Technological advancements touch almost every aspect of our lives, and the construction industry is no exception. Just like other businesses, construction firms must continue to innovate to stay ahead of the competition.
While some construction companies try to operate using the same ‘tried and true’ methods, the construction industry is sure to change as Millennial, and Gen Z workers replace the Baby Boomers. People in these age demographics have grown up using technology and will continue to push boundaries. Consumers will apply additional pressure, as they will expect new technologies in construction projects.
While the construction industry has traditionally lagged behind other industries with the technology, recently, this sector has become more responsive to new tools and techniques to improve quality, efficiency, health, and safety.
New technologies can improve worker safety
GPS, WiFi, and RFID software on construction sites can enhance worker safety by allowing project managers to keep track of where employees are and provide notification if a worker is injured. Construction project managers can train workers to anticipate and avoid potential hazards by using virtual reality and augmented reality systems. While innovations in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are also transforming the way, workers do their jobs and will help keep people safe. Smart clothing can be programmed to heat and cool a worker on-site, while color-changing gloves can be used to alert a worker who has been exposed to a toxic substance.
New project management technologies offer analytics on-the-go
Project management software makes it possible for construction project managers to monitor the progress of multiple projects without traveling to a construction site. Workers can communicate with each other to provide progress updates and share digital pictures and virtual inspections with each other and the home office.
Once the information is uploaded, the project management software offers real-time updates. And because most of this software is cloud-based, almost everyone has access to data in real-time. Workers on the ground can connect with management and have instant access to documents, plans, reports, punch lists, and more.
Construction sites are becoming increasingly digitized, with drones capturing images of a construction project that are then transferred to 2D, 3D, and 4D data profiles that can be used to make changes or obtain critical insights about a project.
Because new technologies are data-heavy, human analysts cannot efficiently process the vast amounts of data that are being generated about a given construction project. Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms are being used to process generated data to improve efficiency and safety and to plan for anticipated problems proactively.
This makes it easier for project managers to track project costs and operate using a more streamlined and less fragmented management model.
Devices and systems can improve efficiency
New devices and equipment are making construction management more efficient. Technology is changing the way the construction industry operates through the use of 3D printing, drones, augmented and virtual reality systems, cloud-based management systems, modular and prefabricated construction techniques, and wearables.
Below are some of the new technologies that are advancing the construction industry.
3D printing helps construction companies’ lower costs, build more sustainably, and create more complex and flexible designs. The full impact that this new technology will have on the construction industry has yet to be recognized, but the market for 3D printing is projected to grow by more than 300%.
Drones are being used to monitor construction sites and assist in building inspections. The use of this new technology makes it possible to get an overview of an entire project in a matter of hours, as opposed to the days it used to take to survey a construction site. Drones also allow people to observe construction projects from viewpoints to eliminate the need to expose workers to hazardous environments.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions allow project managers to identify potential problems and make corrections earlier. AR and VR systems can be used at all phases of a building’s life cycle, including design, construction, maintenance, and renovations. These tools can display information about equipment, warn of nearby risks, and be used to facilitate discussions with clients who will be able to visualize a result before the project is completed.
The complexities of new construction technology generate enormous amounts of data that must be processed and stored. Construction companies can pay a fee to use cloud-based IT infrastructures as a service, rather than paying for their own data centers. Cloud-based solutions also make it easier for project managers to access project information remotely while maintaining data security.
Modular and prefabricated construction
Assembling components of a project off-site allows project managers to manage better variables like weather, waste, and other factors that can negatively impact the fabrication process. Modular and prefabrication construction enables construction companies to ensure higher quality and faster production times. When there is a financial reward for completing a project early, modular and prefabrication construction techniques can be used to get a project done more efficiently and at a lower cost.
Wearables and other tracking tools
Project managers can use GPS, WiFi, and RFID technology to track the locations of tools, which can result in substantial cost savings. Smart safety glasses embedded with a camera allow workers to use images to take measurements, make adjustments, and send changes back to the office for review. Smart headsets give workers instant access to project materials like user manuals, project updates, and safety warnings in real-time.
Protecting your business during transitions to new technologies
Construction companies need to protect themselves, and McGowan Excess & Casualty is here to help your business in the event of a loss. While we do not offer coverage for some aspects of “construction-related technology” (e.g., drone coverage, AI technology, E&O coverage for design work), our underwriters and carriers certainly take into consideration all of the positive ways a prospective construction industry customer uses such technology to improve their business practices.
We have deep roots in the insurance industry and offer customized, innovative solutions to a wide range of commercial customers. Our experienced underwriters are experts in their respective fields and underwrite policies, including:
- Umbrella / Excess In-House Binding Authority Programs
- Casualty Brokerage
- General Liability & Package Binding
- Specialty Insurance including Accident & Health
We invite you to learn more about McGowan Excess & Casualty and our Umbrella & Excess Liability Insurance coverage and to contact us today to speak to one of our qualified brokers about how we can help.