The construction industry has experienced a remarkable transformation thanks to cutting-edge technology innovations. Advancements in technology have not only streamlined the construction process but also improved efficiency, safety, and sustainability.
The challenges facing the construction industry in 2024 are similar to those confronted by other businesses, including inflation, labor shortages, supply chain disruption, rising costs, and high interest rates. According to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, 91% of contractors reported having trouble filling positions. The prices of some materials, such as lumber, have decreased. But others, such as concrete products, are 14.8% higher than last year, and the cost of machinery has increased by 12.2%, promoting an increase in machinery rentals.
“As an industry, construction is an essential part of the economy, and historically, we have endured even under the most challenging circumstances. We have staying power,” explained James LaRosa, CEO of LaRosa Groups.
The staying power is a direct result of taking a proactive approach to the industry challenges. Keeping current with issues and trends allows us to create contingency plans for supply delays, generate strategies to attract and retain good workers, and anticipate rising costs in your projections.
The 7 Most Current Technology Trends in the Construction Industry
Here are some of the most current technological trends we are seeing in the construction industry. Some we have been using for a while, some are more appropriate for building single residential housing, some we outsource, and others are still under future consideration.
AI and Automation
Emerging technologies like AI and automation help construction firms create efficiencies to do more with reduced staff and allow less room for error. These groundbreaking developments in construction technology are reshaping the industry and paving the way for a more sophisticated and sustainable future.
“We are receiving more owner requests to install automated lighting sensors, which sense human occupancy, and heating and cooling sensors that activate shades to keep the buildings energy-efficient long-term,” explained James LaRosa.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is not considered new. However, it has only recently been more widely adopted due to lower cost and easier accessibility by a wide range of users. BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building or infrastructure, providing a collaborative platform for architects, engineers, and construction professionals. This technology enhances communication, reduces errors, and improves project coordination by enabling stakeholders to visualize the entire project in a 3D model before construction begins.
“Designing a building in 3D is more advanced, and the AI behind it is solid. For example, in a recent LaRosa construction project, we pulled the BIM into the estimating software to accurately count the number of doors we needed to purchase. We also use it to help resolve conflict resolution in the design. Every day, we find more uses for it,” added James LaRosa.
Drones and Aerial Imaging
Drones have become indispensable tools in construction, offering a unique perspective on project sites. Aerial imaging allows for efficient surveying, mapping, and monitoring of construction sites, providing real-time data to project managers. Drones can also be used for safety inspections, reducing the need for workers to access hazardous areas. The result is improved project efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced safety protocols.
“Drones are one of the technologies we have successfully outsourced. We frequently use outside companies to take aerial photos of our construction sites or use a drone video to see the progression of the project,” James LaRosa commented.
3D Printing in Construction
Though it is not feasible for our large-scale construction projects, the emergence of 3D printing technology has revolutionized the construction of residential housing. The benefits are numerous; 3D printers can create intricate and customized building components, reducing construction time and waste. This technology is not only cost-effective but also allows for the creation of complex and architecturally innovative designs that would be challenging using traditional construction methods.
Robotics and Automation
Integrating robotics and automation in construction streamlines various tasks, from bricklaying to concrete pouring. Robotic technologies enhance precision and speed, ultimately reducing labor costs and project timelines. Autonomous vehicles and drones are used for material transportation on construction sites, improving logistics, and reducing manual labor requirements.
Bulldozer GPS Technology
“Bulldozers have always been a mainstay in the construction industry. But the integration of the GPS technology has been a game changer at LaRosa,” explained James LaRosa.
Bulldozer GPS technology utilizes signals from Global Positioning Systems to accurately control and guide bulldozer movements on our construction sites. The GPS systems are integrated into the machinery, providing real-time location information, navigation assistance, and data collection capabilities. The receivers on the bulldozer constantly communicate with satellites. This information is fed into the system's software, enabling operators to see their exact location on the digital terrain model without having to send someone out to manually survey the land, a proactive way to deal with labor shortage.
In addition, using bulldozer GPS technology has improved the accuracy and precision of grading and earthmoving tasks because you are not relying on human expertise and experience. The technology allows operators to achieve consistent precise cut and fill levels, reducing material wastage and ensuring project specifications are met with higher adherence.
“Sustainability has always been a guiding force for LaRosa. A perfect example is the use of mass timber instead of concrete and steel in the addition to the CCSU Elihu Burritt Library. But our goal is to take sustainability to the next level in 2024,” James LaRosa said.
Sustainability in the construction industry refers to designing, constructing, and operating buildings and infrastructure to minimize their environmental impact, maximize resource efficiency, and promote long-term economic and social benefits.
Innovation in construction extends beyond processes and into materials. Sustainable construction materials, such as recycled steel, bamboo, and engineered wood products, are gaining popularity. Additionally, advancements in concrete technology, like self-healing concrete and carbon-neutral alternatives, contribute to reducing the environmental impact of construction projects.
The construction industry is experiencing a technological renaissance, with innovation driving efficiency, sustainability, and safety. From BIM to 3D printing and Bulldozer GPS, these advancements are transforming how we design and build structures to be more energy efficient, mitigate climate change, and meet the challenge of resource and labor shortages. Embracing these technologies enhances project outcomes and compliance with environmental regulations and positions the construction industry at the forefront of the global drive toward contributing to a healthier planet and a new era of excellence.
LaRosa Building Group is a leader in the construction industry with a special focus on meeting passive house specifications, building highly efficient green buildings, and integrating the latest technology. Our ultimate goal is to streamline the construction process and improve efficiency, safety, and sustainability while meeting and exceeding owner expectations and local and state ordinances.