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Contractors face increasing pressure to thrive in a world of stringent client demands, shifting economic trends and a dynamic regulatory landscape.

But the continued emergence of innovative digital tools lets you meet these and other challenges.

Let’s take a look at some of the high-tech solutions making their mark on the construction industry this year.

#1: Real-Time Integrated Data

According to some estimates, 90% of the world’s data was created in the past year alone, but most of it is not being used effectively.

Cloud-based information tools put contractors ahead of the curve with easy access to information and communication across functional units. For example, Procore captures real-time data for optimized workflows, financial oversight and safety and lets managers supervise multiple projects simultaneously, all with an easy-to use interface that can be accessed from smartphones, tablets or desktop devices.

Using these tools to improve data management smooths the path from data collection and analysis to decision making and implementation. Teams enjoy simplified workflows, tighter coordination and smoother collaboration throughout the life of the project. Projects benefit from a reduction of time- and money-wasting errors, delays and change orders.

#2: IoT and Wearables

Connected devices also enable data collection and provide real-time control over the project both onsite and off.

Internet-of-Things capability (abbreviated IoT) offers many promising applications for the construction sector. For example, integrating GPS capability into a number of devices improves processes throughout the project lifecycle:

  • Simplified surveying with easier-to-use equipment
  • Fleet management with trackable devices installed in each vehicle
  • Autonomous vehicles and machinery such as driverless bulldozers and other construction vehicles
  • Finding lost or stolen items by pinpointing them on a map
  • Data collection from prospective job sites

Wearable devices like connected glasses or armbands also improve safety by letting workers communicate hands-free and respond more quickly in case of an accident.

#3: Robotics

While some worry about the risk of technology displacing workers, the reality is that robotics in construction are intended to assist rather than replace humans. In fact, many of these technologies can actually enhance both efficiency and safety.

  • Autonomous vehicles mean faster site prep and clean-up.
  • Heavy-duty robotic arms can lift and install heavy objects, reducing the risk of injuries to workers.
  • Most machines require human operators, opening the door to new skill sets in the next generation of construction professionals.
  • Robots can simplify some processes, enabling newer workers to master the trade faster, which may attract more young talent to the field.

#4: Drones

Already a staple of cost-effective aerial photography, drone technology offers a number of applications that add value to a project.

Surveying can be completed in mere minutes as opposed to weeks or months, along with greater accuracy. Drones also facilitate pre-construction modeling and jobsite security.

#5: Augmented and Virtual Reality

The ability to visualize a finished project through a lens enhances the planning phase, resulting in fewer errors once ground is broken.

Life-sized digital modeling provides a stunning view of the finished project in detailed accuracy.  It also supports training through the use of simulated environments.

#6: Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Advanced BIM technology including smart 3D modeling provides a realistic simulation of a finished project, among other benefits.

  • Fewer errors
  • Faster approvals
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Improved safety
  • Greater sustainability

#7: Modular, Pre-Fab and 3D Printing

Prefabrication, modularization and 3D printing technologies reduce construction time and save money through printing and assembly of building components. In one high profile example, the world’s first 3D-printed office building was opened in Dubai back in 2016.

Off-site modularization enables the developer to create building modules in a factory setting for onsite assembly, leading to lower costs and shorter lead times.

These construction methods save money through bulk purchase of materials. Environmental benefits include less waste and lower risk of damage to components from extreme temperatures and moisture.

Investing in advanced construction technologies gives contractors the opportunity to improve efficiencies, reduce operating costs and maintain your competitive edge.


Contact Mid-City Lumber to learn more from our local experts and to find the resources you need for a successful project.