11 June 2021
Under Construction - Q3 2021 – 1 of 5 Insights
As part of our ongoing theme of the digitisation of construction we set out below a round-up of the latest top 5 applications of Smart Technology in the construction sector.
Last month we saw Europe's first inhabitants of a fully 3D printed house which was printed in 120 hours. The 3D printing method is seen by many within the construction industry as a way to cut costs and environmental damage by reducing the amount of cement that is used. It also provides an alternative at a time when there is a shortage of skilled construction workers. Using smart digital technologies and prefab construction can significantly reduce the time of a project. This could be very useful in terms of meeting pent-up demand and delivering "carbon neutral homes". As this type of construction gains momentum, data gathered from manufacturing and construction can be evaluated by AI to further optimise the process.
Laser scanning is a method of collecting surface data using a laser scanner. LIDAR is a combination of the words 'light' and 'radar'. It can be used to generate 3D images that can be converted for use in CAD or BIM modelling. It gives instant and accurate 3D visual comparisons between anticipated planned progress and actual progress. As this technology becomes wide-spread, there will be no need for site diaries or progress photographs. The data from this type of system could in the future be linked to interim payments for contractors in a Smart Contract once a specific milestone has been met. LiDAR may also become the most effective and most accurate way to record as-built information - which could help facilitate the "Golden Thread" which will at some stage soon be required for buildings above 18 metres.
In the context of mining, Caterpillar use operator-assist technologies that control specific machine functions to boost productivity and cut costs e.g. fully autonomous trucks. In addition, the use of drones is now widely adopted in documenting conditions to becoming a virtual inspection tool. Many drones now have thermal sensors and ground control points, which can enable construction companies to quickly identify issues like water leaks and concrete cracks. They are also useful for accident prevention, determining where projects get congested and estimating where hazards could arise.
by Rebecca May
by multiple authors