Published On: Wed, Oct 5th, 2016

Could We Be Entering A Golden Age Of Construction?

The construction industry has typically been one riddled with issues. In an economic downturn, it’s the first to feel the adverse effects. And when the economy starts to recover, it’s one of the last to get back online. But now a bunch of experts are joining the chorus of people suggesting that construction might be about to enter into a golden age. Could it be true?

construction industry

Right now, 10 percent of the world’s economy is invested in construction. It employs some 12 percent of the global workforce. And the returns on investment are currently running at 150 percent. But with a bunch of new technology coming online, it looks as if that is set to go into high gear.

Here’s the thing: the construction industry hasn’t been affected in a fundamental way by new technologies. Yes, architects use software to design buildings. And yes, engineers are using clever algorithms to simulate their projects in the real world. But on the ground, in the world of the contractor, things have hummed along as they always have. Now, that’s about to change.

Integrated Dashboards

We’ve seen the emergence of the “dashboard” interface in lots of industries. But the contractor construction industry is one of the last holdouts. The industry, especially individual traders, rely on old-fashioned, outdated methods. New dashboard interfaces mean that everybody in the sector can have their own business overview panel. As a result, they will be able to do everything here, from managing their accounts to ordering crane mats from a single interface.

Tech-Driven Construction

During prior periods of innovation, the construction business boomed. When indoor plumbing was first invented, there was massive demand for new builds. And then when steel frame and rebar came along, the commercial construction industry took off. Today we’re seeing a new layer of innovation added to the mix – one that we’re not all that familiar with. Construction projects are becoming increasingly reliant on data. New builds now take into account population dynamic, economics, and even energy. All that data is then crunched up in the cloud to produce insights contractors can use.

On an individual level, technology is changing the type of work that contractors are doing. With the rise of social media, everybody gets a voice about new construction projects and whether they want them or not. This is creating a new concept called “the social license to operate.” Businesses may not be able to go ahead, not because of official planning constraints, but because of an irate blogger.

Added-Value Infrastructure

As devices get smaller and more intelligent, people will demand them to be built into the fabric of buildings. In the future, contractors may specialize in making buildings “smart.” At first, the demand will come from the business sector. They will want technology that helps keep heating bills down and increases throughput. But eventually, smart tech will become so useful that even the residential market will demand it. Cisco estimates that by 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the cloud. And that number is set to grow at an exponential pace. It’s all good news for contractors.