Advanced monitoring systems using smart wearable devices have the potential to monitor worker location and notify in real-time when pre-set virtual thresholds are crossed and have proven particularly useful during the Covid-19 pandemic.
FREMONT, CA: With the advancement of technology in the construction industry, we have witnessed it shift from corporate office to the project site trailer, smartphones at work, and integrated smart devices in work.
Field personnel now have insight into what is happening on job sites that were previously inaccessible, enabling them to be alerted to critical events that could have gone unnoticed for long periods of time, resulting in injury, schedule delays, and claims.
Here are four ways the IoT is transforming construction sites:
Monitoring Structural Movement
Building new structures often necessitate working close to existing buildings that could be affected by construction works in highly urbanized areas. Automated deformation control systems are now available that, once set up, can provide data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Intervals between periods that were previously listed in days can now be set to minutes. When the engineer of record determines that deformation levels have been crossed, staff are promptly notified, and depending on the circumstances, work may be halted, and corrective steps are taken.
When projects move into the interior fit-out process, it becomes increasingly necessary to ensure that the ambient and material surface conditions are suitable for the materials being fitted. Earlier, installing jobsite-wide sensors was too expensive, so measurements were limited to one or two positions on a project. Excessive thresholds were also not detected until after the initial damage had been done because data were manually obtained from devices.
Products that track atmospheric conditions and notify in real-time when parameters are exceeded are now available. There are options for controlling the humidity and temperature of concrete slabs, along with air conditioning, so that the surface conditions meet the flooring manufacturer's standards.
Tracking Through Wearable Tech
Devices embedded in PPE are being used to solve two of our industry's most pressing workforce issues: wellbeing and a skilled labor shortage. Solutions like disposable, passive RFID-based hardhat beacons monitor behaviors about each worker and their on-site position at any given time. These systems link to a workforce database that maintains track of worker identification and attributes, including certifications and licenses held and past safety violations.
Keeping the Noise Down
For activities that affect the public right of way, coordinating the construction of work on busy streets in congested urban environments may create logistical challenges. As a result, certain activities are done outside of daily working hours. However, as more people chose to work downtown and live there, performing this work without disturbing residential neighbors has become more difficult. Now, not only can solutions warn users when a threshold has been surpassed, but they can also document the noise, allowing for source detection and remediation.