5 Innovations in Construction Tech to Watch in 2019


The tech industry is prompting innovation in construction on an ever greater scale, bringing to the table new solutions designed to enhance productivity, improve the functionality of materials, and offer wider choices to both crew and client. With an eye toward growth, progress, and sustainability, here are five innovations in construction to keep an eye on in 2019.

Growing Connectivity and Improved Communication

Data-driven software solutions are becoming a force in the construction industry by offering real-time visibility and communication. Field connectivity software Spot-r is one such solution. It grants site supervisors and off-site managers insight into crucial information such as equipment location, how many workers are on a site, and where these people and tools are located. FieldConnect is another piece of cloud-based software that provides project portfolio visibility through a variety of capabilities. Users can check on the real-time status of service calls, provide customers with a service portal, and supply field technicians and other workers with the information they need while on site, including price quotes for new work. With each passing year, digital transformation in the construction industry is accelerating, doing away with traditional paperwork and offering much greater insight into the the true state of any given project.

A Revolution in Concrete

Concrete is one of the fundamental components of modern construction, but two recent developments in concrete’s functionality and form are redefining this traditional composite. The first game-changer in this space is self-healing concrete. When concrete cracks, repair usually involves manual intervention — this innovative new version takes the work out of repairing concrete by using a biodegradable additive that produces limestone to autonomously fill in fractures. This capability can save workers the time and effort of detecting cracks and making repairs, not to mention the cost of leaks and structural damage that can occur when cracks in concrete go undetected.

Despite concrete’s ubiquity, its extreme density and weight makes it a costly and complicated solution for some modern construction projects. A new construction solution called a Smart Slab combines the common structural elements of concrete, rebar, and carbon fiber in order to form an ultra-light ceiling with unprecedented weight-holding capabilities. At less than an inch thick and half the weight of typical concrete slabs, Smart Slab allows builders to save on material and opens up the possibility of using more prefabricated elements when it comes to concrete construction.

Measuring Made Easy

A staple in many a construction worker’s toolbelt is the tape measure — or at least, it used to be. Now, new technologies enable your smartphone to do the measuring for you. The mobile app AirMeasure allows smartphone users to measure a room through the device’s camera. Another key player in the same arena is TapMeasure. This app allows you to take measurements and transform them into 3D blueprints, provides a bird’s-eye view of a layout, and export the results to other apps. Apple has even created its own measuring app recently, simply called Measure, that makes use of augmented reality. Digital tape measures are also growing in popularity — the eTape16 is a good example. Of course, measuring apps and digital tape measures have been around for a few years now, but the accuracy they typically offered (especially when it came to apps) left quite a bit to be desired. But this technology has improved significantly over the last couple of years and is now becoming truly useful.

Wooden Structures on the Rise

Sustainability is a key consideration for many innovators in the tech and construction industries. Timber towers built from cross-laminated wood, rather than traditional glass and steel, are cropping up in skylines as an unusually-lightweight, highly-durable alternative that reduces a building’s carbon footprint. Although they don’t stretch as high as traditional skyscrapers, timber towers offer several other benefits that make them popular in metropolitan areas: their dense wood skeletons char when exposed to flame as opposed to burning, creating a barrier layer and reducing fire risk, and, in colder climates, the timber insulates well. The pleasing aesthetic quality of exposed wood also makes timber towers a smart choice for design-savvy architects. The 17-story Tallwood House in Vancouver, Canada is currently the tallest timber structure in the world, but an even more impressive building was recently proposed for Toronto: the lush and leafy Tree Tower Toronto.

The Brave New World of Robo Builders

In line with timber towers is the invention of robots that assemble complex wooden structures rapidly and with far greater ease than their human counterparts ever could. These machines, which look and function much like the large robotic arms used in vehicle manufacturing, follow programmed algorithms to cut wood and position it for the completion of sophisticated structures. Humans lend a hand in securing the structures with nuts and bolts once everything is in place. However, due to the precision of the manufacturing and assembly, the metal plates and bolts typically required by architects to reinforce beams are not needed here, thereby reducing cost as well.

Whether you’re ready to build with compressed timber or connect your team with the latest software, 2019 promises to be an exciting year for construction technology. Leverage the latest tech innovations to boost your sites’ sustainability, productivity, and efficiency across the board.

South Bay Construction has been an industry leader in the Northern California area since 1978. Throughout that time, we’ve been on the forefront when it comes to supporting innovation that provides a better experience for our customers. Contact us to get a quote or to learn more about our vision and expertise.

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