BIM (building information modeling) provides a lot of information for construction and maintenance of structures. Computer aided design or CAD has been a major tool in “loading” a BIM project’s database. Now, other tools are being integrated with BIM for increased digital transformation of the industry.

We are constantly reminded of the importance of the cloud in contemporary computing. This is especially important in construction because many processes in construction are fragmented, resulting in lost productivity, rework, and a lack of transparency. The construction industry lags behind many others with only 1% productivity growth over the last 20 years. This is significantly lower than the 2.8% experienced for the total economy.

One of the significant emerging disruptions that will drive change in construction is the digitization of products and processes. The ability to link technologies, tasks, processes, and multiple stakeholders—such as general contractors, subcontractors, designers, engineers, and owners—across the construction project workflow can transform and significantly improve productivity, quality, safety, transparency, and sustainability.

Construction companies have become aware of and concerned about the potential attacks—digital, physical, and natural—on infrastructure, especially utilities, both while they are under construction and while operating. If you are responsible for the security of the site before, during or after construction, that can weigh heavily on your decisions.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit every industry hard, including construction. Although most construction work continued as an essential occupation, office workers and those who could work remotely were often sent home during the early days. As the cautious approach enabled companies to continue, if at a slower pace, the employee demographic was changing. Valued skills were being lost along with valued workers as illness took its toll.

Now that most offices are open and workers are back in their seats, companies are reassessing the way they do business going forward. Construction is now facing a global labor shortage, with contractors struggling to find skilled workers in many trades. This makes it critical to efficiently manage existing workforces.

Several infrastructure contractors—Shawmut Design and Construction, HITT Contracting, Black & Veatch, DPR Construction, Haskell, McCarthy Building Companies, Swinerton, and Truebeck Construction—have come together to form the NEXT Coalition and the Coalition launched its “Construction Safety Challenge” in July, 2020.

In response to the unprecedented health and safety challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge pursued safer, healthier, and more sustainable approaches to construction by seeking companies and startups with emerging technology solutions that could be quickly deployed. After receiving nearly 100 submissions and a refined group of pilot technologies, the Coalition selected solutions that range from wearable technology for contact tracing and social distancing to digital pre-screening of workers and smart video monitoring for health and safety.

Counterfeiting has been a problem for thousands of years. The obvious choice for forgery in the ancient world was money. In fact, forging currency appeared in Ancient Greece, almost at the same time as the minting of the first coins in the Greek province of Lydia. But while coins and later paper money were obvious counterfeiting targets, anything of value was fair game. Wine, idols, clothing, and almost any object that was favored by elites was counterfeited and sold to every other group.

Kids have played Red Rover for generations, running back and forth across a playing field, trying to break through the other team’s defenses. Construction companies have been playing a similar game lately, trying to send data from one application to another, often with little to show for it. Integrating the data sources with the data-requiring applications is the key. The best case is when the data producer is already integrated with the applications.

Some technologies are updated daily—antivirus programs, for example—others weekly or monthly. InEight, a company well known for construction project management software, is going quarterly in rolling out platform enhancements designed to enable deeper project insights. These innovations will include a full range of enhancements to its extensive portfolio of integrated construction project management solutions, which aim to improve productivity and strengthen collaboration for users, resulting in better project outcomes.

Robots are not taking over the world. But robots can be a great aid to workers doing dangerous, labor-intensive, and tedious jobs. In mining and on the docks, while drivers work in shifts, trucks operate 24/7, stopping only for refueling as needed. And replacing a human with a robotic refueling system both speeds up the process and relieves employees of the dangerous job of “handling the hose.”

A study by Global Industry Analysts, Robotic Refueling Systems – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics, shows both the opportunities and challenges for robotic refueling in a significantly transformed post COVID-19 marketplace. During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for robotic refueling systems reached an estimated $36.2 million (in 2020) and is projected to reach $338.8 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 44.4%.

View More