Along with developments in architectural capabilities and building materials, the technologies that progress a built environment from pre-con to completion are evolving constantly. You’ll soon find that these advancements are bound to make your life significantly easier on the field.
(1) Wall Penetrating Radar
This new development in construction technology has my interest peaked, and it seems as though I’m not the only one. Using radio-waves common to medical imaging and police radar guns, a new device known as the Walabot DIY has been optimized from a more complex version for use in everyday functions. The product is designed to help users understand what lies behind walls without demolition.
What’s most interesting to me is that the small, handheld device can be used in tandem with a smartphone application to preview obstructions in real time. Engineering News-Record details the user experience in their summary of the radar, “The interface lets users select the wall material and switch between viewing raw data and viewing “pipe mode,” in which the data is interpreted by the processor as tubular lines. It detects wood, wire, PVC pipe and even rodents and termites in real time.”
(2) Energy Saving Window Film
Using materials typically applied to television and cell phone screens, researchers have found a way to integrate the same components into windows to allow for big savings, especially within energy consumption post construction. This film, developed by a team of University of Colorado researchers, uses liquid crystal technology to form a thin layer to add to windows, large or small. The installation is easy and this small addition can dramatically increase the performance of windows.
(3) Laser Scanning
3-D laser scanners are now available for use on a job site to capture all matter within a project’s range, and produce a digital version with all items’ positions clearly indicated and an ability to add comments/make changes that may be required as a next step. For project managers, this exact location detail prevents ambiguity in instructions and allows for a new level of precision.
Construction Dive interviewed a user of the technology and he mentioned that, “Laser scanning has a lot of room to run. Not as many people are using it, but it’s a great tool to measure more precisely than most conventional ways,” LaRosa said. “What the laser scanner allows you to do is get millions of data points and put that into a building information model and provide much more information about conditions you couldn’t get previously. Look for that to continue to grow certainly next year and for another five years.”
Whichever hot technology the future holds, these innovations are important to assess to stay ahead of the curve. Not every technology is a “one size fits all” advancement across the board appropriate for all GCs/CMs. However, weighing a new technology option is imperative when it becomes a preference among project stakeholders.