Round 1 and 2 have ended! See details about Round 3 here.
Which Tech Will Be a Slam Dunk for Construction Teams?
Each week, there seems to be a hot new technology creating a buzz in construction. But while some technology may live up its hype and will be the key to unlocking greater construction productivity, others may be little more than a passing trend.
So, which technology will be instrumental in moving the construction industry forward? We’re leaving it up to our community to tell us in a special March Madness-themed contest, called ConTech Madness: Technology Game Changers in 2019. Cast your ballot today and be entered to win a YETI Roadie 20 Cooler!
How does the contest work?
So, how do you enter? We’re giving you three rounds to vote:
- Round 1: March 21-27
- Round 2: March 28-April 2
- Round 3: April 3-5
What better than having office tech and field tech face-off in ConTech Madness? In Round 1, we’ll be asking our community to cast their vote on which technology they think will have a bigger impact on the future of construction. Once Round 1 ends, the technology with the most votes will advance, and we’ll open up voting for Round 2 (and a second chance to enter to win). The final voting and entry round will be a face-off between the office and field technologies with the most votes. Only one technology will emerge as the winner!
Once voting ends on April 5, we’ll randomly select one (1) winner to receive a YETI Roadie 20 Cooler (AVR $199.99). The full contest rules and terms can be found here.
Here’s the lineup for Round 1:
Need more information about the game-changing technologies listed in our bracket? Scroll and read below:
ConTech Office Warriors
1. Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling (BIM) enables architects, engineers and builders the ability to solve problems and create intelligent design through all the building stages. Construction professionals can use BIM to design thoughtful, functional buildings, from start to finish.
BIM creates a virtual environment that enables designers to try scenarios until they’ve created a complete building model. Originally, BIM was used only in the modeling and designing stages. Today, virtual models created in BIM give construction professionals the ability to anticipate and plan for all construction activities relating a facility including maintenance, renovation and demolition.
- Reduced costs. BIM software enables construction companies to reduce their costs associated with change orders and rework by allowing for changes to be made early in the design.
- Improved efficiency. Design, planning and construction can all be finished more efficiently with modeling software.
- Fewer hazards. Builders and designers are able to anticipate and prevent hazards that could lead to expensive changes.
2. Cloud Technology
There’s virtually no industry that isn’t in some way affected by cloud technology. By enabling collaborators to dispense information quickly and efficiently, cloud technology is an invaluable information sharing tool when used to build. Whether in the office or out in the field, construction professionals have access to all documents and data for a single project.
With access to all the relevant information, professionals can avoid miscommunications that can lead to expensive delays. Better yet, when plans and documents are available through cloud technology they are accessible on nearly any device and location. This powerful, flexible technology is essential for improving collaboration in construction.
- Efficiency. Cloud technology makes sharing information simple and fast.
- Data management. Cloud technology simplifies data management in big construction projects.
3. Design Automation
Design automation is a subject that is debated in the world of construction and architecture. Can computers design beautiful, functional buildings? The answer is not straightforward, but its potential is showing tremendous growth.
Many professionals in the design community believe that automation can help speed up the design process. Computer generated designs enable architects to explore options quickly and make high-level decisions efficiently. Even with design automation technology, people still control what gets built and what the structures look like. In the future, computers may play a much larger role.
- Creativity boost. With computers generating designs, architects and builders are able to explore ideas they may not have considered previously.
- Efficiency. Computers are innately capable of creating functional designs, more efficiently than living professionals.
4. Estimating and Bidding Software
Contractors rely on their ability to estimate costs and bid projects accurately. Without accurate projections and solid bidding abilities, many construction companies would not survive. Estimating and bidding software takes the guesswork out of the bidding process, freeing up personnel for moving forward with the project. Effective estimating and bidding software is accurate and robust, taking into consideration the different methods of construction bidding, historical prices and the cost of locally available materials.
- Monetary security. Good software helps ensure that construction companies maximize their profits at the lowest cost to their clients.
- Logical and accurate pricing. All bidding and estimating should be based in logic and free from error; good software makes that possible.
5. Machine Learning
Machines can be taught to complete everyday human tasks. By taking over certain functions in construction, machine learning makes it possible for humans to engage in the cognitive activities of building and construction, to build more creative and attractive structures.
Machine learning may sound very next-century, but the basic capability is here now, and machines can do many of the tasks that humans can do. Will machines replace human labor? Probably not; but they certainly can supplement that labor, to ensure efficiency on the jobsite.
- Enhanced safety. Machines can be taught to identify safety concerns on a level that is just as accurate as human safety professionals.
- Improved risk assessment. Machines can also be taught to assess risk and make suggestions to reduce exposure.
6. Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics software gathers the masses of data from previous construction projects and uses that data to predict potential outcomes in future projects. Using predictive analytics, construction companies can predict negative outcomes, enabling professionals to solve problems before they occur.
Good predictive analytics software helps construction companies save money and time on each project. Without the proper software, construction companies rely solely on their own cognition and limited data to try to predict outcomes, often with far less accuracy.
- Improved financial management. Construction companies use predictive analytics to avoid making expensive mistakes that can lead to a loss in profits over time.
- Better project management. With the right software, it becomes easy to order supplies, predict the amount of time a task will take, and avoid project delays.
7. Scheduling Tools
Project scheduling is one of the most significant challenges for construction management. Every project relies on a schedule to deliver the goods to the customer. Poor project planning and scheduling can lead to serious delays, loss in time and strained relations with the client.
Construction companies rely heavily upon scheduling tools. The best software goes beyond helping construction companies manage their time; good software optimizes time. As a construction company grows and projects become more complex, this software becomes even more essential.
- Improved client relationships. Scheduling software enables construction companies to more accurately predict how long a project will take, so the client can be prepared.
- Accurate schedule prediction. With good time management software, construction companies are able to predict how long they’ll take on one project, and when they can begin the next.
- Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) software enables construction professionals to visualize future projects, explore future jobsites and optimize efficiency on current jobsites. By exploring projects in a no-risk environment, workers can predict poor outcomes and decide the best course of action at every step.
VR technology also enables customers to explore future buildings in a low-cost environment, enabling them to make changes before construction begins. In this way, virtual reality software helps construction companies save money and time.
- Reduced costs. Using VR, construction companies can avoid costly changes mid-project.
- Safety. This new technology enables construction companies to improve safety in a no-risk environment.
ConTech Field Champs
9. 3D Printing
Since 2004, 3D printing technology has been exploding in the construction industry. Using specialized quick-set concrete, large 3D printers are now able to build landscaping features and even buildings.
Although 3D printers are still only available to a small portion of construction businesses, they’re becoming more popular and more widely used all the time. As the technology becomes more prevalent and advanced, it may also become more omnipresent in the construction industry.
- Total flexibility. Simply program the 3D printer to make whatever is needed, then use the structure when it’s finished.
- Leaner projects. Using a 3D printer to build a structure is an efficient way to move a project forward without employing a large workforce or wasting construction materials not needed.
10. Augmented Reality
Similar to virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) reveals what could be. With augmented reality, a worker can see exactly where a fixture must be installed or overlaid on the existing wall. Even better, a client can stand in a half-finished room and see it as it should appear after construction is complete. In other words, augmented reality makes it easy to envision change by supplementing the real world. This makes communicating ideas with the client much easier, and also helps the client make decisions early in the building process.
- Communication. It’s much easier to show a client an idea in its full concept.
- Improved accuracy. Augmented reality makes it easier to build structures accurately.
- Improved efficiency. These tools make it possible to envision the finished product and identify issues that could come into conflict with that finished product.
The construction industry is one of the fastest growing adopters of drone technology. There’s no end to the need for more data on a construction site, and drones are providing much of that data. Aerial photography is used by construction firms for a variety of purposes, from marketing purposes to project management.
In the past, aerial photography was an expensive service, and only large-scale construction companies could afford to take aerial photographs of their work sites. Today, drone technology is making aerial photography a realistic tool for small scale construction businesses.
- Relatively low cost. Aerial photographs of a jobsite are now affordable.
- Availability. Drone operators are very common now, so they’re easy for construction firms to hire for one-off projects.
12. Field Collaboration Software
Field collaboration software enables large groups of people to solve problems, negotiate, communicate and update one another on the most recent developments on a project. Field collaboration software is all cloud-based and mobile-ready so it can be accessed from any location, and from any device. This type of software is useful for large groups and for projects consisting of several groups at once.
- Improved productivity. Now construction teams can meet and share ideas from any location helping to address project changes faster.
- Flexibility. Field collaboration software allows groups of people to work on the same project together while maintaining good organization.
- Improved communication over long distances. With field collaboration software, groups of people in different locations can meet in face-to-face meetings online.
13. Internet of Things and Wearables
The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to networking devices embedded into everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.
On the construction site, IoT can be used to enhance safety and productivity among workers. By tracking worker progress and transmitting information about worker safety back to a monitoring server, managers can ensure that their workers are making the best use of their time.
- Better monitoring. Wearables make it possible for the manager to know where their workers are on the jobsite and what tasks they’re currently completing.
- Improved safety. Better monitoring leads to better safety for everyone on the jobsite.
14. Laser Scanning
Laser scanning is a time-saving tool that measures millions of points within a space. The laser scanner is rotated 360 degrees on a tripod, to measure the space in its entirety. This survey tool makes it possible to quickly and accurately measure the distance between two points. Laser scanning saves loads of time in the planning and prepping stages.
- Simplicity. A laser scanner is much easier to use than traditional survey equipment.
- Speed. Because it’s so much easier, laser scanning is also faster than traditional survey equipment.
15. Prefabrication and Modular Construction
Prefabrication and modular construction have been around for ages, but lately, it’s becoming a more important part of the construction industry. Assembling things off site saves time and valuable space in a cramped jobsite. Modular construction is also inexpensive, which helps keep costs down.
- Cost-effective. Modular construction helps keep project costs low.
- Practical. Because it’s so easy to assemble off-site, prefabricated construction is practical for a variety of different types of projects.
16. Artificial Intelligence
Demand for good workers is high in the construction industry. Employers seeking quality candidates may be stuck searching for many months before they find the right person to fill the role. Artificial intelligence helps solve this problem. Although there will always be a need for workers in the field, artificial intelligence can fill a variety of vacancies, including safety jobs and repetitive tasks.
- Cost effective. Artificial intelligence may have large up-front costs, but it’s much more cost-efficient over the long term.