The global construction equipment industry is valued at approximately $145.5 billion, and it’s come time for them to enter the digital world.
In an industry where practices haven’t experienced any major change in decades, comprehensive online modeling, surveyor drones, and virtual-reality have finally made their way into the picture.
Beyond making processes faster, these digital trends allow for safer, more precise modeling and construction.
The push for more digital tools in construction is being led by big builders and new startups from Australia to Silicon Valley, who all want to help eliminate some of the delays and cost issues that have plagued the industry in the past.
Large projects typically take approximately 20% longer to finish than their schedule states. Not only that, but they are also generally up to 80% over budget.
Despite the big push for digital innovation, the industry lags behind other fields in that respect.
In fact, construction-related research-and-development takes up less than one percent of total revenue, compared with much higher numbers in industries such as automotive and aerospace.
While builders are reluctant to begin using high-end technologies, experts agree that the benefits of new digital technology will greatly outweigh any disadvantages.
Despite the technological encouragement, some companies are walking away from their innovations.
Five years after announcing that it had “cracked the code” on modular construction technology, developer Forest City Ratner is stepping away from the prefab business.
The firm announced earlier this month that its factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard would be sold. The recipient of the factory is a former Forest City executive, Roger Krulak.
The decision followed completion of the construction of the tallest prefabricated steel structure on the globe, which is set to begin housing its first tenants soon.
Mr. Krulak said his company has been speaking with several developers to design and build modular structures around New York.
“Modular is the future of the industry,” he said.
Krulak, like other leaders in construction, is pushing for more digital technology in the industry.
The advances are impressive, as well.
In addition to mapping sites and creating digital blueprints, technology may even be able to help in the actual building process sooner than we may think.
In a constantly evolving technological landscape, the possibilities for the future of the construction industry truly are endless.