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How is Technology Changing in Construction Work?

by Louise W. Rice
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The UK Government’s ban on the use of red diesel within the construction industry came into effect on April 1. Essentially, the red diesel ban means that power costs will increase, and construction companies will no longer be able to use red diesel and rebated biofuels, such as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), to power plant machinery, generators, or construction equipment on site. This move has had a major impact on the construction industry, including builders, tradespeople, and anyone in charge of a self-build project.

Next, this article will discuss what changes the ban has brought to technology in construction work.

Advanced building materials

Many industry associations, including the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) and Hire Association Europe, have criticized the Government for failing to listen to the construction industry. But, there are environmental benefits to the new ruling.

Increasing the fuel tax that construction professionals must pay is designed to make the construction industry think of the emissions it produces. It’s hoped that it will encourage people to use cleaner and alternative fuel sources. It’s good news for the environment, but construction and plant and machinery hire are being hit hard by the change.

However, whilst the industry is rightly concerned about the now rising costs, and fuel price increases, there is a myriad of new technologies that are being used by the construction industry and plant and machinery hire businesses that can increase efficiencies, raise productivity, and make construction safer. In this blog, we discuss what the top technologies being used in the construction and plant and machinery hire industry and how technology is changing in construction work.

Some of the latest technological innovations in construction are designed to improve construction worker safety, construction project management, and green building. Building information modeling is increasingly being used to make the construction lifecycle more transparent and advanced building materials are ensuring that modern construction is more sustainable.

Embracing digital technology

As more and more construction companies, and even plant and machinery hire businesses, invest in technology, there’s a clear trend – digitization and supply chain control are growing. In turn, the adoption of digitization is increasing efficiency and improving processes. That’s the benefit of cutting-edge tech and real-time data; it can transform a business, change a working environment, and indeed a sector.

Research by MIT SMR states that companies that embrace tech outperform the competition by as much as 48 percent (on revenue and valuation), and by 15 percent on net margin. So the argument for digitization and adopting construction technology is bolstered by positive evidence.

Construction is incredibly labor-intensive and includes time-consuming and repetitive tasks. These could be done quickly through the use of automation and construction robots. But could you imagine your construction site with bricks being laid by a robot, or welding is carried out by a robot too? The thought is that robots increase construction worker safety, reduce the time it takes to carry out certain tasks, and reduce human error.

Using artificial intelligence

Companies such as Canvas have developed robots using artificial intelligence capable of drywalling with precision and artistry. Likewise, Built Robotics recently raised $64 million in funding to further ramp up production of its products that autonomously operate construction equipment and put robots in the hands of contractors.

Built Robotics’ Exosystem can be installed on an excavator, essentially turning an excavator into a fully-functioning autonomous trenching robot. The system has been designed to be compatible with mid-size excavators from all leading manufacturers, transforming construction work. Such artificial intelligence developments will change the construction market and landscape and eventually revolutionize the plant and machinery hire market. For example, you could hire a digger, construction site equipment, or an excavator but you wouldn’t need as many skilled construction professionals to operate the machinery.

Artificial intelligence enables problem-solving without human input and machine learning means that any tech can learn from big data analysis and past experiences. It is believed that artificial intelligence and machine learning will have a big impact on construction and plant and machinery hire. The tech has the ability to impact productivity, performance, and safety. For example, machine learning has the power to identify inefficiencies and can analyze old photos before suggesting and proposing alternative designs and more effective timeframes and build schedules. It’s developing technology and one that will be used in construction more and more.

3D printing technology

Technology is also revolutionizing off-site construction. Indeed, it is an emerging construction trend, with many construction companies choosing to have buildings designed, manufactured, and fabricated off-site. Offsite construction, which is increasingly composed of 3D printing technology and advanced building materials, produces less waste and takes up less space on a construction site. Offsite construction – incorporating modular construction – also reduces risk, improves worker safety, and increases consistency. And because off-site construction happens when a construction site is being prepared, a building project using modular construction methods could take half the time of a traditional building project.

In summary

We are certain that construction technology will continue to grow in popularity and that it is only a matter of time before plant and machinery hire, for example, is transformed even further. The adoption of construction technology will accelerate, boosting safety and productivity for the benefit of an entire industry.

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