As tech drives change in the construction industry, here’s what the future holds
Technology is transforming the way construction industry operates. One such development is building information modelling, or BIM.
BIM is centred on utilizing digital tools “to efficiently produce information” in order to allow assets to be constructed, operated and maintained, according to the Institution of Structural Engineers.
Dean Banks is managing director for U.K. construction services at Balfour Beatty, an international infrastructure group.
He told CNBC that the business aspired to a “25 percent reduction in labour on sites in terms of productivity” by the year 2025. This is to be driven, in the main, by digital technologies, including BIM.
“It is doing things smarter,” Banks said. “It’s starting to think about, right at the outset of a build, how you plan it. So using BIM to drive the build, the logistics, looking at what the client actually wants as a finish point so you understand at the outset so there’s less variation.”
Banks went on to add that while projects today were still quite labor intensive, with muddy boots and hard hats a common sight, the coming years could see something of a transformation.
“In the future we think that robotics will play a big part,” he said. “We see drones making decisions, we think information modelling will be in place, (and) 3D printing.”
People would be operating a construction site from a control center elsewhere, he said, something he described as “quite a massive change.”
Looking towards the future, the Institute of Engineering’s Paul Wilkinson told CNBC that there was a need to invest in the digital skills of the future and think about the end use of assets in a much more joined up way.
“It’s not just about delivering a building, it’s about how it’s going to be operated and maintained for maybe 30, 40, 50, 100 years or more,” he said.