Construction is single-handedly the largest branch of manufacturing in the economy of the United States, contributing as much as 4.7 percent to the country's gross national product.
Construction is single-handedly the largest branch of manufacturing in the economy of the United States, contributing as much as 4.7 percent to the country's gross national product. It's only normal for such an important field to undergo massive changes and progress over the years. With the boom of technology in most industries around the world, the world of building has also evolved tremendously.
The world has changed perpetually, and with it so have our demands and expectations. Even though working on site was once a profession that many people dreaded, thanks to the advance of safety measures, machinery and gadgets it's not only a more secure job but also an easier one overall. Here are three ways in which technology is influencing construction industry trends.
1. Better Materials and Equipment
The National Academies Press reported that new construction trends are focused on new and improved materials. While steel and concrete have remained unchanged and just as important, novelty technologies have also appeared in this department, such as:
• fiberglass fabric that makes repairs faster and easier;
• honeycomb foam structures that are stronger;
• polyester fiber for more durable sewers and piping; and
• and specialized materials for just about any once-foreign environment (arctic, arid, underwater, radioactive and even extraterrestrial).
Furthermore, equipment and gear have also improved a lot over the years. Workers are now safer than ever, and the rate of related accidents and mortality has gone down tremendously since the 90s. Helmets are thicker and stronger, on-site clothes are insulated and made of better fabrics, and boot manufacturers employ the best production methods.
In fact, brands have progressed considerably after producing clothes and boots for workers for decades. Footwear has particularly changed for the better nowadays, with stronger soles, better grip, comfortable insoles and waterproof materials.
All these changes have promoted an increasing trend regarding job safety in the construction industry. Not only are workers better protected by their gear and perform in conditions that do not threaten their health, but guidelines and requirements are also more vehement.
2. Multitasking and Interconnectivity
An increasing trend in all technology-related fields nowadays is the existence of an app for anything. By using our smartphones and tablets, we have access to an endless supply of tools and information that simplifies just about anything you could think of. And the same is true for the building industry.
Apps help workers, supervisors, architects and others involved in the building process stay connected and share data fast and easy. On top of that, they are an amazing option for on-site multi-tasking. Thus, construction apps make the industry go round with the new world of possibilities they've opened, seeing as they handle a lot of various aspects, from BMI and plans to drones.
3. Futuristic Vehicles and Gadgets
A huge part of the activity of building sites relies heavily on man-operated machinery and trucks. While older models are sometimes true deathtraps, this has changed for the better thanks to important innovations. The future of successful building is here, and it's made of state-of-the-art vehicles and devices.
One of the most dangerous types of vehicles on a construction site are attenuator trucks. Although they are equipped with fold-up cushions that should theoretically absorb the shock of any impact, more often than not this has proved to be useless. Due to a high injury rate, many workers avoid getting stuck with this duty.
But Royal Truck & Equipment has come up with a great solution for this problem: driverless attenuator trucks. This autonomous vehicle could potentially eliminate the need for people in that position altogether.
Other trends, such as 3-D printed excavators and drones for organizational and security purposes are also shaping up the new image of the industry nowadays. The progress in this field is in plain sight, and it's attracting more and more people to the industry with each passing year.
Vincent West is a fresh Engineering Design graduate with a strong interest in all things DIY and construction gear, Vincent West is the mastermind behind WorkBootCritic.com. He's now keen on spreading the word on what he has learned and continues to learn through research and practice.