How can digital be embraced by the construction industry in the future?
Over the years construction has remained a traditional industry, with most work being carried out on site. But with the arrival of the pandemic and the restrictions imposed as a result of it, the industry has been forced to adopt digital and modern construction methods at a faster rate than previously imagined. Digital technologies can be pivotal in increasing efficiency and thereby reducing the waste of time and materials. Below are some ways in which digital could be embraced by the construction industry to give the desired results in the future:
Using digital technologies such as blockchain and smart contracts in the construction supply chain can lead to simpler processes and help construction companies save time. These tools can be used effectively to reduce the majority of the transactional burden, freeing up time and money for the project.
Construction companies can also optimise the use of 4G Internet and smartphones on site to monitor day-to-day tasks and simplify processes such as safety incident reporting and waste management. These tools can be effective in minimising waste and increasing on-site efficiency. Various smart access systems can also be employed to control on-site activity, manage the safety of workers and ensure tighter security controls.
Additionally, Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be used by construction companies to create full 3D models of projects, delivering greater efficiency during the planning and scheduling stages. With the help of 3D printing, the creation of various elements of the building, and eventually the building itself, might be possible, as evidenced by examples of prototype homes printed in concrete. We also foresee a digitised construction industry with robotised factory systems that would ensure better controls in the industry and reduce risks.
Beyond the construction process, there is increasing demand for smart homes, where smartphone technology can help to control various in-home functions, such as heating, electricity and appliances.
While the possibilities of digital are countless and the benefits many, it is essential that companies embrace the technology in the right way in order to make the process easy for everyone involved. To ensure that changes are accepted, it is essential for companies to communicate with their teams right from the beginning and keep them informed about the innovations that are to be introduced. It is important to get the support of internal teams before implementing any digitisation strategy. The best way to achieve this is by explaining the new technologies to them and highlighting how they stand to benefit from them. Getting your teams on board is the essential first step in any kind of digital transformation.
Another thing that construction companies should keep in mind is that technology should be simple and aim to simplify processes. Using complex technology that is difficult to understand may create added complications, leading to demotivation, a waste of time and resources, and failure.
The final thing that construction companies should take into account is that these new technologies and processes should be introduced slowly and step by step. Companies should draw up an action plan and educate and inform their teams accordingly, starting with the easier processes first. This will ensure that teams do not feel overwhelmed or threatened. Only after teams are comfortable with the changes should the next set of changes be introduced. This gives workers time to adapt to the new systems, reduces the risk of failure, and saves the company time and resources in the long run.
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