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2024 Technology Trends in the Construction Industry

2024 Technology Trends in the Construction Industry

ConTech, a broad range of construction technologies permeating the global construction industry, is becoming more expansive and widely adopted every year, with efficiency and safety among the top drivers of advancement.  

Staying current with developments and using the right technologies to your advantage in construction projects and construction management could make a dramatic difference in your business in the months and years ahead.  

Recognizing that technology is key to current and future success, construction industry leaders are expanding their operational ecosystems to include alliances with specialized tech providers, automation partners, and other specialists to stay ahead of the curve.  

We put together some recent tech trends in the construction industry and how they’re revolutionizing the industry in 2024 and beyond, helping to enhance efficiency and safety in unprecedented ways.  

Construction drones   

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), are one of the fastest-growing and most beneficial developments in the global construction industry. Used for efficient aerial surveys, drones gather critical data, conduct mapping, and monitor construction sites in real time.  

According to Drone Industry Insights, when it comes to commercial drone applications, mapping and surveying take center stage. Industries such as construction, mining, and agriculture benefit immensely from the precision and efficiency of drones in capturing geospatial data. In 2023, the publication noted that the drone mapping and surveying market around the world was worth US$10 billion 

And with the ability of drones to fly through inaccessible and hazardous areas to transmit clear visuals and collect real-time data, it’s no surprise that using drones and robotics to advance construction site safety and security is among the top 10  growth opportunities in building construction for 2024.  

This video shows examples of what drones in the construction industry look like in action.  

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)   

Are you ready to give your team and stakeholders a way to view a construction site before it’s built? How about the ability to see the same site after modifications are made to the schematic? Today you can!  

Augmented and virtual reality solutions developed specifically for the construction industry have become the holy grail for construction planners, architects, designers, engineers, developers, contractors, training and safety specialists, and other industry experts. Here’s why.  

Schematics, concept renderings, and blueprints literally come to life through these immersive, interactive technologies. Concepts are designed, modified, and constructed with unmatched simplicity and precision, providing 3D models that incorporate all building data and digitally display buildings within their surroundings. VR employs the same technology as AR but is much more immersive, transporting viewers into a virtual world with hyper-realistic (life-like) 3D simulations.  

AR and VR are game changers for construction companies in collaborating with their teams, contractors, partners, and especially clients, both in person and remotely.  

Check out this video to see how these technologies work and learn about their escalating benefits.  

3D printing and robotics     

The size of the global 3D Printing for Construction market was valued at around $3.5 billion in 2022 and is projected to exceed $523 billion by 2030. This fast-growing market uses large-scale 3D printers to build structures layer by layer, with robotic arms that extrude the layers and assist in construction.  

Whole buildings have been produced off-site in clay or concrete, as well as polymer, concrete, and metal bridges, all resulting in faster construction using fewer resources. A digital model is used as a guide by a printer as it builds the layered structures. Complex shapes and fine features can be produced that would be challenging or impossible to create with more conventional building methods.  

Last year, we took a dive into modular construction, a global industry expected to grow to $271 billion by 2030. Undergoing a renaissance with modern technology, modular construction is a perfect example of how 3D printing technology can play a major role in construction, given that building components are often manufactured at multiple factories and delivered to a job site for full assembly.  

Robotics are front and center in the ConTech space in many other ways. For example, robotic applications are used to lay bricks and drive solar installations, and robots also move around job sites and toss bags with impressive feats of dexterity and athleticism. 

This video shows how robotics are transforming the construction industry.  

GPS surveying   

In 2023, America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Global Positioning System program. In 1973, the Defense Systems Acquisition Review Council (DSARC) gave the U.S. Air Force approval to proceed with developing the Navstar Global Positioning System (GPS). Since then, GPS has provided America and the world with incalculable benefits, transforming not only transportation but also agriculture, construction, emergency response, and precise timing for financial transactions and communications networks.  

Many of today’s construction companies are using GPS to help their teams determine coordinates and specific locations for construction sites. With this technology, they can create much more detailed maps than they would otherwise be able to produce. GPS tracking technology for construction companies also streamlines the process of dispatching drivers to jobs, tracking vehicles, and managing fleets.  

“Prior to GPS becoming fully operational, some surveys had to be performed in the middle of the night to have four or more satellites visible during the observing session,” says David B. Zilkoski, who has worked in geodesy and surveying for more than 40 years. “This required a significant amount of technical planning, which sometimes required complicated logistics for coordinating observing sessions.” GPS changed the way surveyors and geospatial users perform their work, and “the world has seen the development of applications that were not ever imagined 50 years ago,” Zilkoski adds.  

Wearable technologies   

“Imagine wearing smart visors or glasses that provide readily accessible data, revolutionizing construction processes and making them more efficient and precise. It’s like being able to build with LEGOs and knowing exactly where the next piece needs to be without having to consult paper instructions,” says Tim Gaylord, corporate director of Innovation at DPR Construction.  

Imagination has become reality for workers in the construction industry. Wearable smart technologies are another fast-growing trend with particular emphasis on construction worker safety and on-site efficiency. 

To protect and monitor the safety of construction teams, wearable technologies that are being adopted by construction industry companies include but are not limited to these:  

  • Exoskeletons and exosuits improve construction worker strength and reduce muscle fatigue. 
  • Smart boots have built-in charging technology that can power other smart devices. They use GPS to track worker location and safety and detect falls or shocks and summon help. 
  • Smart glasses detect hazardous materials and give immediate alerts, provide real-time information about edges to reduce falls in elevated locations, and provide visual cues for safety protocols. 
  • Smart hard hats and helmets detect fatigue by measuring vitals or sudden moments of sleep, and they have proximity sensors to alert workers to potential collisions with equipment. 
  • Smart shirts and safety vests provide location tracking and monitor shift length, construction worker activity, safety in hazard zones, and vital signs, and they also send emergency alerts. 
  • Smart body sensors detect slips, trips, and falls, as well as exposure to dangerous substances, and also monitor body temperature and the need for a break or drink of water. 
  • Smart watches provide hands-free communication, monitor vital signs and heart rhythms, and track moods to identify mental health trends. 

Other notable ConTech developments  

While there are many more technologies impacting the construction industry today, we would be remiss to not mention the following.  

Building information modeling (BIM) allows construction professionals to create and manage digital representations of the physical and functional characteristics of a building.  

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are used for data analysis, predictive analytics and maintenance, and project management. Algorithms analyze historical data to predict potential issues and also optimize decision making and construction processes and workflows. 

Subscriptions provide flexibility and cost-efficient access    

The ability to subscribe to construction industry technology solutions brings substantial benefits to construction firms and contractors of all sizes. Industry experts and analysts expect more hardware, software, and support to become available through subscription services in 2024, allowing companies to invest in the latest hardware and software without high upfront costs.  

Connect with us for specialized construction industry talent  

Most if not all ConTech solutions require human management and intervention. If you’re looking for construction industry professionals who have experience with these ever-evolving technologies, Goodwin Recruiting can help. Our experienced construction recruiters regularly source top talent for key roles, from architects and project managers to superintendents, general managers, executives, and C-suite leaders. Become a client today and let us help you build your team. 

We also encourage and welcome industry professionals to explore construction jobs that are available at leading companies through Goodwin Recruiting.