New Products: From BIM to Apps

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.


Connected Cities, Transportation

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.


Utilities and States Get Serious on Climate

California, New York, and various utility companies are getting serious about climate change and the environment. At the end of 2019, the California Energy Commission released two grant funding opportunities in the rollout of hydrogen fueling infrastructure and fuel cell electric passenger cars, potentially key to stimulating renewable hydrogen production in California. Meanwhile, in New York the state is transitioning away from fossil fuels and the largest utility, Con Edison, is helping customers in the portion of Westchester County where there is a moratorium on new gas connections. 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.


Monitoring Concrete Curing with IoT

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.


Steady Growth in Commercial and Residential Building

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.


Climate Change and Construction

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 and Electronic Trucks

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.


Insurance Partnerships

Insurance companies become more important to contractors through partnerships. For example, National General Insurance Group (NatGen), providing expertise in high-net-worth insurance underwriting and claims, formed a partnership with CORE Group. CORE Group is a network of repair experts serving the same market This alliance gives NatGen Premier policyholders access to CORE’s restoration service providers should their home suffer property damage of any kind. CORE contractors meet the industry standards needed to perform the work, and are experienced, insured and fully vetted.