How Has New Technology Transformed the Construction Industry?

Published February 17, 2014 by Whirlwind Team

construction technologyTo steal a tag-line, the construction industry can build things “better, stronger, faster. We have the technology.”

Technology has played a role in virtually every area of construction from marketing and developing contracts to guiding equipment during a dig and everything in between. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the need for human judgment, ingenuity, creativity, and quality work.

Technology also keeps construction compliant with the slew of regulations that have grown up around every industry.

Here are a few of the technologies that have become indispensable to the construction trade.

The PC

The personal computer, now evolved into tablets and smartphones, has given construction the ability to perform calculations, develop documents, track costs, and efficiently take care of day to day business. Software took the place of slide rules, handwritten notes, manually drawn blueprints, and the need to make multiple copies of every piece of paper either by hand or copier.

The PC made possible a level of customization and change management that was too cumbersome in the pre-PC era. With software packages for everything from project management to payroll, the PC streamlined every part of the business.

Mobile Devices

Mobile devices allowed for greater communication and connectivity because calls and messages can be received no matter where you are. They also enhance the changes made by the PC because laptops, tablets, and smartphones can travel anywhere from the office to the jobsite to the client’s office carrying all the information you need to handle any part of your job.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

What a boon computer-aided design has been. CAD lets you make changes to a standard plan to fit a new space, replicate blueprints instantly, and use components from different plans to form a whole new blueprint. CAD also assists with error reduction which means less rework.

The Internet

The internet has changed almost every facet of business. Along with web-based software, the internet provides an interactive space for increased collaboration between different “siloes” of the construction effort as well as let you listen for customer needs and questions.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Lasers

GPS and laser equipped machinery can perform better and create more precise foundations, building perimeters, and corners. Previously a very manual endeavor that relied on wooden stakes and string, these activities have been streamlined and automated, removing some of the problems of human error from the process.

These technologies have been particularly helpful in marine construction where surveying may be difficult or impossible.

Today’s construction projects are more complex than ever. Not only is new construction needed but the existing infrastructure is in need of repair and replacement. Can you imagine building a medical office using slide rules and blueprints that had to be copied and redrawn by hand? Or keeping track of inventory, coordinating deliveries, and creating payroll using paper and pen?

Technology has brought construction into the 21st century and created efficiencies sorely needed in a fast-paced world.  

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