Examples of Technology in Construction


Examples of Technology in Construction


by James Caviness

As technology becomes a more important role in all our lives, it should be no surprise to see the role technology plays in the industry become more critical as time goes on. One of the most important industries incorporating technology is construction. Advancements in construction technology have allowed for safer and more productive working environments.

Furthermore, technology has allowed for the accommodation of more cost-effective building techniques that have less of an impact on the environment. With sustainability and safety becoming more prevalent in the construction workplace, incorporating advanced technology will help keep the construction industry ahead of the game- all while providing a safer, more productive environment for workers.

Mobile and Hand Device Technology

The use of mobile devices has come a long way in the past few decades to say the least, but incorporating smartphones and tablets into a construction project goes further than being able to communicate quickly. By using virtual or augmented reality, real-time and on-the-spot analyses can be made, and information can be shared quickly with those who need it. For example, a worker can immediately see the building plans of a particular wall simply by holding their tablet up in front of it. Similarly, augmented reality can help make precise measurements quickly with minimal error- and without putting any workers at risk.

Other hand-held tools specialize in locating different types of utilities and construction targets. Hand-held lasers can perform precise measurements, and pipe locators can find pipes and rebar without interference from other targets nearby. Hand-held water leak detectors can reduce the damage caused by broken water pipes. Utility line locators for fiber optics, phone lines, and other underground conduits are becoming simple to operate and accurate enough to be considered valuable on any job site.

Wearables and Exoskeletons

According to OSHA, in 2019 over 5 thousand workers died on the job; that is an average of 100 per week or about 15 per day. OSHA estimates that 20% of these fatalities are from one single industry- construction. Some of the most common causes of workplace safety citations associated with these injuries are, but are not limited to:

Fall protection Hazard communication Scaffolding not meeting general requirements Powered Industrial Trucks Machinery and Machine Guarding

Wearables are a solution for many of these hazards, and with the technology becoming more accessible to more companies, ultimately, they can provide an answer for a safer workplace. Smart Helmets, which track alertness, powered gloves that aid in strength and dexterity, along with Smart Boots which sense surrounding hazards, can all be implemented to help a worker be more aware of their surroundings and not become troubling statistics.

Exoskeletons are a way to help a typical worker become superhuman; a motorized skeleton can be worn to accomplish a variety of tasks with less stress on the human body. Exoskeletons can redistribute weight to help someone more safely carry a heavy load. These tools result in more efficient workers who can perform tasks with less fatigue and injury. Back-support, crouch-support, and shoulder-support exoskeletons are all currently used in the construction industry to reduce the strain on workers and ultimately reduce injury.


Drones have become commonplace at construction sites, particularly for surveying land. A drone can accomplish a land survey quickly and accurately, cutting mapping costs by as much as 95%. Drones can also be used to monitor equipment to ensure it does not become a victim of theft or become misplaced during a project. Footage from a drone can be seen in real-time and can be used to assess the workplace for any safety concerns quickly.


We may be quite a ways from a workplace made up of entirely robots, but robots that assist humans in accomplishing repetitive or dangerous tasks are already becoming commonplace at a worksite. By performing repetitive tasks in place of an actual human worker, the robot takes on the strain that would normally fall on the back or legs of the worker. This translates to a safer and more efficient workplace. Having a robot accomplish tasks that would be considered dangerous for any live human is also practical to use in integrating technology into construction.

Building Information Modeling and Design

Building Information Modeling, or BIM, brings a 2-dimensional plan to life. While a traditional CAD (Computer-aided design) can provide valuable information, the BIM takes the same information from a CAD but also integrates layers of information into that model to create a building model that can be adapted and accessed in real-time. CAD still holds value in the industry, but BIM will become more common since it allows a project manager to see an incredible amount of detail in an integrated map.

3D Printing

3D printing has become integrated into the construction industry to provide solutions to a number of problems. These 3D printers are not making small parts. Rather, 3D printers capable of printing objects in concrete save time and labor costs from having humans perform the same tasks. 3D printed homes have even been made possible, which reduces the cost of materials used and saves time compared to traditional construction.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual and Augmented reality has become tools on the cutting edge of construction technology. The idea of using virtual reality to solve problems has led to more widespread use of Augmented reality- the ability to see layered information over a real-time project, generally using augmented reality glasses or a mobile tablet/camera. The major techniques used in conjunction with augmented reality include the ability to automate measurements, helping workers more accurately follow building plans. Augmented reality can also help to visualize modifications, so project managers can see what their project will look like each step of the way and modify or plan accordingly. Most importantly is the ability of augmented reality to provide safety information by recognizing hazards in real-time.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The abundance of technology and information makes it nearly impossible for any one person to internalize and handle this much data. Fortunately, the construction industry has technology on its side and has incorporated the use of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning into their decision-making processes. Artificial intelligence allows one person to handle huge amounts of data, and ultimately the more data available- the better decisions can be made. Safety conditions are improved through artificial intelligence as programs can use cameras to analyze workplaces for hazards. Using artificial intelligence can also help reduce building costs by analyzing large amounts of data on previous projects. Ultimately the ability to work with huge data allows the project to suggest the best building design solutions based on other projects.

Modular Construction

Modular construction allows for mass-production of specific materials that are constructed in one location and assembled in another. In some cases, entire homes are modular; in others, only parts of the project are constructed elsewhere. Prefabricated pieces cause less waste than unique pieces, and since they can be done more efficiently, they have less of an environmental footprint than traditional construction. Modular construction also helps projects move more efficiently since there is less variability in a project timeline and the cost/availability of materials needed.


Blockchain is more commonly associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it has become an important tool in the integration of technology and construction. Using blockchain in the construction industry allows for a secure way to share data. Since blockchain is decentralized, the data used for a project is not stored in any single location and can also be accessed from anywhere. Finally, blockchain is scalable since it does not require a data center to store its information. With the incredible amount of information shared across projects in the construction industry, having a safe and accessible way of sharing information is critical.

Construction Safety Advances with New Technology

When you think of construction workers, the first thing that comes to mind is the danger associated with this demanding job. However, there are many new ways that technology has helped these important individuals stay safe in the workplace.

Construction material equipment can be hazardous if not worked with correctly or operated by someone who knows what they're doing. But with the use of new technology and an increase in construction technology levels, worker safety has never been better in this industry, with fewer accidents occurring because of the advancement of safety equipment and smart safety apps.

Smart helmets have also improved the experience of working in construction by making jobs safer. The hardhat was not required on all US construction company sites until, the 1970s when OSHA was established. Since then, the hardhat has been continuously changing.

Smart Helmets

Some of the current smart helmets on the market include smart sensors that keep track of employees' surroundings and send an alert if something goes wrong. The onboard technological arsenal allows workers to connect to a remote command center via voice or video, location sharing, and instant access to assistance with the press of a button.

Are you using the latest Construction Tech?

In the Construction Industry Institute's definition, construction tech is "the collection of innovative tools, machinery, modifications, software, etc., that enable advancements in field construction methods, including semi-automated and automated construction equipment." A well thought out construction technology program will include both technology and a team including a construction manager, with a construction technology degree. Construction professionals managing a portfolio of facilities and campus locations will typically hold a variety of degrees in related disciplines. Knowledge of construction estimating, finish carpentry, plumbing are all helpful related fields.

Construction Safety Training Programs

Construction safety training has come a long way with the advances in technology. Many companies now offer online courses for self-paced learning or in-person training, depending on which is best for an individual worker.

OSHA safety training and certification has become a lot more accessible as companies have adapted to online training. For example, the OSHA Outreach Training Program provides fundamental and more advanced training on typical safety and health risks at work. At the conclusion of the course, students get an OSHA 10-hour or 30-hour certificate of completion.

OSHA has up-to-date labor statistics, a national center, and several training centers all across the country to help you choose the right path. Thanks to new advancements in technology, has plenty of online courses and training videos to assist workers in learning the basics of construction safety. This is an area that all human resources departments want to learn more about.

Technology-Based Construction Education

Construction is an evolving industry, and continuing education is the key to becoming successful. This is especially true in light of new technologies and advancements that continue to change how we build and what we build. While schools and traditional training programs can provide a general education of construction, technology-based platforms are available to help workers obtain specific skillsets - and keep them up to date on advanced techniques and methods. Globally, these programs play a crucial role in the economic development of the country.

Some of the most common ways workers can continue their education in the realms of construction firms or project management companies include:

  • Engineering technology degrees
  • Architectural design
  • Social Science
  • Building construction technology programs
  • An Applied science degree and applied technology degrees
  • Industrial technology programs and certifications
  • Construction technology degrees, and even automotive technology or refrigeration, if that's your specialty.

Students, even an international student, can gain skills and a working knowledge and education in the construction trade, allowing them to participate in the design and development process. A four-year degree is not required to take many of these courses; some can be completed at trade schools, community colleges, and universities.

Construction Management degrees and construction technology programs are offered through university extension programs, community colleges, and trade associations. Many offer career services and extend career opportunities to graduates looking to specialize as construction managers or as a building inspector. A building construction technology program is a program is designed to provide training in all aspects of building construction technology.

Workers or a construction laborer can seek out additional education through:

  University degree programs; Bachelor's or Associate Degree

  • Certification programs and even
  • Online Programs.

There are online resources for prospective and existing student services to make enrolling in these programs easier. These programs focus on teaching students about everything from campus safety and technical education to project management techniques and up-to-date building methods. By adding more education to their already well-rounded skill set, workers will be able to become experts in their fields with ease. Student learning outcomes will likely leave workers more prepared to work safely in the construction industry.

Copyright 2021 Detector Electronics Corp. - Revised July 31, 2022