Construction stands to gain a lot from technology, not only with more durable and reliable materials but with modern innovations that aim to make everything simpler. The problem is, not everyone knows about them, and if they do, they don’t have access.
Thankfully, there are innovative companies and startups pushing the boundaries to make these more available to more people. What we can do now is to find ways to leverage technology when we construct buildings, making them smarter, more energy-efficient, and more affordable to build.
What are intelligent buildings designed to do? Intelligent buildings, through different tech innovations, are designed to provide a safe, superior environment. They’re cost-efficient, energy-efficient, and easier to maintain. They’re also designed to last longer and have smaller environmental footprints. Some smart buildings examples include structures designed to consume less power for cooling and heating, and those that can generate their own power through photovoltaic glass materials among others.
Buildings today are purpose-built structures that come integrated with sensors reading everything from air quality to the presence of harmful gases.
Here’s a list of ways contractors can leverage technology to construct intelligent buildings.
#1. Successful Application of the Internet
If we are talking about ways contractors can leverage technology to build smarter structures, it’s impossible not to mention the internet in general. This is where the transformation of the industry started and has helped many people push the boundaries in design, construction, materials, and monitoring. It has continued to spur many of the industry’s innovations.
Smart buildings offer a digitally-enhanced experience spanning offices, residential spaces, government quarters, and public utility spaces. Driving new collaborations among residents and employees alike, explore how connected spaces are delivering on maximum efficiency of structures.
With the internet, we saw the rise of technologies like GPS, laser-based surveying, laser-guided excavation, and more. Construction management software, with the aim of making every process efficient and streamlined, are mostly online-based solutions.
Manual activities can be automated when they’re moved online, so there’s less room for error, and you’ll be able to use your resources—time, money, and manpower, more wisely.
The internet also helps manage risks through solutions that you can use to intelligently design and analyze structures before actual work begins. Engineers, contractors, and all the boots on the ground can pinpoint risky areas, reducing the incidence of injuries, improve maintenance, and promote safety in the workplace.
#2. Construction Management Software
If you truly want to leverage technology to construct smarter structures, you need to get proper construction management software. With a highly specialized task management solution, you can boost productivity, keep the project on schedule, and monitor the progress of different teams. Procore rounds up some of the most marvelous buildings ever built to respond to modern architecture demand, with a message to promote smarter construction in an age of innovative technology.
Construction management software covers tasks like budgeting, billing, and time management. It is a solution that easily proves useful for everyone involved in the project – from the ones doing the heavy lifting to those behind the scenes ensuring that everything is running smoothly. It is a software that’s highly adaptable and can match the demands of the industry.
A great application for construction management software is BIM – Building Information Management. This contains all of the solutions that help you create a 3D building plan, and how to execute it on a tight construction schedule. This is an all-encompassing software that you can integrate with other processes. If you’re doing prefab work, the 3D building plan feature of this tool makes everything easier. There will be fewer workers in the Jobsite, thus the overall safety of the project is also enhanced.
#3. CAD – Computer-Aided Design
The first steps of a construction project begin way before groundwork gets laid down. It starts with design, and most of the time, through CAD. Computer-Aided Design is an innovation that fast-tracks building construction and reduces interferences that could delay or even derail a project.
CAD improves procurement and performance systems so that issues that could arise during the construction can be tackled and addressed before any physical work gets done. These issues are errors that could lead to safety risks. It also aims to prevent going off-schedule, or worse, over budget.
Computer-aided design pushed the boundary for construction technology, empowering engineers to go outside their comfort zone and explore more unique designs. These include intelligent buildings, which first started as a concept, but was realized with the help of CAD. CAD systems, with its large storage of civil, structural, and electrical schematics, can help quicken the design and decision-making process of engineers.
#4. Smart Construction Materials
Intelligent design is not enough to create truly intelligent building solutions. What’s also needed are smart materials: better versions of common construction materials that offer more durability, functionality, and more. Many startups are now investing to discover more of these smart materials to create smart buildings, which are more durable, feature-packed, and even more affordable to produce.
Smart materials used today include self-healing concrete, thermal insulation aerogel, photovoltaic glazing, and many more. True, their applications may not be that widespread yet, but they’re already finding a lot of use when applied to modern buildings, modern transportation, and many more.
For example, self-healing concrete can withstand a considerable amount of physical damage. Structures using this innovation can be more resilient, especially in times of natural disasters. When applied to roads or bridges, these can withstand the stresses of the volume of vehicles passing on them on a daily basis. Photovoltaic glazing can be used to enable buildings to generate power from solar energy. This can help reduce their power consumption, as most buildings are covered mostly by the glass in all directions.
#5. AR, VR, and Drones
Augmented reality and virtual reality offers a completely different view of the construction industry. These are intelligent building technology that contractors can really leverage to construct intelligent buildings.
With AR and VR, you can create your building in a computer-generated environment first. You can tour it, check which areas can be problematic in the future, assess the risk of injury, and more. All these, you can accomplish without leaving the comfort of your office.
Drones offer a similar convenience, although this is mostly used when the structure is already built. Contractors can safely inspect what they’re building, no matter how high it gets, without any problems. Drones give you the power of unmanned surveillance, with high-definition video imaging capacity, for future reviews.
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