Science and science fiction often compete for the minds of the general population. The term “robot,” for example, can conjure up many different images, depending on the experience and movie going history of the listener. Engineers might imagine a machine doing repetitive work that bores humans while labor union leaders would see the same image as taking away jobs. Robotic designers have been seeking ways to make robots less threatening and more productive for generations, going so far as adding human features and voice to what amounts to a guided vehicle delivering food to patients in a hospital.

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.

Because of stringent enforcement of energy conservation and sustainability policies in various countries, builders are expected to invest in green construction technologies, thereby giving a shot in the arm to prefabricated housing in the upcoming years. One approach is the use of precast or modular panels. Made of concrete, building panels are seeing high demand due to their ability to expedite construction projects and enable structures with enhanced green credentials due to associated energy savings.

A new market study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., titled “Building Panels – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics”, presents opportunities and challenges in a significantly transformed post-COVID-19 marketplace. According to the report, growth in the global market will be fueled by increasing construction activity post-pandemic, rising population, need for better housing solutions, and a strong focus on energy-efficient buildings. The market will be bolstered by increasing demand from residential and non-residential construction projects along with continuing advances in construction technology as well as precast, modular, and prefabricated systems.

The application of digital technology—computers, smart phones, Internet of Things, the cloud, etc.—has had a great impact on construction over the past decade. This digitalization has even spawned a term: Construction 4.0. But it has also generated a degree of concern that too much reliance on technology is a bad thing.

Then came COVID-19. And the growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental issues. And disruption of the supply chain due to tariffs and shortages of the basic material needed for building.

Wind-power is a serious contender for the electricity generator of the future. Solar and wind are expanding across the globe as fossil fuels are losing their advantage as a generating source. The tall “windmills” seen along highways around the country are being supported by similar technology at sea.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp., the largest provider of dredging services in the United States, aims to help that trend. The company has signed a contract with Philly Shipyard, Inc. to build the first U.S.-flagged Jones Act-compliant, inclined fallpipe vessel for subsea rock installation. This vessel will service the growing offshore wind energy industry and help reach the Biden administration’s ambitious 30 GW of offshore wind goal by 2030.

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.

Architecture, engineering, and construction is increasingly becoming a data-driven field and BIM (building information modeling) is at the heart of that transformation. How architects, engineers, and contractors deploy BIM and how they leverage the data from models and processes to improve decision-making, and how they can effectively power integrated digital workflows among project team members are the critical questions? A report from Dodge Data and Analytics, in cooperation with Autodesk, entitled Accelerating Digital Transformation Through BIM, offers some insight.

One of the most important findings of the study is the correlation between the depth of engagement with data-driven BIM processes, the intensity of BIM use (the share of projects on which BIM is used), and the degree to which the benefits of using BIM are experienced.

Many software functions work better in the cloud, where the data is always current and can be accessed from anywhere. Construction companies that depend on Corecon Technologies, cloud-based construction estimating, project management, and job-cost software suite will now have added ability to capture information from all aspects of a construction project’s lifecycle, with new data views and APIs offering access to information across the entire system.

Sometimes called “Fly over country,” the middle of America is also known as its Heartland. While executives might commute from East Coast to West Coast, flying high over these states, at ground level, the people are busy making and raising the food that keeps us going. And they are also making the next generation of executives, managers, workers, academics, skilled trades, and entrepreneurs for the country in the many highly rated universities and colleges that dot the landscape.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney started out small, as Nebraska State Normal in 1903 when the city donated 20 acres of land for the campus and the Green Terrace apartment building for a dormitory. In 1905, the first classes were held on the new campus—in the Administration Building, although it featured only temporary stairs, lacked window glass, and required steam engines to deliver heat until the heating plant was completed.

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