construction drone

The digital landscape, together with innovative advances in construction technology in South Africa, is revolutionising the construction industry.

Apps, tools and intelligent machines are creating more efficient building processes on increasingly smart work sites around the world. These six construction technology trends are tipped to impact the industry in 2021.

1. Prefabrication

Prefabrication of individual components that are rapidly assembled on-site has reduced lead times, cut costs and limited material waste.

Now, 3-D construction printing is expected to accelerate the adoption of eco-friendly prefabricated and modularised components that are printed on-site. These are quickly fitted together using automatons and robotic arms.

In 2019, building on demand (BOD) advanced from the conceptual stage to reality when the largest 3-D printed building was constructed in Dubai. Industry analysts believe 2021 is the year when 3-D printed construction will go mainstream.

2. Self-healing concrete

The application of sustainable, self-regenerating concrete on roads and in the building process is a highly anticipated construction technology trend in 2021.

This innovative combination of concrete and limestone-producing bacteria enables the material to replenish and repair itself. This reduces maintenance costs and the demand for concrete.

Currently, the global output of concrete accounts for eight percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Green construction technology, in the form of self-healing concrete, brings the industry one step closer to its sustainable development goals.

3. Building Information Modelling (BIM)

BIM technology is an intelligent process that uses 3-D modelling to design and construct buildings. It facilitates the efficient use of materials and supports a more precise, productive and safe construction process.

In 2021, BIM is expected to dovetail with virtual and augmented reality. This will enable the generation of precision-based 3-D models that can be intimately explored using augmented reality and virtual reality wearable tech.

4. Drones and robotics

As construction sites are generally smarter and safer, robots and drones are becoming increasingly viable. Drones, in particular, are already fulfilling a number of roles in the construction process, from monitoring safety and surveying sites to delivering materials at the work site.

In the immediate future, robots will be programmed to do repetitive and dangerous tasks like masonry work, brick laying, rebar tying and structural demolitions.

5. Collaborative software

Integrated collaborate software is creating a shared data ecosystem that can be remotely accessed by multiple industry participants. As data and knowledge is shared in real-time, lead times are enhanced, rework rates are slashed and communication breakdowns are a non-issue.

Now, the industry is embracing the permanency and transparency of blockchain technology to mitigate the risk of corrupt practices. For the first time, participants and private individuals are able to view records, assess audits and evaluate transactions.

Construction and technology management is more efficient than ever and further advances are predicted in the immediate future.

6. Autonomous vehicles and advanced fleet management apps

Vehicles that operate safely are integral to any construction site. The use of autonomous graders, excavators and trucks on work sites is forecast to increase in 2021. This will require advanced fleet management tools.

Although the machines use GPS to navigate the site and carry out tasks based on 3-D terrain modelling, software apps, like the Cat Fleet Management app, are fundamental to real-time location tracking and equipment management.

KH Plant

These construction technology trends do not remove the need for heavy-duty construction equipment.

At KH Plant, we specialise in restoring Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders and components to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine. Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.

Contact us for more information