PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog
The Future of Construction Technology Coming to a Jobsite Near You [ebook]

The Future of Construction Technology: Coming to a Jobsite Near You [ebook]

What’s Construction Tech Is Available Now and What’s Coming Soon?

When there’s a chance that a new technological advancement advertised in the construction industry is only a flash in the pan, it’s not surprising that many construction firms are hesitant to adopt the cutting edge. Yet, with a careful approach, it is possible to select the right construction technology to boost your firm’s productivity. In fact, greater productivity could add up to $1.6 trillion USD in value to the construction industry, according to research from McKinsey & Company.

If you are feeling intimidated about making a con-tech choice, we’re here to help and inform. To learn more about the future of construction technology available to teams now (and the near future), download our new ebook titled, “Tomorrow’s Construction Technology: A deep-dive into the tech available to better manage complex construction projects.”

Download Now

Current Construction Technology

A savvy construction crew might use a drone in the morning to gather site information for grading, communicate over a central collaboration software before lunch and spend the afternoon following the specifications of a 3D model. There are endless ways that technology is being implemented in the field on daily basis, but it’s up to teams to determine what new innovations will provide them the most return.

Some of the most popular forms of modern construction technology include:

  • Automated and manually controlled drones used for photography, 3D modeling, surveying, inspecting and more
  • GPS integration to guide everything from grading equipment to drones, along with tracking capabilities for vehicles and valuable tools to prevent theft
  • Construction productivity apps accessed through tablets and smartphones, so field team members can stay in touch with the rest of the construction company
  • Centralized communication and document storage systems powered by cloud computing making data and information accessible from every location and as many devices as possible
  • Advanced 3D modeling services achieved through laser scanners or properly equipped professional drones
  • Augmented and virtual reality devices for visualizing structural plans and identifying variations from the existing specifications in partially built structures
  • Improved bidding and proposal software that relies on rudimentary artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms

These technologies are all widely available across the construction industry to companies and firms of all sizes. With 74% of construction firms polled responding that they are planning to invest in advanced technology within the next three years, it is clear that many executives are taking advantage of this prime period for expansion.

Demand for these existing technologies will continue to drive innovation in construction and many of these projected developments will integrate into the current systems. For example, automated construction equipment will still rely on GPS and scanners, along with other tools, to determine its location and destination within the jobsite.

Ultimately, executives and decision-makers who continue to familiarize themselves with today’s latest technology will be in a better position to address tomorrow’s newest release.

What’s on the Horizon for the Future of Construction Technology

It may take up to a decade for some of the biggest breakthroughs in construction technology to become industry standard, but the first generations of many systems are becoming available now. Expect to see these forms of technology grow rapidly over the next few years. It’s essential to evaluate all potential investments, as one or more of these breakthrough technologies could give your construction company an edge over the competition.

Increased Use of Wearables

While some people think of wearable technology as a gimmick or only useful for things like tracking steps, they can serve a valuable purpose when used as part of the construction process. Outfitting each employee with sensors and trackers helps to pinpoint specific risk factors and alerts emergency responders immediately when there’s an injury or accident. Wearable technology also helps organizations discover where they are losing valuable labor or need to make improvements to ergonomics and other work techniques.

Machine Learning

Today’s machine-learning algorithms often make headlines for silly recipes and movie script rewrites, but soon they will design building floor plans and double-check 3D models against actual buildings to catch serious mistakes. One form of a drone-deployed machine-learning algorithm is spotting safety violations and notifying supervisors before any injuries or damages occur.


Traditional construction relies on a lot of on-site labor and an ongoing labor shortage across all sectors of the construction industry is making it hard to satisfy the demand for workers for many projects. Prefabrication is just one of many suggested solutions to the labor shortage. By assembling as much of a particular structure as possible in a remote factory before shipping everything to the jobsite, only a small crew is needed to operate the heavy equipment to put together entire building frames and fully intact rooms.

Predictive Analysis

Risk management is a key challenge for construction companies since each new form of technology added to the company introduces new opportunities for theft and loss. From protecting your intellectual property to satisfying the security requirements set by specific clients, predictive analysis will eventually help you avoid attacks and threats altogether. Predictive analysis programs take a holistic approach to identify weak links at every level, from vendors to the software used for storing project files.

Invest in Training for New Construction Tech

Finding the right technology is just a part of the solution. Getting your crew to use the technology you are investing in is a whole other hurdle. Introducing new construction technology to your workers without sufficient training will only result in a low acceptance and adoption level, wasting your company’s investment in equipment and software. Look to the manufacturers of the systems or apps you plan to use for official training materials first. Hire consultants experienced in the particular equipment you want to add to your standard worksite routines, such as 3D modeling and drone inspections, to make sure your employees are ready to work with these unfamiliar tools.

Get Informed on the Present and Future of Construction Technology

Need to learn more about each of the particular technologies available now and coming in the future? Then download our new ebook about the current state of construction technology. It goes into depth about each of your options for finding a construction technology solution to any of your firm’s current challenges.

Download Now

Don’t let the sheer number of construction management apps and equipment options overwhelm you and your IT staff. Commit to establishing a powerful approach to adding new con-tech to your company in 2019 and watch your team’s productivity and cohesiveness grow.

Eric Thomas

Eric Thomas is a Content Marketing Manager at PlanGrid. He develops PlanGrid’s content strategy and creates assets to educate their customers based on his experience working at Gilbane Building Co. and Truebeck Construction. He has more than six years of marketing experience and a Bachelor's Degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University.

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