As we embark upon 2018 we find ourselves not only reflecting on past accomplishments but also looking to future goals for the upcoming year. Construction is a fast moving and ever changing industry which requires a real commitment to keep apprised of the latest trends and developments.
So what can we expect in 2018? Although there are a variety of opinions concerning expected trends one in particular is the increased use of technology. Construction is not an industry known for being at the technological forefront. But with heightened competition and pressure to efficiently and cost effectively deliver projects, certain technological advances are surely to increase in popularity including the continued use of BIM, project management software, virtual and augmented reality and of course, drones.
Building Information Model
BIM is not new to construction but its continued use and popularity is posed to increase in 2018. The industry continues to realize the benefits of collaboration, cost and project management provided by the use of BIM on projects. In addition, other technological advances such as virtual and augmented reality and drones are being used alongside BIM to further increase its utility and value.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual and augmented reality are no longer a thing of the future. Both, which are often used with BIM, are becoming a much more common tool in construction. Virtual reality allows one to participate in a virtual walk through of the project and engage and interact with the design in a far more in depth way than tools such as BIM and 3D CAD drawings. This permits increased collaboration and communication. Virtual reality is also being used for training (i.e. simulate the performance of complex procedures, emergency safety and the operation of heavy machinery) creating further efficiencies and safety on the project.
Augmented reality enhances what the project stakeholder sees by superimposing a computer generated image, such as BIM, onto the user’s view of the real world. This allows one to identify a MEP conflict earlier and make faster more informed decisions regarding coordination and change orders.
Project Management Software
With endless data storage now available through the cloud, project management software allows one to gather and analyze vast amounts of project data to identify and reduce waste and inefficiencies. The benefits of project manager software are primarily: efficiency, transparency and accountability as it allows real-time communication, project overview, trackability and integrations with other software.
Last year the industry saw the widespread introduction of drone technology. As drones are being used on more projects and the benefits further realized, we can expect a continued and increased presence of drones on construction projects in 2018.
Each of the above technological advances has the potential to provide vast improvements to the industry. It will be interesting to watch these trends unfold in the coming year. Here is to a happy, healthy and productive 2018!