Technology has and continues to change operations across many industries, construction included. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, it can be overwhelming to try to stay on top of the latest technological developments.
However, if you’re a construction company and looking to improve your operations team’s functionality and productivity, building out an operations tech stack is an absolute must. The more functions and tasks that can be automated or improved through a well integrated tech stack, the more competitive you’re going to be.
If you’re unsure what an operations tech stack is or why it’s important, make sure to read our article on the topic here.
In this blog, we’re going to fly through all of the different construction operations technology you could need in your stack.
Here we’ll cover a range of operations technology categories that may be relevant to your construction company.
Whether you’re busy with document control or trying to assess risk in a responsible and compliant way, having user-friendly and comprehensive construction management software is a must.
Your CMS should form the bedrock of your operations tech stack and enable all relevant team members to access necessary information, manage paperwork and stay on top of everything from budgets to procurement.
Semi-autonomous equipment, such as bulldozers or other heavy machinery, is not a novel concept to construction companies. However, finding autonomous equipment that integrates into a tech stack is something different. The more your equipment is able to automatically collect data, for example, the better you’ll be able to monitor construction progress, employee productivity and even site safety. Of course, you need to ensure that any autonomously collecting machinery works in sync with your construction management software.
Artificial intelligence is becoming widely used across ALL industries and construction managers are not being left out. The sheer processing power and analytical ability of machine-learning AI allows potential hazards and risks to be identified and actioned long before any human manager would be capable of achieving the same thing. Moreover, scheduling conflicts, procurement/transport delays and other aspects of day-to-day operations can be infinitely better managed with AI running behind the scenes.
While in many ways predictive analytics tech can be considered an offshoot of the category above, it’s distinct enough to deserve its own mention. Building predictive analysis capability into your tech stack is an excellent way to keep on top of supplies, budgets, staffing and expenses. The more data you’re able to collect and process (see above) the better your modelling is going to be and the easier it will be to cut unnecessary costs and avoid wasted time, money or effort.
Modern technology has made heavy duty weighing and monitoring equipment used in the construction industry more lightweight, more transportable and more modular than ever before. While a lot of emphasis, understandably so, is placed on durable materials and structural integrity of weights, make sure that it also has the integrated software to not only spit out precise measurements but also to seamlessly fit into your tech stack.
Drones are becoming the go-to strategy for monitoring construction site progress. Instead of manually having to go to site every month to check on progress, operations managers can visualise drone captured images of their construction projects directly within aerial intelligence platforms like Birdi. Not only does this allow you to see progress over time, you also get access to annotation tools to markup site areas of interest, measure distances and more.
Site sensors can help construction managers stay on top of a wide variety of elements and factors, such as noise, temperature, dust and more. Many of these sensors allow for risks and hazards to be picked up as early as possible and ensure absolute complete regulatory compliance.
Structural monitoring systems work the same way and are becoming increasingly integrated in new buildings and structures to ensure any possible structural weakness can be addressed.
If your construction management software forms the foundation of your operations tech stack, your building information modelling represents its walls.
BIM is a form of software that enables digital design and modelling of just about every aspect of the building project. You can predict issues, smooth out inefficiencies and reduce risk before anyone picks up a hammer. BIM relies on augmented reality software, a variety of industry planning tools and highly advanced technology to help facilitate as smooth a construction experience as possible from start to finish.
Advances in virtual reality have allowed construction managers to achieve a lot more with a lot less. Augmented reality and virtual reality gear provide training opportunities in controlled, safe environments, allow for emergency simulations to be run and can help teams visualise or even walk through building designs.
Just because laser scanning technology has been used in construction for decades, it doesn't make it any less critical for a robust operations tech stack. Laser scanning allows for highly accurate measuring and data gathering, which coupled with your management and predictive technology allows the invaluable saving of time, effort, risk, and cost.
As the world becomes more environmentally aware, your operations and construction project’s sustainability is going to become more and more important. Integrating sustainable technology management systems in your tech stack is a great way of ensuring everything from energy efficiency to safe waste disposal from the ground up rather than scrambling for a solution after the fact.
If your construction operations include architecture planning, CAD software is a must-have in your tech stack. Providing a high-tech solution as an alternative to manual drawings, CAD allows for intricate designs to be created during the planning process with pin-point accuracy.
Both prefabrication and modular construction are highly valuable for the construction industry so building these capabilities into your operations tech stack is worth the investment. Managing the fabrication itself, as well as the transport and assembly, is made infinitely easier with the right technology. Whether the entire structure is designed and produced offsite (modular design) or only parts are (prefabrication), they can be powerful tools for supercharging your productivity and speeding up the entire process.
While many wearables on the market remain luxury items, in the construction industry they can actually be critical. Hard hats with integrated environmental sensors, gloves with voltage detectors, and boots with embedded location trackers are all a reality. With a well designed and thought out tech stack, your team’s smart clothing and wearables can alert your management team to incidents, emergencies and the like.
It’s worth periodically reviewing your current operations tech stack and looking for any gaps or improvements you can make. If some of the categories we’ve listed here sound like they could benefit your construction company, it's worth a bit more of a google into the specific tech options available. Or if you’re thinking about potentially utilising drones and an aerial intelligence platform like Birdi for your construction progress reporting, feel free to reach out!