How Cutting-Edge Tech is Revolutionizing Construction

By Srikanth
9 Min Read
How Cutting-Edge Tech is Revolutionizing Construction 1

India stands tall among the world’s fastest-growing markets for construction. Our nation is ranked alongside China, the USA, the UK, and Indonesia in the top five global construction markets. The Indian construction industry is projected to reach an impressive $1.4 trillion by the year 2025, as per international data reports.

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At the same time, the business of construction is growing more complex than ever in India and elsewhere around the world. While project owners and developers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability and demanding speedier completion of projects, construction companies themselves are finding their margins squeezed by competition as well as rising input costs.

Fortunately, the latest advancements in construction technology have not only kept pace with the industry’s needs but are in turn allowing construction companies to improve their margins by unlocking significant efficiencies in the use of manpower, materials, and fuel.

In 2021, India witnessed the completion of its first 3D-printed house, showcasing the technology’s potential to revolutionize construction. Indeed, cutting-edge technology has over the recent years become a transformative force within the construction industry, reshaping all stages of a building project’s lifecycle – from planning to execution, and eventually even a completed structure’s occupation and maintenance.

Until a few years ago, technology’s use in construction was largely limited to the planning and design stages. Once the computer-generated models were printed on paper, all downstream processes including actual construction relied almost entirely on manual judgments and decision-making – which was often slow and prone to errors or mistakes.

Today, however, innovative technologies like Digital twins, the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented or mixed reality, AI and ML, cloud-hosted collaboration tools, drones and robotics, and advanced data analytics are finding applications across all stages of a project’s life cycle. Together, these technologies are helping construction professionals make better decisions faster by relying on data, leading to higher operational efficiencies, cost reductions, improved onsite safety standards, and timely project delivery.

Government initiatives driving transformation

The Union government has recognized the transformative benefits of using modern technologies as well as the latter’s potential to generate new business models in construction. The government is in fact actively fostering a conducive environment for greater technology adoption, which includes funding or incentivizing new digitalization initiatives as well as establishing regulatory standards to drive the industry’s digital transformation.

Even in infrastructure construction, it is notable that several metro rail projects across cities have leveraged cutting-edge technologies. The government’s Smart Cities Mission project has integrated and embraced modern technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM), Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for smart infrastructure, and energy-efficient building materials.

Further, the technology sub-mission of PMAY-U (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban) explicitly identifies 54 cutting-edge global technologies. We believe this mention of global technologies is a strategic move that will help lead the industry towards experimenting, embracing and eventually building world-class competencies in several of these technologies. Over the long run, it will help Indian construction companies become much more competitive in the global arena, besides opening up new growth opportunities, domestic as well as international.

As a part of PM Modi’s new scheme for redevelopment of 508 Amrit Bharat Stations,

Rabale station in Navi Mumbai, a pioneer and distinctive masterpiece of architectural ingenuity has been intricate through the utilization of Tekla Structures 3D BIM technology by Techflow Engineers. This advanced technology facilitated the precise and uncomplicated modeling and detailing of the intricate composition of Rabale Railway Station in Navi Mumbai. The station is a fusion of structural steel and acrylic panels, seamlessly connected by specially crafted joints. This assembly technique, utilizing plate fabrication, results in an enclosure that is as visually striking as it is structurally sound. It ingeniously employs natural daylight as its primary illumination source, seamlessly integrating the environment into its design.

A business case for using technology

Judicious use of modern construction technologies has already helped complete some of the most challenging construction projects in India and around the world on time, or sometimes even ahead of time, along with considerable savings in time, manpower and materials usage.

While there are infrastructure wonders around the world like the Museum of the Future, The Burj Khalifa, in India, several monumental projects like the Statue of Unity, The Chenab Bridge, are cases in point. Further elaborating on The Statue of Unity, it was deemed structurally challenging when the project team was relying on conventional 2D design and documentation methods. However, with the adoption of advanced Building Information Modelling (BIM), the architecturally acclaimed project was not only made feasible, but was completed a full two months ahead of schedule, along with a 25 per cent efficiency gain.

Progressive industry players are also employing modern construction techniques like pre-engineering and prefabrication, where components of a building are manufactured in factories located far from the  actual site, and then are simply assembled on the site. This saves considerable time and money, and leads to better quality of overall construction projects. We saw these benefits in Bhuvaneshwar’s massive BDA Affordable Housing Project, involving the construction of 1,320 individual apartments spread over 33 Blocks. The project awardee, Inventaa Industries, managed to deliver 10 percent additional carpet area after the project was completed, without overshooting its original budget.

Indeed, a substantial portion of the prominent infrastructure projects making news today, such as the Chenab Railway Bridge or Pune Metro’s Mangalwar Peth station, exemplifies the profound impact of cutting-edge technology in cost reduction, enhanced productivity, and improved efficiency. Since the commencement of the Chenab project, Tekla Structures has played an integral role, significantly enhancing the project’s progress. The software has been instrumental in designing all structures, temporary cables, and associated anchoring towers through Building Information Modeling (BIM). On-site activities have leveraged BIM for tasks such as erecting sequence planning, geometry and quality control, while workshop drawings are seamlessly derived from the model. The contractor and designer collaborate closely, employing these models, and a third-party inspector has also utilized them during the review process.

Reinventing the construction industry

The lessons for construction companies today are stark. Adopting modern technologies can profoundly impact their business efficiency and unlock unprecedented productivity, directly translating to better margins and profitability. Further, many of these technologies are already proven to boost workplace safety, with the use of drones, robotics, and IOT sensors to monitor hazardous areas and worker conditions.

At the same time, there are clear and present risks for construction companies that have no immediate plans for adopting and integrating these technologies. They run the risk of not only losing their overall competitiveness against their more progressive industry peers, but also the delay in integrating these technologies will hinder their ability to meet evolving customer demands and effectively deliver projects.

The Tekla trial provides a practical, hands-on experience for users to directly engage with its features and capabilities, fostering a deeper understanding of how Tekla can cater to specific project requirements. This trial phase serves as an evaluation period, enabling users to gauge the software’s alignment with their workflows and needs before committing to purchase. It empowers informed decision-making, potentially leading to improved project workflows and outcomes.

Thus, to survive and thrive in a continuing changing macroeconomic landscape, construction firms will do well to create a strategic technology adoption plan aligned with their core business goals and strategy to drive long term growth and success.

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