How is construction adapting for the future?
The construction industry always adapts to the changing needs of society, the advancement in technology and new processes, from making eco-friendly materials to sustainability. This is just one of the many reasons it is such a great industry to work in – something is always fresh and new.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways the construction industry is adapting for the future, and some of the roles and career paths available if you’re looking to get into a career in construction.
The future of construction
Construction is no doubt influenced by demand for more sustainable and technologically advanced projects, but it also helps to shape these demands with new manufacturing processes, exciting tech and people already working in the industry using experience to improve projects for the future.
Construction in a virtual world
A virtual world in construction terms means things like 3D modelling and printing, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) being used to plan and design construction projects.
For example, using new technology and software, a detailed virtual model of a construction project can be produced, sometimes even placing the user directly inside the virtual environment, for full immersion into the space.
Creating a 3D miniature model of a construction site can be a complex physical process requiring space, time and materials. The construction industry can now take advantage of numerous methods to create a VR model of a site, making it possible to generate a detailed, accurate model more quickly and cheaply, but also making it easier to share those models across teams.
VR gives teams the ability to ‘see’ a project site without traveling to it, saving time and money. Teams can collaborate and ask questions about or make changes to the design without it requiring a physical rebuild as it would with a real 3D model.
Advanced manufacturing processes
Traditional manufacturing refers to the process of converting raw materials into a finished, ready-to-sell product using manual and/or mechanical techniques. Advanced manufacturing typically involves manufacturing processes that use advanced techniques and equipment, for example factories that use robotics or computer software to make tools or building materials instead of manual labour.
Manufacturing companies producing products using advanced manufacturing should embrace the following characteristics:
Products produced using advanced manufacturing techniques often have a high level of design or are considered ‘cutting edge’, meaning they are unlike previous products or superior to them. Companies that embrace advanced manufacturing often report producing newer, better and more exciting products for construction purposes.
The construction industry is working hard to improve sustainability at every step of a project. Here are just some of the technologies being used to do that:
To avoid materials ending up in a landfill, projects are sourcing readily biodegradable materials like sustainably sourced bamboo, timber, mycelium (a kind of fungus) and organic paints. These all breakdown easily, without releasing toxins, reducing their impact on the environment.
Buildings are built with architectural solar (a component rather than a typical solar panel) to make sure they can generate enough power to support their energy requirements.
Passive House or Passivhaus was developed in Germany and is widely considered the most advanced form of green construction. It uses no mechanical or electrical devices, using the way the building is designed to manage its energy consumption and ecological footprint.
These technologies involve the re-use and application of efficient water supply systems, including the use of dual plumbing, greywater re-use, rainwater harvesting and water conservation fixtures.
Electronic smart glass
Electronic smart glass shuts out the heat of solar radiation using tiny electric signals to slightly charge the windows, altering the amount of solar radiation it reflects. This glass reduces the heating and cooling load for buildings, therefore also reducing energy consumption.
A sustainable way to insulate the walls in buildings, green insulation uses old and/or used materials such as denim and newspaper.
By fitting buildings with smart appliances, they use less energy and are more efficient. Everything from ovens and fridge freezers to dishwashers and central heating can be developed as ‘smart’ in order to maximise the benefits of this technology in a single project.
Attracting new talent and upskilling
At Go Construct we know how important it is to encourage people into the construction industry – to keep it thriving. We do this by offering expert advice on apprenticeships and dispelling myths about the industry for people who may not have realised that there was a dream job for them in construction.
The industry is also encouraging those already working in it to advance their skills in line with new methods and technology. Known as upskilling, training is available through courses and apprenticeships to learn new skills, or integrate new technologies and software into the role.
Adopting advanced technologies
Digital technologies have been gradually entering the construction industry over the years, changing how infrastructure, real estate and other buildings or projects are designed, constructed, operated, and maintained. From building information modelling (BIM) and prefabrication to wireless sensors and automated/robotic equipment, digital input has streamlined processes, made planning projects more collaborative and increased sustainability.
New technology also creates new job roles for those who wish to work in construction, but without manual labour as a part of their work.
Some predictions for the future of the construction industry
Although impossible to know the future, all of the above adaptations will, no doubt, continue to be combined with or may even replace some traditional construction methods.
The rise of eco-friendly materials
As we work to tackle climate change, more companies will look to use eco-friendly materials. Natural, sustainably sourced materials will reduce energy consumption and waste. Construction businesses like Greenheart are already making excellent use of eco-friendly materials, plus a whole host of other methods to help them build sustainably.
3D printing could change the game for creating complex or bespoke design structures, reducing material and labour costs while also producing less waste. It might also allow for construction to be done in harsh or more dangerous environments not suitable for people to work in or used to reduce accidents.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
VR and AR developments could mean construction projects can be planned more efficiently thanks to designers and consumers being able to ‘see’ the finished project or particularly complex aspects before work has begun. This way, problems can be ironed out before any materials or labour are wasted.
Find out what roles in construction are suitable for tech heads
If you have taken our personality types quiz, you may have come out as a Tech Head. These are people who embrace new and exciting technology, as well as use their expertise in existing software, programmes and developments to benefit their work and help their colleagues. This passion can lead to a number of roles in construction, including all of the following:
Building information modelling manager
Explore a career in construction
Construction is a career like no other, take a look at the stories from real people in the industry to see what’s possible.
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