The construction industry is undergoing a significant transformation thanks to new technologies.
From 3D modeling to artificial intelligence, this article explores the innovations that are reshaping the construction sector.
Digital Reality Capture: Tools and Tangible Benefits for Construction
Digital reality capture, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), laser scanning, photogrammetry, and other technologies, has become an essential pillar in the construction industry.
Virtual Reality (VR): VR provides a 3D simulated environment of buildings, facilitating planning and site visits. It also contributes to preventive maintenance by simulating complex or dangerous scenarios.
Augmented Reality (AR): AR enables real-time visualization of hidden elements on a construction site, such as electrical cables or pipes, reducing errors. Its effectiveness was demonstrated by the Tractebel (Engie) team, which quickly identified a misalignment in the positioning of supports.
Laser Scanning and Photogrammetry: These techniques create accurate 3D models of existing structures, essential for renovation projects. They promote early conflict detection and enhance on-site safety.
Thanks to these technologies, digital reality capture ensures greater precision, safety, and efficiency in construction, both for new projects and renovations.
BIM: Beyond Simple Modeling
Building Information Modeling (BIM) transcends the concept of simple 3D modeling in construction. Every component of a building in a BIM model is enriched with precise information, ranging from materials to costs and energy performance.
This dynamic approach ensures that any modification to an element is instantly reflected throughout the entire model.
Due to its real-time nature, BIM facilitates the simultaneous collaboration of project stakeholders, providing improved coordination and increased efficiency. Ultimately, BIM is not just a trend; it represents a profound transformation in construction, combining precision and transparency.
According to a study by McGraw Hill, 83% of experienced BIM users reported a positive return on investment, while 93% believed in the potential value of this technology. These results highlight the positive impact and promising potential of BIM in the construction industry.
Product Data Management and Digitalization: A Strategic Priority for Manufacturers
In the heart of the construction sector, product data management is of paramount importance. This encompasses all detailed technical information related to each component of a construction. Accurate and high-quality dissemination of this data is crucial for several reasons:
Detailed Technical Information: Distributors and BIM partners rely on this data to ensure optimal product integration into their projects. Reliable and complete information minimizes errors and optimizes the design process.
Visibility and Accessibility: By digitalizing this data on platforms like bimandco.com, manufacturers ensure that their products are not only visible but also accurately represented.
Streamlined Collaboration: Well-managed product data facilitates communication among all project stakeholders, from manufacturers to architects to engineers.
For a manufacturer, rigorous product data management is not just an advantage but a strategic imperative. Ensuring the quality and accuracy of this information establishes manufacturers as indispensable players in an ever-evolving construction industry.
Read our dedicated blog article: BIM for Manufacturers
Artificial Intelligence in Construction: Practical Tools and Benefits
AI has become an essential tool in construction. Instead of simple automated tasks, it quickly analyzes vast amounts of data to improve projects.
Failure Prevention: By scrutinizing maintenance data, AI identifies infrastructure weaknesses to prevent accidents.
Supply Chain Optimization: AI helps with better planning, cost estimation, and resource management.
Site Monitoring: Drones equipped with AI monitor construction zones, detecting hazards and reducing risks.
Informed Decision-Making: AI provides immediate analyses for optimal resource utilization and increased productivity.
Joel Simon, a researcher in the United States, used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to optimize the fire escape route in a school. Using measurements of the original space, his AI-integrated software produced proposals to optimize the space and equipment or improve escape routes in case of a fire.
Connected Objects and Assistance Equipment
Connected objects, or the Internet of Things (IoT), are rapidly infiltrating the construction industry, providing a new dimension of monitoring and efficiency. They are not just gadgets; they are fundamental tools for process optimization.
Real-time Monitoring: Sensors, drones, and other devices transmit real-time data, allowing teams to track site progress, measure environmental conditions, or monitor equipment status.
Predictive Maintenance: By analyzing collected data, equipment failures can be anticipated, reducing unexpected downtime and extending equipment life.
Safety: Sensors can detect abnormal movements or potentially hazardous conditions, instantly alerting on-site teams.
Resource Optimization: With a better overview of operations, managers can reallocate resources where they are most needed, reducing costs and delays.
The integration of connected objects in the construction industry is not just a trend; it is a natural evolution toward a more responsive, efficient, and future-oriented industry.
Researchers and engineers are tirelessly working to develop materials that are more durable, resilient, and environmentally friendly.
Materials such as fiber-reinforced concrete, polymer-based composites, bio-sourced materials, and smart coatings are among the most promising advancements. These materials offer improved properties, ranging from weather resistance to impact resistance, all while reducing the carbon footprint of construction projects.
For example, bio’bric products (wall bricks, partitions, and smoke ducts) are naturally insulating, prevent mold development, and ensure good air quality and maximum comfort, even in humid areas. Bio’bric products are available in BIM format on the bimandco.com platform.
A concrete example highlights the efficiency of augmented reality in construction site monitoring. During an initial on-site test, a Tractebel (Engie) team observed an approximately 15 cm misalignment on the same side of all equipment supports. Initially, they thought it was an alignment issue with their model. However, thanks to augmented reality, the site manager quickly realized that the measurements for the support positioning had not been taken from the correct reference.
This early detection of the problem allowed for immediate correction, thereby avoiding delays and additional costs. Whenever Augmented Reality is used for the first time on a project, it quickly and effectively identifies a multitude of issues, demonstrating its potential to improve project productivity and quality.
Conclusion: The Construction Industry and Technological Decisions
The technological landscape of the construction industry is expanding rapidly: BIM, augmented reality, innovative materials, and many other innovations are on the horizon.
Each company is now at a crossroads: whether to integrate these new trends into its operations or not.
The question of return on investment (ROI) arises. For some, the adoption of these technologies has brought added value, while others have not yet seen tangible benefits. It is imperative to carefully evaluate each technology based on its specificities and operational needs.
Beyond simple ROI, the entire question of the future position in the industry is at stake. Will we be pioneers, followers, or resistors?
Every player in the construction industry must ponder, weigh the pros and cons, and decide on the path to take. These choices inevitably influence the face of the construction industry of tomorrow.