Is Technology Taking Over Construction?

Computer technology first entered the field of building construction as a means for architects and clients to design customized structures. Today, digital technology and robotics have entered the construction phase with the ability to prefabricate or completely build homes, businesses and other structures. The technology speeds the building process, while in many cases, protects the environment and saves money.

Technological Need 

Robotics became popular in the construction industry secondary to the economic decline. The housing slump cause many workers to leave the field. The traditional techniques for building homes also became too costly for contractors and potential homeowners alike.

Traditionally, a number of people comprised construction crews who were present for every phase of the building process from the laying of the foundation to completing the finishing work. Now, a number of companies create the floors, walls and roof of a structure in a factory or a warehouse in less than one day. The components are then shipped to the construction site and assembled in a few days time. Electrical, plumbing and finishing work is then completed.

Construction Robots 

Blueprint Robotics is one of the many innovative companies that enables architects and engineers to convert blueprints into software. Robots follow the plans to create the components of each structure. The automated machines do the measuring, cutting, drilling and basic fabrication. Factory workers start the machines, load the materials and monitor the processes. Compared to old-fashioned techniques used for home building, the digital and robotic technology have the capability of reducing the time frame needed for construction by 20 to 80 percent.

Robotics can also be used on the construction site. A company in New York uses robotic technology to lay bricks in a fraction of the time that it takes traditional bricklayers. Construction management software used during the building process also prevents possible miscommunication between contractors and subcontractors. In this way, all involved in the construction project are continually updated as to progress or delays.

3D Printed Structures 

The popularity of 3D printing in recent years also inspired engineers to develop robots capable of printing homes, businesses and other structures in less than one day. The Russian company known as Contour Crafting was recently able to complete the construction of a 2,500-square-foot home in under 24 hours. Similar companies demonstrate similar capabilities in China and the United States.