Construction is traditionally viewed as an industry that relies more on physical rather than digital skills. But the reality is very different, with building firms keen to embrace the latest technologies…

When you think of construction, what might pop into your head are scaffolding, bricklaying and toolboxes. But if you look beyond these stereotypes and you’ll soon discover a forward-thinking industry that is thirsty for cutting-edge technologies and has a strong appetite for innovation.

While physical skills remain fundamental to the industry’s success, a wide range of progressive career routes are available – covering everything from CAD modelling which uses computer software to design buildings, through to structural engineering and IT support analysis.

Check out some of the ways construction is moving with the times by welcoming new technologies…

Joining the BIM revolution

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been one of the keys to the construction industry’s success over recent years. In a bid to make projects as efficient as possible, BIM allows buildings and infrastructure to bedesigned with the help of interactive digital models, rather than more traditional paper blueprints.

BIM now plays a vital part in the British Government’s construction strategy, with the goal of applying the right information at the right time throughout a building’s design, development and operation. By pooling different pieces of information together in one place, it ultimately allows for closer collaboration between contractors and clients. You can check out more about what BIM is on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) website.

Boosting health and safety

Effective health and safety practices are vital in any industry, but none more so than construction. Given the hands-on nature of many building projects, site workers must be carefully protected at all times.

The good news is that emerging technologies are helping to enhance health and safety, from responsive clothing that adapts to changing environmental conditions through to apps which allow faults to be reported quickly. Some firms have even started to use ‘smart’ helmets – with the wearer able to view a range of data about their environment on the move, along with information about potential dangers.

Using drones to improve surveying

Building firms are increasingly turning to drone technology in an effort to enhance worker safety, lower costs and improve the quality of their land surveys.

Drones can assess patches of land more quickly than human surveyors, while the data they send back can be analysed as soon as it comes in. They can help contractors to track the progress of a site from the surveying stage through to final construction. What’s more, these tools can address safety risks and enhance security by keeping a close eye on construction sites.

Making the move towards new materials

Finally, technological innovations are reshaping the physical materials used in global construction projects. In the renewable energy sector, for instance, 3D printing has led to a rethink in how things like wind turbine blades are developed. Carbon fibre has additionally given developers new avenues to explore.

Elsewhere, studies continue to look into future innovations such as self-healing concrete, which would have the ability to repair itself without the need for human intervention.

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