The year 2019 has been a breakthrough year in terms of digitization of the Indian construction industry. With Prime Minister Modi declaring 2019-2020 as the year of Construction Technology, there has been a push towards the much-awaited and needed adoption of cutting-edge software technology for real estate, industrial as well as infrastructure projects.
Every construction company today is convinced that technology is poised to impact the construction industry like never before. From cloud-based collaboration to robots and artificial intelligence – an incredible array of developments are helping or poised to help and improve the way buildings and infrastructure development happens in India. Given below are the top five construction technology trends to watch out for:
According to a Mckinsey report, AI and Machine Learning (ML) will have an overarching role to play in the way the construction industry operates. Building Information Modeling (BIM) is already an advanced 3D modeling technique used as construction technology across India and globally. AI shall enable the quick generation of optimally feasible building design alternatives, seamlessly explore relevant options in a construction project, and these AI-generated models shall drastically reduce decision-making cycles. Further, AI can be used in risk mitigation, project planning and support in off-site construction. During the post-construction phase, AI can be used to monitor potential issues and accordingly offer solutions to prevent them from occurring.
Effective communication is a prerequisite for the successful execution of any project, more so for complex real estate projects that involve a large number of people in the project ecosystem. A vast majority of construction projects are highly fragmented with different teams working in silos, often with little or no synchronization, and cloud-based collaboration solution addresses this gap easily. Connected job sites use cloud technology to make information about almost every aspect of construction operation available to all the relevant parties, regardless of whether those parties are onsite or somewhere else. This allows developers, engineers, and contractors to integrate and manage their existing processes through a single, always-connected cloud-based platform. With cloud-based collaborations, 2019-20 is expected to emerge as the year when real-time collaboration takes off in a big way in the construction industry.
The adoption of 3D modeling and BIM in construction is a key driver of digitalization, moving it away from paper-based drawings to the virtual domain. In India, many thousands of construction professionals use BIM regularly, with many more being added to this group every month. Professionals have realized that paper drawings, even in a BIM model, are not always accurate or reliable enough for actual construction. The only solution is to make these digital models truly constructible; which is exactly what constructible BIM, the next generation of BIM, delivers. Trimble leads the way on this aspect with Tekla Structures, which allows building truly constructible models. Other innovations like 5D BIM add time and cost dimensions to a BIM model, which in turn helps construction professionals manage construction efficiently.
The number of industrial robots deployed worldwide is estimated to reach 2.6 million by the end of 2019. The use of robots in the construction industry is no longer a visual revelation alone; the industry is facing an ever-increasing pressure to construct quickly and reliably, and this is where robots are being found quite useful. This pressure is fueling the demand for use of various types of robots viz. collaborative industrial robots, logistics robots, building automation and autonomous drones. Investment of over $13 billion in robotics by the Indian government is further expected to boost the adoption of robotics in construction.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones are often used in global construction projects nowadays. The use of drones has rendered surveying of large construction sites much easier and quicker today when compared to the several days or weeks it used to take in the past. With further advancements in drone technology, the accuracy and precision of drones will only increase, necessitating even lesser human involvement. The use of drones in construction is no longer limited to lighter aspects like locating potential hazards or tracking on-site progress. Drones are being used to help plan and execute riskier aspects of building new bridges in hostile terrains and complex building structures.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely believed to be a key element of smart city infrastructure. Sensors connected to the Internet can continually monitor and manage in real-time critical urban resources, such as water, sewage, and electric systems. In construction, IOT is commonly used for monitoring machines on the site floor and for tracking the progress of work. Mixed reality is making its mark globally, and sensors mounted on construction equipment or hard hats worn by construction professionals help firms not only optimize the utilization of their manpower and physical assets but also significantly boost workforce safety on construction sites.
Cumulatively, these five trends are likely to push the Indian construction industry towards connected, collaborated and data-driven construction shortly. The industry locally is fast embracing centrally managed construction process – bringing design, manufacturing, material sourcing, and construction together into one streamlined system – thus making it possible to build high-quality, amazing building structures on time and more cost-efficiently.
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