The Construction Business Goes Digital

22Sep16

By ROBB M. STEWART

Builders up their game with data-driven design, drone mapping, 3-D printing and more innovations

 

A virtual 3-D model being used by Crossrail in the building of its Elizabeth line in Britain helps illustrate how digital technology is transforming the construction industry globally.
A virtual 3-D model being used by Crossrail in the building of its Elizabeth line in Britain helps illustrate how digital technology is transforming the construction industry globally. PHOTO: CROSSRAIL LTD.

 

The dirt-under-the-fingernails world of construction is breaking digital ground.

In an industry where practices have barely changed for decades, the building site of the future promises comprehensive online modeling, drones as surveyors and virtual-reality images of everything from building sites to commercial real estate.

Led by some big builders and a clutch of startups stretching from Australia to Silicon Valley, the industry is seeking to eliminate the delays and cost overruns that have plagued it in the past.

“We are certainly seeing a rapid shift toward digitization in the construction sector, as the industry looks to harness new technologies to drive more-efficient delivery,” says Alasdair Reisner,chief executive of the U.K.-based Civil Engineering Contractors Association, who sees huge opportunities in building a digital construction industry.

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