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Future Infrastructure: Heavy Construction: Six Trends Being Observed in 2022

Christian Luttenberger on March 30, 2022 - in Articles, Column

Although digitalization and automation have brought significant change to the construction industry in the last decade, some companies still are hesitant to embrace a fully fledged digital strategy. With increasingly scarce resources, there’s an increased necessity to create more with less, while government and stakeholder pressure means the construction industry will need to operate sustainably. The following technology trends are driving the heavy construction industry in 2022, showing the benefits and urgency of digitalization.

1. Increasing emphasis on construction-worker safety along with an emerging awareness culture. The need to optimize labor costs can seem at odds with worker safety in the construction industry. In reality, ensuring worker safety is not only a moral imperative, but also cost-efficient. Safeguarding your people from unnecessary risks prevents accidents and keeps them healthy while also keeping your projects on track.

2. Increased pressure from governments and stakeholders on sustainability. Crucial metrics for any heavy construction project are accuracy (as in building to specification) along with time, budget and safety. Sustainability is a recent addition to that list, as pressure to reduce environmental impact is increasing. Being able to explain sustainability practices and demonstrate the ability to reduce your impact on the environment will be crucial to business success. Some countries already have introduced regulations that demand boosts in plant and machine efficiencies.

Getting ready for your next project takes remarkable skill as multiple areas need to be evaluated, prepared and mobilized. Maintaining tight control over processes and closely monitoring physical operations leads to greater efficiency and tighter cost control. From preparation to mobilization of your equipment, field and office crews, resources and materials—the seamless coordination of all assets is key to achieving greater efficiency, which also translates to less waste and emissions.

Hexagon’s Heavy Construction Solutions surveyed dozens of contractors on numerous aspects of jobsite preparation and mobilization success to create a comprehensive questionnaire that helps you assess how you can achieve greater efficiencies and in which areas. Complete the Site Preparation Survey (at bit.ly/31FpjBy) and receive a personalised PDF with insights, recommendations and support that will help you master your next project safely, sustainably and profitably.

3. Powered by AI, VR, robotics, wearable technology and IoT, the connected construction site is speeding up projects and increasing team productivity. Controlling the dynamic elements of complex construction projects is crucial to project success. Connected construction sites bring people, processes and information together using AR, VR, AI, robotics and wearables. Structured workflows that integrate data at each step of construction and connect jobsites to the main office allow managers to make faster and better-informed decisions based on accurate, real-time data. IoT technologies, in combination with AI, enable predictive logistics, improve worker safety during construction, and optimize inventory to reduce waste and avoid unnecessary costs.

To find out the eight areas that consistently correlate with project success, contractors can take another survey at bit.ly/3ygPQ3L.

4. Mobile applications are helping manage remote work sites. Mobile applications are becoming the norm in the construction industry in 2022, allowing unprecedented worksite access. Mobile phone cameras are enabling more real-time inspections and additional onsite accountability. Collaborative tools like those from AGTEK, part of Hexagon, will collate data that can be shared in the cloud and viewed on mobile phones or desktop computers, allowing better-informed decision-making whether you’re walking onsite, driving a truck or sitting in an office.

5. The growing need for talent requires better collaboration among people, machines and robots. In the last few years, the shortage of quality labor has challenged the construction industry. Talent is scarce, and many companies vie for the same talent. An increase in robotics technology working side-by-side with people in 2022 is benefitting construction companies by making tasks less complex and time-consuming. Robotic-control software is designed to simplify programming and deliver automated measurement and inspections.

6. Construction-management software has become a competitive differentiator. Comprehensive construction-management software will become an increasingly vital tool for remaining competitive, building a valuable business and mastering operational efficiency. A construction project has many phases with multiple tasks, teams and tools. Construction-management solutions can help you:

• Reduce turnaround time with a single platform for bidding, takeoff, estimation, modeling and progress tracking.

• Connect your project information and teams to make better decisions faster.

• Improve project performance and predictability.

• Create real-time and instant access to accurate design data.

Digital and automated software solutions are enabling closer interaction among machines, people and materials to get the job done precisely, safely, sustainably and on time. 

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About Christian Luttenberger

Christian Luttenberger is vice president, Heavy Construction, at Hexagon's Geosystems division; email: christian.luttenberger@leica-geosystems.com.

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