In the not-so-distant past, whenever you walked onto a construction site, you would be greeted by heavy machinery, diesel trucks doing the rounds, neon-vested and hard-hatted investors and engineers, and a constant buzzing of orders being shouted out and vehicles moving about.
The one thing that drove all those orders used to be massive maps and blueprints that littered any flat surface. However, when you go to construction sites today, those rolls of oversized maps and charts are no longer there.
They have been replaced by tablet computers and other mobile devices. The digital age has overtaken yet another sphere of the world, and for the most part, it’s finally been welcomed with open arms.
Hello, It’s The 21st Century
Worldwide, the construction industry is worth over $10 trillion. Whereas nearly all other industries have embraced paperless technology, the construction industry has finally joined the revolution.
The construction industry holds two records simultaneously as being the biggest industry in the world, yet at the same time, it is also the least efficient. If you think of company or project waste, anything from 5 -10% would be considered as acceptable.
However, in the construction industry, waste of up to a third of the project value isn’t uncommon. This is one of the major contributors to the minimal industry growth over the last two decades. Compared to the world economy which managed to grow at 2.8% a year, the construction industry has only managed 1%.
The construction industry has finally got into the game and is using technologies like mobile computing, artificial intelligence, and cloud-based data analytics.
The technology is so advanced that it will tell the builder whether to use A449 round head bolts or A307 round head bolts based on the specifics of a job. Supplier information can also be acquired on the fly and there are ready-links to manufacturers like www.bacoent.com.
The tech industry has truly made something worthwhile to bring to the table and boost profit margins. Major tech companies are flashing massive amounts of cash to get a piece of the action. Companies like Oracle acquired Aconex for $1.2 billion, just before spending about half that amount on Textura.
The question remains as to why it has taken so long for tech companies to get a footing in the construction world and who sparked the sudden growth.
And The Winner Is…
Autodesk is probably the one company who has pushed the envelope and put major efforts and investments into building information modeling (BIM). The term broadly refers to three-dimensional models that replace the traditional two-dimensional blueprint.
The problem with the traditional blueprints is that it showed the builders how a building was supposed to look, but could not tell them how it was to be constructed within the actual space. On-site plans and rebuilding was the norm and frequently led to wastage. Now with BIM technologies, builders can know how to build something before the obstacles arise.
At the end of the day, time is saved and waste is curbed, and the industry wins all the way to the bank.