Today, construction companies can tap into an arsenal of tools and technologies to help perform work in a way that is productive and safe. Technology companies continue to come to market with new products aimed at improving business processes. Here’s a closer look at some of the new products and platforms on the market today. Modeling Moves Forward BIM (building information modeling) continues to advances, offering construction professionals the ability to use technology to improve business processes. One area in particular that is seeing an infusion of new capabilities is 4D modeling.
From March 10-14, manufacturers and construction professionals gathered at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 to learn about the latest in equipment. Multiple construction and construction materials industry segments were represented. Here’s what you might have missed.
As cities become more connected, construction companies will need to be aware of how transportation systems are evolving, requiring future municipalities to be built. This is where robotics and autonomous vehicles enter the equation, and offers big opportunities for cities. Technavio says the autonomous bus market, as an example, will grow by 2364 units during 2020 and 2024, which is a growth rate of 32%. At the end of last year, IDTechEx also predicted that that the robotaxi services will become a $2.5 trillion market by 2040. Further, if you were at CES earlier this year, then you know intelligent transportation systems and autonomous vehicles were big trends at the show and it is a topic that has been covered in depth over on Constructech TV.
For many construction companies, interoperability is a chief objective. By putting data in the hands of those who need it—on mobile devices, tablets, or desktops—teams can streamline project workflows. The good news is technology providers are offering solutions to address this need. Consider the example of AGTEK, which delivers on its slogan of providing “Dirt Simple Solutions.” The company offers tools to accurately takeoff and estimate construction quantities, model construction processes, and measure progress throughout the construction lifecycle. Matt Desmond, president, AGTEK, says, “We try and empower the people on the ground. And then to empower those people—they’re desktop users—we try and get all of our software in a simplified version out to them on mobile apps.” For example, SmartPlan takes plans to the field and documents site conditions and determines material quantities, while SmartDirt calculates dirt volumes in the field, and SmartTrack identifies where machines are working in realtime.
No matter how large your fleet of vehicles, maintenance and repair costs are a major part of the investment. Construction fleets are often composed of trucks of various sizes and motorized equipment ranging from small skid loaders to significant cranes and dozers. That variety poses problems in inventory of maintenance and repair parts and knowledge of operation needed to do the services. Is the answer to outsource the care and feeding of your equipment or bring it all in-house? As technology advances, both onboard and used for diagnosing problems, technical know-how supersedes mechanical experience as a qualification for service personnel. And as many construction companies know, skilled workers are harder to find in all disciplines. A report from IMR, Inc. on the top challenges faced by independent repair shops and technicians point to similar problems in-house operations face.
Today, smart construction companies and corporate owners are seeking technology partners to create a connected construction project that is environmentally aware, friendly, and lean—and there are three big ways lean design and construction can help enhance value on projects. 1. Save time, 2. Minimize waste, 3. Enhance human potential. It comes down to having a “Smart Recipe for Deploying Successful Construction Technology,” and that means recognzing that it is about choosing the right technologies, defining and excuting a deployment plan, and selecting the right partner.
To capture data, AOMS Technologies, Toronto, Canada, developed sensors that can transmit wirelessly, in realtime, even while buried in the concrete with the help of MultiTech Conduit. In today’s ever-changing environment, building a strong concrete foundation requires monitoring everything about the material. Elements such as the concrete’s temperature, strength, relative humidity and evaporation rate all require consistent tracking and monitoring to make it right. The latest approach is to use embedded sensors, constantly monitoring the necessary parameters and sending the data via wireless technology to cellphones and tablets used by the construction crew.
A report points to U.S. and Canada commercial and residential construction continues to grow through 2023. Research and Market’s Global Construction Industry Data Book Series predicts a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) 6.5% to reach $10,835.6 billion by 2023. For comparison, the residential construction industry, in value terms, increased at a CAGR of 6.1% during 2014-2018. The commercial building construction market is expected to record a CAGR of 8% during the period between 2014-2023. Infrastructure construction was estimated to be $2,366.4 billion in 2018, posting a CAGR of 3.9% during the review period.
After the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, news about what other signatories are doing to mitigate the impact of construction on the environment has been sporadic at best. A recent series of actions by one EU (European Union) construction firms, VINCI of France, shows how the Continent is responding. For VINCI, 2019 was devoted to identifying actions to improve the Group's environmental performance in three areas: greenhouse gas emissions, resource preservation, and conservation of natural environments. The various divisions and operating companies determined to reach carbon neutrality in 2050, with a first milestone of a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 (compared to 2018).
Electric trucks are both here and coming. Companies devoted to the truck-side of EV (electric vehicle) development are proliferating while their designs are more and more advanced, both from an engineering and aesthetic point of view. From compact urban to huge over-the-road semi tractors, EVs will soon show up on jobsites around the world, as delivery vehicles or worker’s transportation. The medium and heavy-duty truck market is evolving. In the face of tightening CO2 emission legislation for new trucks and increasing pressure to limit people's exposure to hazardous air pollutants in city centers, a much cleaner source of power is required in the future. According to a report from IDTechEx, The future is either battery-electric or fuel cell electric vehicles.