The engineering and construction industry rang in 2020 on a high note, employing more than 7.64 million people and adding more than $900 billion to the U.S. economy in the first quarter of 2020 alone — its highest level since the Great Recession of 2008. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, causing the industry to lose more than $60.9 billion in GDP and 1.2 million jobs, effectively wiping out two years of GDP gains and four years of jobs. Many construction companies continue to face sustained margin and cost pressures in addition to project delays, cancellations, and difficulty obtaining permits.
Fortunately, there are still reasons to be optimistic about the future of the construction industry. Among other things, this pandemic has forced critical players in the industry to elevate their approach and realize new operational efficiencies. In today’s editorial, we’ll review some of the top technology trends and predictions that will be key to continuing to build industry resiliency in 2021 and beyond. For a legal ally who will by your side throughout this entire process, get in touch with one of our Central FL contractor lawyers.
BIM Will Continue to Soar
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a highly-collaborative 3D model-based process that provides architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals with the insight, tools, and collaboration they need to efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage the construction of a building. For architects, BIM and other design technology have already been a popular trend prior to the pandemic, replacing computer-aided design (CAD) and other design processes; the pandemic only exacerbated the need for something like BIM as projects were forced to thrive in a digital environment where team members could not meet in person.
The increased adoption of this technology will prove incredibly beneficial for the industry as stakeholders can identify potential pitfalls of the project long before the first shovel of dirt is even turned over. The cost savings in both the field and the office alone are worth it. If you need any further information regarding how you can incorporate BIM on your next construction project, reach out to a Central Fl construction lawyer.
Drones Will Continue to Be Integrated Into the Jobsite
Over the past several years, drones have become a critical tool for efficiently gathering accurate data on construction sites. However, they have also come with their own unique safety risks and challenges, as the controllers needed to be properly trained and safety procedures needed to be established. If that alone wasn’t enough, navigating the regulatory landscape and obtaining the proper waivers to fly proved particularly frustrating, especially if your construction site was within controlled airspace. Without an established industry standard, many companies were left to figure out this process on their own.
In 2021, we expect to see less and less human involvement necessary as drone technology continues to develop rapidly in accuracy and precision. Site managers are far more likely to integrate a drone that autonomously records images and videos of the jobsites than one that still requires a controller. We can also expect to see more business owners seeking to eliminate liability with technology of this kind by requiring flight and maintenance logs and requirements for controllers, if necessary, to fly over their jobsite. If you are currently involved in a conflict on your construction site as a result of a drone or any other form of technology, it’s never too early or too late to contact one of our Central FL contractor attorneys.
Augmented Reality Is Making Crossroads in the Industry
Augmented reality, or AR for short, is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about technology trends in the construction industry, far outweighing the uses or benefits of virtual reality. Using advanced camera and sensor technology, AR combines virtual architectural designs with the physical reality of a jobsite for a more precise 3-D view of 2-D drawings that are typically very complex to draw, interpret, and understand. Even better, as the user moves through their physical surroundings, the AR unit is capable of communicating real-time data geospatially, updating and displaying the corresponding information as they progress through the space.
Going into 2021, we can expect to see AR being used for any number of purposes, including project planning, modifications, documentation, collaboration, safety training, and so much more. For example, with the help of an AR headset, workers can be shown virtual drills, instruction, and simulated hazard scenarios with equipment models like cranes and lifts. Timelines are also much more likely to be met with the help of AR wearables that show workers exactly what and where tasks need to be completed.
Robotics Are Set to Become a Dominant Force
Last but not least, it should come as no surprise that robotics is gearing up to become a dominant force in the industry. From robots that lay bricks and tie rebar to those that complete man-operated construction projects, you can expect to see any number of robots operating with precious and accuracy on your jobsites in 2021. If you need assistance incorporating any of these technologies on your jobsite or are currently involved in a construction dispute as a result of this technology, contact a Central FL contractor attorney today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.