Life must have been wonderfully simple for the Cave Man! They had already learnt to make flint tools and to light fires! That was all they needed to get on with more important things in life! We poor inhabitants of the 21st. Century have to keep up with a constantly changing technological world and that puts us on a learning curve that is getting constantly steeper! Today I’ll be guessing about what changes pending technological developments are going to make to tomorrows construction industry!
Well, I’ve just recently blogged on about one of them; construction project management software and technologies, the best of which, by a long way, is GenieBelt.
Saves A Bundle of Money and Hours of Time Every Week! End Of That Subject!
- One which fascinates me is 3D printing. I’ve no idea how long it takes to print a 2-storey house; has anyone else? But to do that it must take a damned big printer which must surely cost a total fortune! If we think bigger domestic property, like high-rise apartment blocks, how big and heavy would the 3D printer have to be? How would it be transported to site? If it was in reasonable-sized, transportable bits which had to be assembled on arrival that would take almost as long as building with traditional methods, surely? My guess on building with 3d printers is that we’ll have to stick to bungalows. To go for anything bigger, getting the 3d printer to site would cause too much road traffic congestion!
- Something I have seen demonstrated on TV is a robot brick-layer! They seem quite cute but what TV didn’t show me is a robot hod-carrier to work with it. Do they have one or does that have to be done by a human one? What about mixing the sand/cement mortar; will that all be done by a robot, too? What about material orders; who places those? Do they do their own arithmetic for number of bricks in a course? If humans are left simply to undertake these menial tasks at the behest of a robot, would that make us their slaves? I know that this kind of automation is installed in most motor manufacturers, but they are into mass production. In construction we go mainly for one-offs so need to be far more flexible and creative.
- Drones are more little cuties! I really fancy one of those! Might even suggest that to my wife as a Christmas present off her! Must be great not having to clamber up ladders to have a quick look at work in progress. All that would be needed is a quick look around by drone and then we’d only have to climb to great heights if we’d spotted something from the drone that needed closely inspecting! They’d make life really easy for Building Surveyors! Site supervision? We’d never have to move from the comfort of our office chairs! We could spy on everyone all day long and never have to clean the mud off our boots! The down-side I do see to their use is that there could well be the risk of hitting someone and causing serious injury! Also there is the question as to whether or not we’d need to get a Pilot’s Licence to fly them on site and would we have to pay out for Insurance?
- I’m rather fond of our house. I spent time and money on fitting it out to suit our tastes and needs and to last out our time. We have a nice view over some park-land. But I’m not a Midlander; I’m from the northern reaches of Morecambe Bay and the Lake District! What I would dearly love to do is win the EuroMillions and then I’d install Augmented Reality on all walls, ceilings and floors! Woodlands; mountains; the tide coming in and out; plaice, cod and bass in one room, trout and salmon in another. If I gazed up at a ceiling I might admire the colours of the sunset or count the starts various constellations. Oh, I’d definitely have the Aurora Borealis on one of the rooms! I’ve never seen that in real life! So Augmented Reality might get around to changing the construction industry, but the cost of the screens would have to come down pretty drastically and the technology to produce them go up. Could they be made shatter-proof to stop kids running their trikes into them and busting them? Sounds a good idea to me, though!
- Wearable devices are next thing that might change construction. The only one I’m aware of that might go into common use are activity recorders. That could make sure nobody over-did it in the building game! My back is wrecked because it did exactly that! There already a quite common, actually; earphones so they can listen to “Music While You Work”! The naughty chappies try to sneak around site with them stuck in their ears! They try to hide them under helmets and balaclavas, but we keep a close eye out! With them in their ears they can’t hear approaching plant and put their user at risk of physical injury! As I said, they are in use, but are actually banned for H&S reasons!
- Last on the list for me to blog about today is the advent of “smart construction”. We already see this in some of our homes. They weren’t usually built with it as part of the fit-out, but are pretty cheaply and quickly converted using smart phone Apps and a bit of a re-wire internally! We can turn the heating on/off, up/down; check the CCTV remotely; set intruder alarms remotely, or switch them off if relatives want to make sure all is well; lock doors and all that kind of thing. Before too long houses might be built with all this technical facility ready installed for the new occupants. Now here is the news for many readers! This, “smart construction” for commercial construction isn’t something for tomorrow’s world! I first installed that kind of thing in commercial and industrial buildings about 20 years ago! It makes life dead easy for the Security people; they just sit in their offices and are lords and masters of all they survey!
But let’s go back to the beginning here; 3D printing and robot brickies? If all this comes to pass what is going to happen to jobs for we poor humans? How will we fill our days and stave off boredom? On top of that I’ve written papers establishing that “Construction is the last refuge for the Warrior Class”. We like the camaraderie of our like-minded work-mates, keep each other out of trouble and are very “constructive”! lol and ha-ha. Without that, what would we do; form up into street gangs, indulge in gang-warfare and batter “normal” people? Not, me, like,; I’m too old for that kind of thing these days.