FREMONT, CA: The construction industry is one of the highly unstructured industries. Further, the nature of the sector is highly vulnerable to material or human losses. A slight error may result in massive, irreversible damage. Also, tasks are often interdependent. Drywall cannot be undertaken unless the electricians and plumbers complete their work.
Contractors and developers hope to turn the fragmented world of construction into a structured system that resembles a manufacturing process. Understanding the construction process is essential before attempting to automate it. The focus should be on turning the building process into a systematic one that can be analyzed and optimized.
On similar lines with agriculture, the construction industry is labor intensive too. Environmental factors influence both. While the agriculture industry is undergoing gradual transformation with the introduction of the internet of things (IoT) and LiDAR, the construction industry needs to follow a similar path by incorporating appropriate technologies.
IoT technology is already transforming construction in numerous ways such as remote monitoring, supply replenishment, and cost and power savings. Further advancement in the customized, industry-relevant IoT tools will promote the systemization of this highly fragmented sector.
It is a widespread belief that the introduction of technology will eliminate jobs. However, the actual technological aftermath will not result in the elimination of jobs. Instead, it will make the workers more efficient.
Pillar Technologies, a construction-tech startup, focuses on worker’s safety against environmental impact and construction schedules. It develops sensors that measure metrics like humidity, temperature, carbon monoxide, and others. The information is used to make predictions about delays and working conditions such as the air might be too dry for the drywall process.
As the workers sign up for jobs at multiple sites, a delay at one site is reflected at other places too. Pillar Technologies aims to use these data for monitoring the construction processes and inform the contractors in case of probable delays. If the contractor is already informed about a likely delay, he can use the information to channelize his workforce efficiently. For instance, if the plumbers are behind schedule, the general contractor can reschedule the drywall crew, or he may gear up the plumbers to finish their work.
A little structure and transparency will result in multitudes of progress across the construction processes. Thus, startups too, have a crucial role to play in the transformation of construction culture.