Over the years, the evolution of technology and construction has changed the way we build. Early on, the industry consisted of jobs that took months, if not years, to complete, simply because communication, transportation and several other parts of each job took longer. Today, efficiency has increased because of simplifying technology. “Labor” cannot be defined the same way anymore with advances in safety, production, equipment, machinery, and technology. Within the construction industry, innovation has focused on the aspect of creating shortcuts while making hard work just a little bit easier. Management within the industry has been taken to the next level via advancements in construction technology. Let’s take a look at how things have changed:
Technology, Construction Software and Job Data
Mobile technology has completely changed the way a job functions, from bid to completion. Bidders can now bid on different jobs from anywhere; contractors can also use different software to calculate the different aspects of a job and what bid would be the wisest. This software can be accessed from everything from mobile phones to tablets. On the job site, mobile technology allows contractors and construction managers to record job performance, equipment performance and damage, machine efficiency, delivery of items, and orders. Technology also allows professionals to access this information as quickly as possible.
Mobile technology and software also allows contractors and construction managers to keep in touch with different job professionals. Everything from digital blueprints and job site specifics to quality control and job site issues can be communicated in real time, without waiting for a response or approval from various managers. Ease of communication is a hugely impactful way technology has improved job productivity over the years.
Just as it used to be, a lot of construction professionals, from estimators to contractors, continue to use manual methods of drawing up construction estimates. Electronic spreadsheets have helped this efficiency and continue to do so, especially regarding mundane and/or difficult calculations. Construction software, however, has helped estimators and construction professionals become more and more accurate with their bids, estimations and predictions. More accuracy means fewer mistakes; fewer mistakes lead to less overhead loss.
Construction software has allowed construction professionals to envision a job from concept to completion. Construction software is generally broken down into cost estimating software, construction management software and performance tracking software. There are many different types of software out there that has different programs within a larger program to answer these different needs, but no matter what a contractor uses, the benefits are clear and tangible.
Inventory and Logistics
Organization of logistics and inventory of a construction job is a huge task. Each job is unique, and quite often, the inventory first ordered for a job is not the inventory utilized throughout the entire job. Various inventory changes as do job specifics. Because of this, tracking inventory and logistics is imperative for construction managers to manage loss and gain. Perhaps a machine that was ordered came in and was broken; this needs to be marked, tracked and taken into consideration regarding overhead.
Machinery and Vehicles
Over the years, transportation technology has changed the way construction jobs are completed. Transportation has changed from just large trucks to smaller, smarter, energy efficient vehicles that not only allow construction companies to save on fuel but travel distances that were not necessarily cost effective to travel to before. Large trucks and similar construction vehicles are still an important part of a construction job, but today, there are vehicles available dedicated to helping construction companies save money and move inventory and heavy machinery in a much more efficient and cost effective manner. Electric vehicles are now an option. Vehicles that run faster and harder and yet use less fuel are available to construction companies.
Solar Power and Energy
Solar power and more efficient energy resources are allowing construction companies to spend less money on energy throughout a job. Energy consumption is very expensive at construction job sites; today, there are resources such as solar power and wind energy that can power a job and allow energy costs to dwindle.
Engineering and Architecture
Typically, engineering professionals will create a building construction timeline via 2D documents. In the past few years, 3D design documents have become available as construction technology advances, but today, there are also 4D modeling technologies available that make each engineering and construction job much more efficient. Utilizing 3D/4D programs, designers can create visual construction calendars that are also editable and changeable depending on the situation. These share a common language among all professionals and can also be saved and transmitted in seconds.
Technological Advances in Construction
These, of course, are just a handful of advances that have created a more efficient industry today. They are important to the industry not only because some of these technologies save companies money, but they are create new jobs and new forms of innovation, ensuring that the industry continues to grow and prosper. Construction is an industry that will never die, but as climates change, needs change and economies change, it needs to adapt to be able to thrive. The ability to efficiently manage this industry is imperative as competition drives the market. Construction technology continues to make construction management easier and more accurate.