Use of robotics in construction. Image source: UK Construction Media
Innovative technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, drones, 3D scanning and printing, Building Information Modelling (BIM), autonomous equipment and advanced building materials are becoming more prevalent in the construction industry. Smart technologies are also changing the way we operate and maintain our buildings and infrastructures.
This comes as countries in the region embark on plans to transform the traditionally labour-intensive construction industry. Not only do these exciting developments affect the industry, they also have significant implications on the wider society, environment and economy.
What is the future of the construction industry and what impact do technology advancements have on construction? We interviewed exhibitors and visitors at BuildTech Asia 2017 who shared their thoughts on this topic.
“We need to leverage on technology to build a future progressive and productive construction industry. Advanced technology would change the way we handle our process. Our industry needs to embrace technology to stay relevant in the changing world.”
– Mr Kenneth Loo, President, The Singapore Contractors Association Ltd
“The industrialisation of the construction industry means that it is becoming more assimilated into the manufacturing process. In the eyes of the Singapore Government, Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) is the next phase of the industry. Autodesk is proud to be part of this journey because we provide the tools for architects, engineers and fabricators to design and construct. We also see the opportunity for this technology to make a big difference whereby data can go all the way from design to the manufacturing and assembly process. As to how this technology is impacting the lives of people like us, you are going to see production times being cut and the quality of construction improve because as you design, you can already pre-empt the challenges and opportunities and make an impact to manufacturing and assembly in the digital world. This is going to make a big impact to consumers like us, where the houses we buy will have higher quality finishing and are going to be delivered on time or ahead of time.”
– Mr Chris Lee, Country Manager, Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei, Autodesk Asia Pte. Ltd.
VRcollab Multi-user showcased its multi-user virtual reality solution at BuildTech Asia 2017,
which can help improve visualisation and collaboration across the construction value chain.
“The future of construction will be lean, neat, and less labour-intensive. There will also be higher adoption of technologies to improve construction processes as people become more willing to invest in technology to solve their day to day problems.”
– Mr Raymond Chan, Director, RATEC Asia Pte Ltd
“The construction industry definitely is moving in the direction of improving productivity because construction is a very complex environment with many different trades and activities going on. By doing a lot of these complex activities in a factory environment off site, we can save a lot of manpower and be more productive. This is definitely the future of construction because the construction industry faces labour shortages. By adopting a technological approach with prefabrication, we will be able to solve this problem and deliver better construction. Technology not only helps in prefabrication, but also document and task management, productivity improvement, and even the training of workers. These are some of the benefits of integrating technology with construction.”
– Mr Havesh Nagarajan, Manager for Quality, Productivity & Sustainability, Gammon Pte. Limited
BuildTech Asia 2017 showcased advanced prefabrication technologies such as
Mass Engineered Timber (above), Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction
and modular Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing systems
"The outlook of the Singapore construction industry remains optimistic with our island-state in a constant state of urban renewal, HDB upgrading as well as public infrastructure improvement. The current en-bloc fever and quest for island-wide connectivity on all fronts will be a further boost to the industry. With Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction, virtual reality among other game-changing technologies playing an integral role in the industry today, we expect construction schedules to contract significantly, building quality to be greatly enhanced, and undoubtedly technology and innovation will continue to make shapeshifting revolutions to the industry."
– Mr Chang Chew Kient, CEO, Greatearth Pte Ltd
Keen to showcase or learn more about the latest technologies and developments in the construction industry? BuildTech Asia will return to the Singapore Expo in October 2018.
Organisations which are keen to exhibit at BuildTech Asia 2018 are welcome to reserve their spaces early.