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Like many industries, construction is getting a few tech upgrades that will make work sites safer and more efficient. While it’s safe to say these innovations weren’t created with the field of construction in mind, adapting them for this purpose is helping to change the industry.

Wearable Tech
While wearables started off as a way to appeal to fitness fanatics with trackers and smart watches, the technology has been adapted for construction workers. Smart helmets have features that include a headband that monitors vitals, front and rear depth perception equipped cameras, and wifi capabilities. Additionally, a pull-down visor gives the wearer access to augmented reality that helps in the safe performance of his job.

3D Printing
Large, industrial sized 3D printers have become commonplace on many construction sites. Supplied with either concrete or plastics, the printers print out building pieces and can even construct an entire building. The advantage over a traditional means of construction is that waste is eliminated. Each piece is printed according to specifications, so no extra materials are produced. In Dubai, construction crews recently 3D printed an entire office building.

Building Information Modeling
If any technology is perfectly suited for construction, it might just be BIM. This software allows an entire team to work together on the same project from different locations. The notes and plans on the project can be viewed at anytime and are accessible via mobile devices, so all team members can be made aware of changes as they occur. Additionally, BIM software also provides a digital 3D rendering of the structure, which helps contractors and construction crews identify problems early in the planning phase. This eliminates the wasted materials that result from having to redo work that has already been started.

Construction crews are also making use of drones to help evaluate the progress on a work site. Passing over the site and equipped with special cameras, drones can take photos of the site, develop maps of the area, render 3D imaging, and record video. This helps crew leaders evaluate progress and foresee upcoming challenges that might delay completion of the project.

While some of these devices may not be within the budgets of smaller construction firms, they are becoming more accessible and more commonplace. As tech advances improve efficiency and help workers stay safer, the construction industry may find that it just can’t function without these tools. In the end, the construction industry may become a more specialized workforce through the implementation of these new tech innovations.