By Robert J. Hall
The construction industry is always changing and advancing. Think about how different construction looks today than it did 50, 20 or even 10 years ago. In fact, the only thing constant is change. The technological advances have made a big difference in how structures of all sizes are built. However, what can we expect over the next few years? Here are several ways that technology will continue to evolve the industry — in 2015 and for many years beyond.
- Going Paperless: Reducing paper saves time and money. This trend is catching on in nearly every industry, but it is becoming very popular in the construction field. Reducing the use for paper clutter in the work environment can make it much easier for you as you are working on projects, small and large. The adaptation of tablets and smartphones has enabled nearly every task to be accomplished without the use of physical papers.
- Drones: Drones are now used for surveying and other related tasks. This allows a crew to reach spots that may have otherwise been difficult or even impossible. While the upfront cost for a drone can be expensive, the money saved on surveying crews can be significant and make a big difference in a construction firm’s overall operations.
- Additive Manufacturing: Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, allows construction pieces to be “printed” on demand. This reduces the length of time to wait for factory creation by an enormous amount. 3-D printing is a very economical solution and eco-friendly, too — since there is often much less waste when products are created on demand than when products are created and sit in a warehouse until needed.
- GPS Fleet Management: Large construction firms may have many trucks and other vehicles in the field. A GPS system can help you keep track of your fleet and know exactly what vehicle is at what jobsite. Today’s GPS management systems are easy to operate and provide data that helps you with all aspects of your business.
- Additional Green Growth: Going green is trendy, there is no doubt about that. However, green technologies are influencing nearly every aspect of the construction industry. From fieldwork to deskwork, more and more green initiatives will come into play. If you can find ways to take advantage of the ecologically friendly initiatives today, you may save time and effort in the future.
The most exciting thing about construction is that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the technology changes that are occurring. Who knows what home or building construction will look like a few years down the road? What is certain is that the road to get there will be very exciting. Those in the business should keep an open mind and be ready to embrace these technologies as they move from the fringes to the norm. After all, everything we now know about construction was once thought of as “just a trend.”
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.