Digital Construction Technology
Developments in digital construction technology have been extraordinary in recent years, and the fun doesn’t stop here! Product developers around the world are continuing to push the boundaries to create better digital products for the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Here are 5 developments you should expect to see from 2016 onwards.
Drone usage in the UK and around the world has increased massively in recent years! The advances in UAV’s technology is progressing rapidly, this opens new possibilities for work applications on building and construction projects in the UK.
Drones can now come fitted with HD cameras to record high-quality aerial footage of a building or structure. Some drones can even be fitted with laser scanning equipment to capture the exact detail of the topography of building. This makes them perfect for use in construction and projects such as HS2 are beginning to utilise this new digital construction technology on some of their sites.
Virtual Reality in construction is set to take off in 2016, the release of various new VR Headsets and systems sales are expected to revolutionise the way we view and interact with our buildings and 3D models! As the industry continues to develop its 3D BIM skills there are more opportunities to link these computer-generated 3D images with Virtual Reality technology.
Virtual reality will enable end users to navigate and interact with the building before any work actually starts on site, thus speeding up and optimising feedback, enabling better more informed design decisions early in the design process. Enabling a first person view of site progress in real-time from a different location adds a whole different dimension to a site walk around and could potentially be used for health and safety and training purposes.
With the emergence of 3D laser scanning, drones in construction and other construction technology, possibilities for VR will continue to evolve in the construction industry.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is not actually a new concept and has been around for many years, due to the ever-evolving amount of ‘SMART’ devices connecting to the internet every day, the term Internet of Things is becoming increasingly relevant. The Internet of Things is expected to revolutionise the way we go about our lives in years to come.
In the world today, there are more objects connected to the internet than there are people! And other industries are already starting to utilise this technology, the internet of things will soon revolutionise the way we manage our buildings by collecting better more advanced real-time data about our buildings.
Laser scanning is a surveying method which collects large amounts of digital data about a building or structure in its setting. The laser scan creates a point cloud survey which can be converted for use in 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) modelling or Building Information Modelling (BIM) software.
The 3D point cloud and survey data can be used to extract accurate measurements and generate deliverables inside the CAD and BIM software.
The use of drones with laser scanning has become a recognised method of capturing the exact detail of topography, buildings and cityscapes. This technology could possibly be used with 3D printers in the future to manufacture and replace building components, resulting in savings in the storage of spares for maintenance.
3D printing is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, commonly by laying down many thin layers of a material. It has a wide range of uses in many industries and in the construction industry 3D printing can be used to create small complex building components or even to ‘print’ entire buildings.
The recent emergence of BIM (Building Information Modelling) in particular may facilitate greater use of 3D printing as much of the necessary information required for printing will exist as a result of the design process.
3D printing allows for the creation of better more complex construction components which can be developed with a machine. This can produce better more accurate products and building components in a shorter time frame and may even reduce injuries and accidents on site!
Overall we are expected to see many digital construction technology innovations in the coming years, especially due to the advances in BIM usage seen around the globe! Click here for some more detail on emerging technologies!
Author: Martin Watson
Lead Editor at Construct Digital – As lead editor Martin reports on topics specifically relating to BIM, digital software and physical technologies which are revolutionising the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industry.