Building computer software might be a bit like building a brick wall, but how is IT and other tech affecting actual bricks and mortar construction? Extrapolating from changes we’ve seen over the decades, here are a few guesses, just for fun, of what will be shaking up the industry in 2018.
Perhaps not the biggest impact the industry will see, these robot planes are certainly eye-catching. With something of a James Bond reputation, these remote controlled or independently programmed miniature aircraft are excellent for providing quick, accurate aerial surveys of a site. This can not only show obvious problems with a new plot (trees, valleys, ground contours) but also, with the correct analysis, reveal hidden problems such as underground structures and marshy areas.
Project management software
From the space-age to accountancy in one easy step. Project management, estimating, costing and ordering software has been increasingly important to the industry since it first came on the scene for the simple reason that computers are better and doing lots of simple, boring maths than people are. Good project management software can reduce the cost of a build significantly as it ensures timelines are plausible, estimates are accurate and orders are in on time.
While we don’t recommend checking your smartphone half way up a ladder, mobile tech continues to have a big impact on the day-to-day nature of construction jobs. From mobile phones, which summon staff to a particular job to tablet computers which store plans and send orders, tech is everywhere. In 2018 we expect to see even greater connectivity with more automated reporting – want to know if the new trench has been finished? It won’t be long before the digger reports that automatically…
Virtual and augmented reality
Step into your new building before the first brick has been laid. With VR taking off, the applications for construction and design are obvious but augmented reality is equally important. While VR is more useful for designers, architects and clients as it helps everyone working together get a real feel for a new space, augmented reality has practical applications on the building site. For example, AR can show an installation team where their pieces should go and where other items which haven’t yet been installed are due to fit.
3D printing and pre-fabs
Neither idea is brand new, yet both are set to surge in 2018. Pre-fabricated buildings and construction elements have historically suffered from being too alike: a single tool trying to do every job. Combined with 3D printing on a large scale, pre-fabs are a hot new trend as a design can be created, manufactured in effective pieces and assembled quickly and easily at the site. This is great news for both ends of the cost scale: low cost housing should become cheaper and high-end bespoke projects have new ways to create the unique pieces their designs demand.