While the digital revolution has changed the way we work and build, the Engineering and Construction (E&C) sector has historically been slower to adopt new technologies than other industries. However, given today's factors like stricter environmental requirements, a shortage of labor, and clients who demand cost certainty, the Construction sector needs to evolve. And this crucial transformation will rely heavily on new advances in technology to do so.
Let's face it, technology changes fast. In the late 1980's less than 1% of the world's technology was in digital format. By 2014, that number increased to 99%. Today things shift even more rapidly, while at the same time end users are demanding a better experience.
Ask anyone who's been involved with hiring a construction team and they'll likely say the following:
- It costs more than they thought.
- It takes longer than they expected.
- The quality is less than they anticipated.
If we're to change this perception, we have to embrace new construction technology. Here are just two of the coolest technological advances we're seeing. They deliver not only a better end-user experience, but also benefit general contractors, architects, and designers.
Video Game Software
You read that right - video gaming. New technologies like ICE® software are revolutionizing the industry right now. It's essentially a video game for designers that was created in Calgary, Canada by DIRTT (a pre-fabricated interior construction company) that is helping the world to "build better." Users experience a real-time, interactive exploration of the design, ensuring everyone is on the same page. If a design change is desired, it automatically updates every aspect of that design. Not only does this make the project clear to all stakeholders, it also provides cost certainty, eliminating surprises along the way.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the experience, grab a virtual reality (VR) headset and seamlessly enter into your design/space at any point during your project. Walk around, explore, and make sure it's going to meet your business objectives. Want to change a finish or product(s)? It will happen before your eyes in your VR space.
By now we know everything about virtual reality, right? Think again. Advancements with ICE® are taking VR to a whole new level. It's called mixed reality. Imagine standing in the real world and combining it with the power of virtual reality. This means you'll see your actual physical environment but can also see your 3D design right in front of you. You really have to see it to believe it! Watch below.
3D printing is revolutionizing many industries, but perhaps none more so than those of architecture and construction. 3D printing technologies are literally changing the way we interact and translate ideas into tangible objects. Obviously, that's a key ingredient in the worlds of architecture and construction. So much so that you're likely to find a 3D printer in many architecture studios these days.
The world we live in (and the way we build things) is changing. In fact, did you know it's possible to print a treehouse? How long will it be until we're printing buildings and houses? It might seem like a stretch, but these advancements are already underway and exist. There are a variety of experiments currently out there around the world like these 3D printed concrete houses in China, a fully functioning office in Dubai, and a low-income contour crafted building in California.
Who would have thought that video games or 3D printers would have such an impending impact on construction? If the industry embraces these technologies, we're going to start seeing faster, cleaner construction projects that provide cost certainty and flexibility. We're already starting to see this and how quickly it's coming to market. Just imagine what the world of construction will look like in 30 years!