As our population grows and our needs expand, the construction industry has struggled to keep up with the demand. It is becoming increasingly harder to find skilled labor to fill the gaps and complete projects on time with a high degree of quality.
This is the challenge, but it is also the opportunity. Over the last ten years, an explosion of innovative construction technology has created a whole new toolset for the construction firms who keep an eye to the future. Mobile devices, wireless connectivity, and Cloud storage have opened up whole new worlds of collaboration and communication.
Smart devices, paired with innovative software tools, are bringing a new kind of functionality to the worksite, and connecting the worksite to the planning office to the contractors to the fabricators… etc. Document management, change orders, clash detection, these elements of the building process used to be a drag on the schedule and the payroll budget. Digital tools are simplifying and even automating many building processes, creating savings in time and manpower.
The Challenge for Construction Technology
Construction lags behind almost every other major industry in the adoption of technology and the creation of new workflows
Now we just have to get everyone on board. Construction lags behind almost every other major industry in the adoption of technology and the creation of new workflows. This is changing, but maybe not fast enough, and as it gets harder to find the right people with the right skills, we need to start thinking about different ways to address these needs.
Many firms who are leading the charge in developing digital workflows are already seeing huge gains in productivity and efficiency, and the clock is ticking for contractors who keep using the same techniques they have in the past.
Jim Lynch, V.P. of Construction for Autodesk, put it this way: “The ability to apply technology is going to continue to grow in importance for the entire industry.” There are opportunities in this explosion of technology and many of them are right at the tip of our fingers.
Tomorrow’s Workflow, Today
The momentum created by these devices, combined with new and developing construction technology like UAVs and Machine Learning, is driving new developments in workflows and project delivery and changing the way we think about construction. For example, the ability to collaborate with manufacturers and fabricators using high accuracy data in 3D models has created opportunities in modular and pre-construction that were unthinkable 20 years ago. This alone creates flexibility in scheduling, savings in material waste and reduces safety concerns.
Having all the data you need in the palm of your hand and gives you the accuracy and efficiency you need to deliver
“If we can help you do better planning and you can keep your margins where you want them, and the owner gets a high-quality building on time and on budget, then everybody’s happy. It’s a win-win and that’s exciting.”
Pat Keaney, BIM 360 DIRECTOR, AUTODESK
The clipboards and paperclips are gone. No more digging around in the office trailer, guessing which mechanical plan is current or who is responsible for a change; the digital workflow removes the uncertainty, putting all the data you need in the palm of your hand and gives you the accuracy and efficiency you need to deliver the project of your client’s dreams.
Autodesk’s BIM 360 Director, Pat Keaney, sums it up like this: “If we can help you do better planning and you can keep your margins where you want them, and the owner gets a high-quality building on time and on budget, then everybody’s happy. It’s a win-win and that’s exciting.”
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