Historically, the construction sector has been slow to adopt new technologies and methods. This reluctance has had an impact on the efficiency of construction. Here are 3 ways to increase construction efficiency using new methods and studies.
Onsite Ground Penetrating Radar
One of the biggest benefits of the new surveying tools is that anyone can use them. They are user-friendly and often work through a simple push of a button.
Previously, if there was a problem that needed checking, the whole job would be put on hold until the surveying team could get onsite. Now, by providing surveying equipment, like ground penetrating radar, to the general contractor and their team, workers can check problems as they come up.
Say you are drilling through concrete and there are doubts if the path for drilling is clear. Onsite ground penetrating radar can check the problem quickly.
“Any time something unexpected was found during a saw cut – say a conduit was struck – you have not only the saw crew on hold, billing your company stand-by time, but also the trades waiting on the work,” says Brett Caldwell an Application Specialist at GSSI, Inc. “Could there be anything worse than hourly employees standing around due to these issues?”
Adopting Digital Twins
What if you had the ability to work on a building digitally before you touch it in the real world? This exists and it’s called a digital twin.
A digital twin is a digital representation of any physical object. Researcher have started to use digital twins to run simulations. Objects like wind turbines, buildings, and even whole cities have been turned into digital twins.
What is the difference between a regular simulation and a digital twin? Because a digital twin involves collecting real world data on the physical object, this makes them richer and more adaptable than a simulation. Digital twins are a virtual environment and would include many more aspects of the object and surroundings.
A study released by The Institute of Engineering and Technology identified several areas where digital twins could help with construction efficiency. Among other improvements, digital twins have “the potential to vastly reduce errors and discontinuities present in more traditional methods of information management.”
Another study done in Singapore in 2022 wanted to better understand how digital twins has impacted construction efficiency. The study authors especially wanted to understand how digital twins helps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on construction efficiency.
Through a series of questionnaires, the study revealed that digital twins had a positive impact on construction efficiency – especially when the pandemic was taken into account.
The McKinsey Institute released a study in 2017 that found that construction productivity had stagnated. They identified that the reluctance the construction industry has shown to adopting new technologies and digitization has played a big part in that stalled productivity.
In May of 2018, the McKinsey Institute brought together industry leaders in Dubai to discuss the future of the construction industry in the digital era. During the meeting, participates identified the following key insights about encouraging digitization of the construction industry.
- Use transparency to build trust
- Reshape the project setup and contractual framework
- Develop smart regulations to improve technology adoption
- Invest in capability building to realize digitization potential
- Improve workplace planning and communication
- Introduce a culture of innovation
- Leverage localization through innovation and technology
You can read more details about each insight in McKinsey’s article. By embracing these key insights, we can start to move the industry towards more digitization and higher productivity.