currently paving the way for technology-enabled modular construction. Their building platform solutions provide a thorough digital overview of the off-site building process, making builds easier from start to finish.

Building Information Modeling

A trustworthy blueprint is one of the most vital tools in any construction job. This decade’s tech-savvy version of that blueprint is found in Building Information Modeling (BIM), the digital representations of the roads, buildings, and utilities involved in a construction site. Nothing new to forward-looking construction companies, BIM remains a construction engineering technology to watch into 2020: by receiving a clear visual overview of the construction process before it begins, everyone involved in a build — including architects, engineers, and contractors — can make informed decisions and troubleshoot potential problem areas. The result is more accurate material estimates, fewer mistakes, and greater sustainability overall. And while BIM might be old hat to some, breakthrough capabilities such as 4D and 5D imaging launch it into the realm of the future, securing its place as a trend that’s here to stay.

Automated Building Technologies

Automated Building Technologies

Automation has been a growing construction technology trend for some time and shows no signs of slowing down. Although some in the construction industry are wary of autonomous equipment, worrying it will replace skilled laborers, a new paradigm is emerging: autonomous equipment can fill the gap caused by labor shortages, creating faster and more efficient work sites overall. One new standout technology is Boston Dynamics’ robot — dubbed “Spot” — that can navigate work sites in order to run site inspections, carry payloads, and scope out dangerous situations. Another example is this drone that nails down roof tiles: thanks to software designed at the University of Michigan, the drone can identify work locations and drive nails without human input.

The construction industry trends of 2020 point to how companies can leverage new technologies to improve their existing processes. And every step forward for construction companies pays off in projects delivered on time and on budget.

With an eye on the technologies of the future, South Bay Construction looks forward to integrating the best solutions for its clients and workers alike. We take pride in our stance as a leader in Northern California construction development. If you’d like to learn more about our company or get started on a project, please contact us at (408) 379-5500 today!   

Photo Credits:
Federico Rostagno / Shutterstock, / Shutterstock, Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock

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