What will the construction jobsite look like in 2050? Many of you might remember Balfour Beatty made some pretty bold predictions back in 2017, but I am wondering if since that time we have made much progress.

Here is a synopsis of its predictions: The construction site in 2050 will be human-free. Robots will work in teams to build structures. Drones will fly overhead, and the role of the human overseer will be done remotely, as they access 3D and 4D visual data from the machines on-site. At the time, it suggested that the vision might seem far-fetched, but that the technology is coming, with a big driver being the political and economic infrastructure priorities across the world.

This is something we have been saying here at Constructech for years. The only way we can build the complex infrastructure projects, as quickly as they are needed, is with the help of new, emerging technologies. 2050 is only 31 years away—so there is quite a bit of time to perfect the technology. By that time, the younger tech-savvy workforce today will be the leaders—that is, if they choose construction.

We have been seeing quite a bit of technology development in the past year alone, with advances in drones, autonomous equipment, 3D printing, and so much more. We have also been experiencing process change, with a surge in lean and prefab projects. Change is happening, although I am not sure it is happening fast enough.

In many instances, adoption is still low and many are still struggling to truly understand the concept of the IoT (Internet of Things), AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning, and other emerging technologies. In fact, just over a year ago, at our Constructech Technology Day conference, we asked the audience how many knew about the IoT. Very, very few hands went up.

So let’s engage in some discussion. What are your thoughts? Are you seeing heightened levels of adoption of the IoT in construction? Do you believe adoption will continue to grow in the next year? What about the next 10 or even 30? What is your vision of what the construction jobsite will look like then? And, perhaps, more importantly, what do we need to do to get there?

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Laura Black
Laura Blackeditor