Building and construction industry is one of the less automated industry in the world. Many activities in building construction from casting of concrete to carpentry works, plastering, plumbing works, block laying etc are usually done manually. The construction industry is also one of the most strength-draining and heavy industry that involves a lot of stress for the workers. This trend has made people to steadily drift away and loose interest in the industry. Except that the industry is needed for human sustenance and growth, the industry may no longer be in existence as it is not palatable.
But there is hope for change. With the advent of many powerful technologies presently, labour requirement and stress inherent in building and construction works is coming to reduction. This does not exclude reduction in costly errors and losses that are usually associated with manual execution of construction works. The powerful technologies include: self-driving vehicles and autonomous machinery, drones, 3D printing and AR gadgetry.
The world of construction is undergoing a revolution enabled by 5G (Fifth Generation) cellular network technology. 5G which in a nutshell represent a system that is smarter, faster and more efficient than the current 4G is a collection of new spectrum, technologies and infrastructure than transforms cellular from voice and data communications to a high-performance unified networking platform. The uniqueness of this technology lies in its ability to deliver three major elements namely: enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-low latency for time-sensitive applications, and the ability to connect massive amounts of Internet of Things (IoT) and rapid capture solutions. Thus, there is improved data capture across a host of project delivery processes.
5G technology when combined with powerful technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Virtual Reality (VR) enables supporting of massive volumes of data, super low latency, and enormous capacity that AI, AR, and VR require to provide seamless and scalable actions. Thus, the technology can enable Architects, Project Manager, Engineers and Builders to create and test projects before starting a project and also adjust any changes during the project execution with such effectiveness as to maintain quality in real time. It is also expected that the technology can enable AI robots in the future to design a building, community or an entire city and the construction carried out using drones and 3D-printing robots at a bizarre speed and cost.
This technology is a great matter to construction firms and developers who want to keep pace with change, particularly large house builders. Some few years back, Building Information Modelling (BIM) made deep inroads into construction. The BIM requires consistent and reliable network access. Thus, 5G technology would more significantly enhance 3D BIM applications in construction. In addition to these, 5G technology through the integration of IoT with internet-connected sensors used on building sites enhances the ability of autonomous machines and robots to take on high risk tasks, drones to monitor and inspect sites, smart device wearables to track workers’ health and safety, and specialized 3D printers to create entire buildings faster and more cost-effectively than ever before. 5G also improves the way site teams can view and update robust project data sets on their smartphones, benefitting from connected platforms, and real-time insights. These innovative technologies really offer a transformable pace for the construction industry.
The benefits and prospects of 5G technology can be summarized below in 10-points
1. Increased efficiency and shorter construction journey.
2. Improved safety and compliance.
3. Greater accuracy during build and consistency in finished product.
4. More capacity for big data, further labour-saving devices, AI-controlled equipment.
5. Improved sustainability through IoT devices which can operate in real-time to monitor rubbish levels.
6. Enhanced collaboration between site and remote workers through reduced lag-time, fostering real-time, quick decision making.
7. Safe, remote equipment operations.
8. Limit-busting Innovations.
9. More efficient passive homes.
10. Synchronized swarm robotics.
The pace has been set…..
Research into 3D printing technology in building construction have been intense in recent years. There has also been practical construction of 3D buildings. This pace was set in Europe being led by Germany that built the first full 3D printed building (see Figure 1 below).
The pace is currently being led by Dubai with a plan to develop the first G+10 storey full 3D printed building in progress and to have about 25% of its buildings to be 3D printed by 2030. Thus, there is hope for the building and construction industry in the rapid technological development in the world.
Watch video of 3D printing construction in progress below.