Have you wondered about how the Internet of Things [IoT] is changing the way we build? If so, you may be interested in reading this post. You may immediately think of wearables or intelligent buildings, which is a good start. However, if you really delve into all the ways IoT touches your daily work practices, you may be surprised. This BuildingTech Insider post covers just some of the many ways IoT is transforming the way we build.
- Architect Drawings: Let’s face it, blueprints are a thing of the past. Today, construction professionals have access to three-dimensional, computer-generated models of a building project.
- Prefabricated Building Components: Now more than ever, prefabricated building components are enabling project efficiencies, mostly due to IoT. Collaborative modeling allows for faster and more cost-effective prefabrication components when compared to traditional building methods. This approach also has the added benefit of creating less construction waste.
- Sensors for Heavy Equipment: Heavy construction equipment is being outfitted with sensors that can be remotely monitored for key indicators of potential maintenance issues like temperature fluctuations and excessive vibrations. When abnormal patterns are detected, alerts will trigger maintenance workers to intervene early, before critical equipment fails. Performing predictive maintenance in this way can save time and money, as well as prevent unnecessary delays on construction projects.
- Remote Operation Equipment: Large equipment can now be operated at a distance, or remotely. This approach allows a worker to control or operate a dangerous tool or work in hazardous zones that would otherwise threaten the safety or health of that individual.
- Mixed Reality (MR): Mixed Reality will be a mainstay in construction, allowing job-site equipment and wearable devices to deliver special instructions, weather conditions, and safety alerts to workers in real time. Additionally, workers are able to overlay BIM models at the actual construction site as they work, creating a very useful visualization of the project and its application with the real-world environment.
- Wearable Devices: There are many benefits to job site wearable devices in construction. Hands-free devices allow workers to transmit images and access important instructions without taking a hand off their machines. Also, devices will automatically log the time, which prevents record falsification.
- RFID Supply Tagging: RFID tags allows you to track your supplies and equipment, ensuring your project assets will not get lost. Additionally, you can program the tag to set the required quantity of the supply item. The tag will monitor when actual supplies on-hand fall below that number, triggering a supply request.
- RFID and Prefabrication Tracking: RFID sensors can be used to track individual prefab parts throughout the supply chain. RFID data can be used to mitigate the effects of any downstream delays in construction. RFID data is uploaded to the project model once parts are installed, allowing for real time rendering of the building in progress, as well as establishment of project controls.
- Green Buildings: Today’s buildings are smart. They’ll shut down unnecessary systems when unoccupied, or adjust window louvers to let in optimal levels of natural light. This is just some of the many ways construction is utilizing the IoT to build smarter, sustainable structures.
- Energy Conservation: Today’s buildings are not only smart and green, they also conserve energy. Buildings are equipped with devices and sensors monitoring how much power is being used as well as provide environmental data. Sensors transmit data back to a central system, updating the original BIM in real time allowing for more informed maintenance decisions in the future. Driven by the nation’s interest in sustainable architecture and construction, the design and programming of smart building systems makes it possible for structures to reduce their environmental and energy imprint.
There's no going back. Construction projects need IoT to effectively deliver value to the client, collaborate among all team members, and keep workers safe. Admittedly, the changes covered in this post is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Please tell share with us the changes you are seeing in the comments section below. We love the feedback!