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Updated 24 May 2018

Construction is experiencing a technological revolution: Be a part of it

Technological advances are spreading into the construction industry quick and fast. You need to ensure you stay up-to-date and competitive. 

Nicole Crampton , 30 August 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Technology is developing at an accelerated rate, with options like drones, 3D printing and robots available for building use. It’s easy to think that these growing advancements won’t impact the construction industry in South Africa, but many businesses around the world are already using tech to increase productivity and profitability. 

For example, the Freedom Tower in New York City took more than seven years to complete. Last year, The Guardianshowed a video of a 57-story building being built in 19 days in China. If you aren’t keeping pace with the latest technology, your business is going to fall behind the speed of those utilising efficient technologies. 

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“Wherever the new technologies have properly permeated this fragmented industry, the outlook is an almost 20% reduction in total life cycle costs of a project, as well as substantial improvements in completion time, quality and safety,” according to the World Economic Forum.

Here are a few ways technology is revolutionising the construction industry:

1. Drones offer new height capabilities

Automation is speeding up project time and the accuracy of the information collected. Drones can now be deployed to capture detailed, close up images, and send data in real time to computer systems and intelligent machines that can react in real-time to the data received.

“One major benefit is that drone data helps builders perform pre-construction simulations, allowing them to test various hypotheses and designs and lower the risk of error before breaking ground for the first time,” says Mike Kavis says principal architect for Cloud Technology Partners. 

Drones will allow you to safely conduct inspections during the building process too, to ensure adequate soil drainage, worker safety, regulatory compliance, building quality and to record deadline progress.

2. You can print 3D concrete structures 

3D-concrete -structures-

3D printing is also transforming the way complex structures are being built through the actual printing concrete structures at high speed. There are many full buildings that have been 3D printed. “One of the most amazing innovations was from Amsterdam based 3D printing company MX3D,” says Kavis. This video shows an unmanned robot 3D print an entire bridge.

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3. Robots perform automated tasks on a construction site 

Automated robots are being used to construct beams, lay bricks, drill, dig, paint and perform almost any task in building structures. “What is really exciting in this space is the ability to perform construction remotely and unmanned. Innovative companies have built solutions that allow smart robots to work in-sync to construct complex objects faster,” says Kavis. 

To ensure that construction is done correctly (and to spec) you can have a technician keeping a careful eye, but he doesn’t have to be on-site. He can sit at a desk and watch progress over the world over the web. 

4. The benefits of Big Data 

Industry experts expect big data and cloud computing to have an immense impact on the design and management of construction projects. “The cloud offers almost infinite computing power, giving you access to hundreds of thousands of CPUs that engage in parallel processing” says Dominic Thasarathar, a construction industry strategist at Autodesk. This allows you to process more information than ever before, increasing your productivity and competitiveness.

“We’re also starting to see early examples of data mining, big data and predictive analytics open up in construction now, that are really helping to deliver those steep changes in productivity, waste reduction, and the acceleration of schedules.” 


  • Use drones to safely conduct inspections before and during building, to ensure compliance, quality and deadline progress.
  • Print concrete structures at high speeds with 3D printers.
  • Automated robots are being used to construct beams, lay bricks, drill, dig, paint and perform almost any task in building structures.
  • Use the cloud to process more data than ever before increasing your productivity and accelerating your schedule.
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Nicole Crampton

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