Digitalization in the construction sector. What are the most promising technological tools?
The digitalization of construction will provide this sector with a strategic advantage through innovation and immediacy. Today’s technology goes far beyond digitalizing plans and documents.
The new digital technologies applied in the construction sector enable real-time monitoring of the different phases of a project and, at the same time, prevent setbacks. They also improve internal communication and facilitate collaboration between the different actors involved in the projects (contractors, developers, designers, etc.).
Let’s take a look what these technologies include:
Building Information Modeling (BIM) and AR/VR
BIM (Building Information Modeling) is a technology that has taken over in recent years as the successor to CAD software. Not only is BIM used to represent elements or solutions in three dimensions, but also to provide clients with information and data such as the features of materials, costs, and much more in studying their project during the construction and maintenance phase of any building or work in general.
The combination of BIM (Building Information Modeling) with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies has produced a qualitative leap in the monitoring of training, planning, and even preventing occupational hazards for construction projects.
A digital twin produces a digital representation of a physical object. In construction, it enables an exact digital replica of any project (whether building or civil works).
Digital twins offer a crucial analytical advantage by collecting data from multiple sources and integrating them into a 3D model to provide detailed insight to work teams.
They have the ability to update automatically to reflect changes in the real world and facilitate the flow of information between the office and the work site to avoid assignment problems and keep labor costs under control.
Drones and Autonomous Mobile Laser Scanners
With autonomous mobile laser scanners, robots do their work with almost no human intervention, minimizing risks in more dangerous areas.
In addition, technology solutions such as smart construction webcams, drones, and other reality capturing solutions will be increasingly adopted to provide easy access to construction site data and images to document and optimize project management.
Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of physical devices to the Internet to compile and share data. In the construction sector, IoT is beginning to play an important role and various solutions based on this technology are being developed.
Some ways IoT is being used in construction include:
- Monitoring sites: IoT devices are installed on construction sites to compile real-time data on progress, concrete pressure during the concreting phase, material usage, and energy consumption. This data is sent to a monitoring platform where professionals can access it at any time and make informed decisions.
- Quality control: IoT sensors are installed in concrete during its manufacturing process to assess its quality and strength. This allows professionals to detect quality problems early and take preventive measures, as well as to save costs by optimizing formwork times.
- Safety: IoT devices can be installed on construction sites to improve worker safety. For example, surveillance cameras and motion sensors can be used to detect suspicious activity or to alert workers to potential hazards.
In summary, IoT is having a significant impact on the construction industry and its use is expected to continue to expand in the future.
In short, all these and many new and emerging digital tools will enable companies in the construction sector that are committed to digitalization to have access to organized data from each construction site, to analyze results, and improve decision-making processes.
A company’s digital transformation involves incorporating new technologies in all areas to change the way it operates. According to experts, the objective of digitalization should be to optimize processes and improve productivity.