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Technological Innovations: Increasing Safety, Reducing Costs

Aug 22, 2019

More and more, emerging technologies have promising applications in construction and building projects. In the past, the construction industry has been characterized as being traditional and resistant to change. Two of the biggest challenges for contractors, designers and developers have been increasing safety and reducing costs. Technological innovations such as developments in connected devices (IoT), drone-based supervision and inspection, augmented reality, and off-site assembly of building products (prefabrication and modular construction) help with both these challenges. 

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In construction, connectivity (IoT) generates abundant data through tools, equipment and gear worn by construction personnel. Live monitoring allows construction activities to be programmed more efficiently, preventing accidents. The efficiency of tools and equipment is being improved by tracking performance in the field. Tracking of heavy machinery enhances fleet management and helps prevent theft. Drones can sweep a large construction project in a matter of hours, where such data required days or weeks to be collected on foot in the past. Detecting issues normally hidden from sight, drones can observe construction sites inaccessible for humans. With the ability to take observations that would expose surveyors to injury, drones are improving safety for inspectors, safety supervisors, and the workforce in general. Read more about technology impacting workplace safety »

Augmented reality (AR) is proving useful in all stages of the building life cycle (design, construction, maintenance and renovations). AR displays warning when there are risks nearby, such as signaling surfaces that are at a high temperature or are electrically charged. Clients are more engaged in discussions throughout the construction and maintenance processes by clearly visualizing the projected results through AR. Pre-fabrication is providing costs savings and improving safety as well. By performing part of the construction process in a factory environment, pre-fabrication is minimizing wastes. The pre-fab shop is protected from weather reducing a lot of uncertainty related to the construction process, achieving a higher quality product. Continued development of these technologies improves safety and lowers costs for the electrical contractor. Imagine what the ER (Electrician Robot) will do to improve safety and productivity on the jobsite as managed by a journeyman or master electrician…

NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not-too-distant future.  Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.