Construction development in South Africa is rapidly moving away from traditional graph paper and pencil towards digital. Most companies have already adopted laptops, mobile tablets, electronic measuring tools and drones to simplify a myriad of on-site tasks that have historically been time-consuming and often imprecise.
But as the world as a whole becomes more digitized and digitized every year, the question is what the future of construction and infrastructure development will look like, based on the rapid evolution of technology. current?
Backed by industry knowledge and expertise accumulated over decades in the infrastructure development industry, I predict the following three trends will become commonplace for construction companies over the next few years:
1. Building Information Modeling
Although Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been around for a while, only a few large construction and infrastructure development companies have recently started using this technology to its full potential.
BIMs are intuitive three-dimensional modeling computer programs that allow everyone in the project, from general management to architects and engineers, to design and manage projects quickly, easily and efficiently. This allows us to instantly share relevant project information from anywhere, or manage the entire project throughout its lifecycle in one place.
Continued advances in cloud technology, coupled with BIM, will also continue to simplify how project stakeholders access and interact with real-time process information, improving transparency between supplier and client.
BIM systems are widely used in construction and infrastructure projects for coordination or clash detection, visualization, project planning, estimating, creating virtual models and prefabrication, among others.
GIC has gone beyond basic BIM to use a 5D BIM system that adds time and cost data to 3D BIM models, delivering more value to contractors and clients. With 5D modeling, the total cost of a project is easily determined by multiplying each component used by its cost, without requiring significant additional manual intervention from the contractor and saving time.
The use of BIM systems will see a sharp increase over the next few years not only by large companies, but will also be used more frequently by small and medium-sized companies.
This is all the more true as technology advances, accessibility improves and BIM systems become a necessary tool in an increasingly competitive market.
2. Improved surveying technology
Projects are routinely delayed and unforeseen costs accrue during the preparatory work phase of projects as construction crews encounter unexpected underground geological features.
To detect underground obstructions before commencing operations, state-of-the-art enhanced surveying technology, such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), is used to create accurate 3D area models.
Combined with underground surveying systems such as ground-penetrating radar (GPR), LiDAR is capable of mapping both features above and below ground.
Geological mapping technology is advancing rapidly, providing us with clearer and more accurate images than ever before to avoid any surprises when we start digging at sites. Combined with drones and smart 3D modeling programs, this can avoid unnecessary delays and thousands of wasted rands.
3. Virtual and augmented reality
Once considered little more than a fad among tech enthusiasts, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology has advanced to the point where it is beginning to add immense value to the entertainment industry. construction.
Virtual reality, which requires peripherals such as virtual reality headsets or glasses, creates a traversable digital environment, such as a construction site or a finished building, around the user. AR does not require a headset and can be used on any type of smartphone or tablet, rendering on-screen environments or objects overlaid on real-world images using the device’s camera .
Although not yet commonly used, AR technology allows you to digitally design a building, load it onto your phone as an AR program, point it at the physical location where you want to build, and display it to your team or your client.
Virtual reality can be extremely useful for training workers in the use of complex machinery or, by combining the technology with advanced simulation programs, to prepare employees to react correctly in dangerous situations.
The integration of advanced technology in the construction and infrastructure industry is inevitable, but through continuous innovation, the value that digital technology can create for developers and customers is limitless.
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