Construction was once at the forefront of advancements, but with the introduction of big data and AI, is it at risk of falling behind. Digitisation and technological innovation is slowly taking over many industries, but has it made an impact on construction yet? Is this particular sector ready to be transformed and brought into the digital age, or will it take a few years for it to catch up with the rest?

What is industry 4.0?

Simply put, industry 4.0 encompasses every emerging technology from big data and cloud computing to artificial intelligence, IoT and sensors. Essentially, industry 4.0 is the being thought of as the fourth industrial revolution, and it’s already beginning to make big waves among many sectors across the globe. But is construction ready for its own 4.0 revolution?

What technologies are available now?

Construction 4.0 is evolving constantly and is showing no signs of slowing down. We’ve seen a lot of new technologies emerge such as building information modelling (BIM) applications, 3D scanning and even artificial intelligence being woven into projects.

3D scanning and printing for example, means that bespoke parts can created offsite much quicker, and can often be cheaper and more cost effective than traditional building methods.

BIM and laser scanning are also transforming the way construction companies work, by enabling those involved in the design and planning process to work faster and more effectively.

Where IoT is concerned, there have been major shifts. With software, sensors and other technologies already available to exchange data with devices via the internet, projects are being completed at a much faster rate, the industry is becoming more modernised and site safety is also improving. It has become essential for construction businesses to take on a good construction insurance.

What are the risks for construction businesses?

Despite there being a mountain of benefits to welcoming construction 4.0 to the sector, there are also risks that businesses need to be mindful of. It’s likely that with the introduction of all these new technologies and processes, that the demand for training will increase, pulling employees away from jobs and becoming costly for companies.

Businesses will also need to think about the overall impact on the workforce. Will the new technologies force people to leave and result in a big loss of traditional skilled jobs? It’s a top factor to bear in mind as you introduce new technologies.

You may also find that if you’re a start-up business, the initial costs required to invest in new digital technologies may be a barrier. While large companies and corporations are likely to be able to foot the bill to make these changes, smaller businesses and those who are self-employed may find themselves unable to compete!

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