Whether you are the Builder or the home owner acting as General Contractor, you need to have expert guidance determining the smart home automation you want to work for you in your home. There are many areas that need concentration during the process. Here are a few that we think are becoming mandatory during the process.
Mobile technology isn’t just for games anymore.
Apps are becoming more of the norm in construction, and for good reason. The increased portability of tablets and smartphones allows for greater communication and the ability to work from anywhere. Integrating this type of technology into your current processes can be much simpler and require a smaller upfront investment while still providing major benefits and increasing productivit in your day to day operations. So if you want to start implementing technology, this is a good place to start.
Mobile technology will help you save time and keep your project moving forward faster by providing real-time updates and making information available between the job site and the office. You can easily access the latest revisions to plans or report a problem to the project manager off site.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
BIM is similar to CAD (computer aided design), but not exactly the same. It is software for 3D design to digitally model what will be built. But it’s capabilities don’t stop there: “It doesn’t just create a visually appealing 3D model of your building—it creates numerous layers of metadata and renders them within a collaborative workflow,” writes Engineering.com. It captures things in a way that paper just can’t.
BIM is mandated in other countries but the US doesn’t have requirements for BIM on a national level. We have seen steps at the local level to increase BIM use, though. In 2010, for example, Wisconsin became the first state to require BIM on publicly-funded projects with a budget over $5 million.
The use of BIM provides space for better collaboration because each person and expertise area can add their piece to the same model, instead of broken out onto multiple versions of a 2D paper drawing. This way, the model evolves immediately as people contribute, streamlining the process and increasing efficiency. BIM also helps with problem solving in the design and planning stages of a project, by automating clash detection and providing a more complete picture of the project.
When you think about the different industries that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already impacting construction is most likely an industry that does not come to mind. However, AI is rapidly affecting the way that construction companies operate and the way that construction projects are scheduled, organized, and carried out. One of the most labor intensive aspects of construction is managing employee schedules. AI is already helping some companies to more efficiently manage their workers’ schedules for short and long-term projects which helps to prevent costly delays. AI can also help look for common trends in projects taking all of the various data points from blueprints, schedules, and SoW’s into account. This is done using a facet of AI known as Machine Learning to recognize data patters and outliers within the data that can help construction companies complete projects more efficiently. The use of autonomous vehicles and drones is also on the rise in the construction industries. Robots are helping to complete tasks such as laying bricks and pouring concrete, and intelligent drones are used to capture photos from above project sites than can be used to analyze aspects of the of project that may not be too apparent. Lastly, AI can help to improve the safety of project site working conditions and reduce liability for construction companies. Many companies are deploying IoT sensors and devices capable of object recognition to help keep workers safe on the job.
Virtual Reality and Wearables
Virtual reality technology is often used in conjunction with BIM to help better understand complex projects. Think of the potential: you create a building design with BIM and then are able to use VR to actually walk around it. Pretty cool, right? This will give your team, or the client, an even more realistic idea of what the project will look like once completed. Having a more complete grasp on the project before it begins gives you the opportunity to avoid big changes and expensive change orders mid-way through.
Wearables are a construction technology that will have an impact on job site safety and risk management. The Daqri smart glasses, though still in the early stages, are one example. The glasses have an augmented reality display, wide-angle camera, depth sensor and other features that allow workers to collect and see data based on their environment. The glasses give workers the information and instructions they need to complete a task right on the display, getting the job done faster and with less room for error.
3D printing as a construction technology has the potential to change material sourcing. For prefabrication, materials for a project can be printed and then transported to the job site, ready for use immediately. This can allow you to get materials faster and streamline the process by removing extra steps in the middle.
According to the U.K. Green Building Council, around 15% of materials delivered to construction sites end up in landfills, and the American Institute of Architects believe that building-related waste makes up between 25% to 40% of America’s solid-waste stream, reports Fortune. With 3D printing it will even be possible to print materials right on site, reducing waste and further saving on transportation and storage costs.
One of the current challenges with adoption of this technology is limitations with mass production. Although some 3D printers can produce on a larger scale, they are expensive.
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A big thank you to Nick Myers @RedFox AI for his contributions to this article. www.redfox-ai.com