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The Zoom of Construction Work?

Many entire industries are sheltering in place and working from home, but construction is one sector that is often referred to as ‘essential’, meaning that the workers have to continue on the job and do their best to maintain social distance. But new technology is right around the corner that may put workers at home, behind a desk.

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Scottish Startup Turning Waste into Bricks

We’ve seen many different attempts at reinventing the brick lately, as the production process of the material—and the energy consumption of brick structures—isn’t good for the environment. The Brick Development Association (BDA) says in their 2019 Sustainability Report that brick manufacturing is “energy intensive” and “involves firing clay bricks to over 1000 degrees C.” Another material that can be used to make bricks is concrete, made from water, sand or gravel aggregate, and cement. Over 4 billion metric tons of cement are produced annually which accounts for roughly 8% of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide. So, while bricks are an essential commodity for construction, new solutions to produce them is always being sought.

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The Umbrella Method to Building Bridges

A new kind of bridge manufacturing method, nicknamed the umbrella method, has been introduced in Germany, and it promises an entirely new, revolutionary way to span bridges without extensive scaffolding.

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First Fully Autonomous Large Construction Equipment

While robots and autonomous equipment has been used for mapping and scanning jobsites, for the first time fully autonomous heavy equipment has been introduced and is getting ready to be put on the market.

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Thermoset Technology in Architecture

What was once a material originally engineered for the construction of airplanes, thermoset technology is increasingly being contemplated in the production of not only specific building features, but the entire way buildings are designed.

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Is Fungus the Future of Sustainable Building?

On this blog we’ve covered the topic of sustainable construction and the carbon footprint of buildings before, to the point where it may seem like a broken record. But a new technology has turned the sustainable construction field on its head: fungus.

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Innovative Materials and Products Coming in 2020

According to the National Science Board’s 2020 Vision for the National Science Foundation, these are two exciting materials to watch in the coming year.

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70% of Contractors Don’t Have a Technology Roadmap

A new study by FMI Corp, sponsored by Procore Technologies, found that contractors are not only not taking advantage of existing technological advancements in their current work, but don’t have a plan in place to implement new technologies in the future. This is concerning, though not surprising, as construction has traditionally been slow to adopt new technology despite the promise of savings and efficiency.

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New Concrete Technology Changing the Future of Green Building

As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, concrete and concrete production leaves a massive carbon footprint—approximately 6% of all carbon released into the atmosphere comes just from the laying of concrete. These new technologies are seeking to mitigate that in new and exciting ways.

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$54 Billion Wearable Tech Industry Offers Immense Opportunity for Construction Industry

Expected to reach $54 billion by 2023, the wearable tech market offers to transform the construction industry through the ability to improve safety and efficiency.

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Smart Phones and Mobile Devices are All Over the Jobsite—Do they Integrate?

When it comes to using technology on a jobsite, smart phones are the go-to device. Nearly 93% of respondents to the JBKnowledge ConTech report said they use smart phones for their work, more than laptops (83%) and tablets (64%). The use of smart phones by construction professionals has grown nearly 21%.

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New Armatron Systems 3D Printer Can Produce 60-foot-long Slab of Concrete in a Minute

Armatron Systems, an Arizona-based 3D Construction company has secured a patent for an on-site printer that officials say can create a 60-foot-long slab of concrete in less than a minute—and not just lay the concrete, but set the concrete, so it can bear weight. This rapid slip-form mold extrusion process limits bubbles and air in the concrete which shortens the curing time, which allows not just for long slabs, but curvilinear forms as well.

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Drone on the Jobsite

Drones fulfill many roles in the construction sphere, everything from giving a basic overhead view of the jobsite to maintaining track of materials, machinery and people. Contractors use them from everything from comparing as-planned construction projects to as-built projects, as well as optimizing the grade of the terrain and recording images and videos. Their usefulness can be increased with thermal cameras, mapping tools, and GPS units.

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Dubai Boasts Largest 3D Printed Building

Dubai, a city of excess, which claims the tallest building in the world—the Burj Khalifa, at 2,722 feet tall—is now trying for another record: the world’s largest 3D printed building.

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Has Time for Robots Finally Come?

Until recently, talk of robotics on jobsites has mainly been experimental. Brick-laying robots, 3D printers, and rebar tying bots have been the primary presence of robotics on the industry. The promise of robots has always been that they could lower operating costs and save labor, but they have never been cheap or efficient—at least not as cheap and efficient as necessary to replace existing technologies and trends. But now, when the labor shortage has grown so drastically, and efficiency is down so much, robots are finally becoming a more appealing solution.

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Wearable Tech is Going Nowhere But Up

Wearable tech has been part of construction jobsites over the last few years, but analysts predict you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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New 3D Printed Community Aims to End Homelessness

Two years ago, the first ever 3D printed house was built in Texas in less than 24 hours. Now a new organization in Mexico is aiming to curb homelessness with a new 3D printed community. The homes, which are 500 square feet each, are all printed in approximately one day. So far, two test homes have been constructed, with plans to expand greatly.

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2019’s Advances in Architectural 3D Printing

It was not a surprise that 3D printing made a huge surge in the last year, as we’ve seen it used everywhere from the printing of entire concrete homes to fabricating delicate roof structures. But there may be a surprise in all the many applications we’ve seen it used in this year. Here are just a few:

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Cut Down A Tree, Save The Climate?

The prevailing train of thought in environmentalism has long been to plant more trees, but it may be that forestry has more than one way it can help reduce climate change.

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Six Steps For De-Carbonizing Construction

At an October construction technology conference in Singapore, Atkins CEO Keith Clarke told executives that if global temperatures rise two degrees Celsius in the next 20 years then instead of worrying about their pensions they should instead “buy a shotgun” because of “mass migrations, upheaval, and extinctions.”

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Killing Two Birds With One Stone: Technology and Labor

We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about two things: the slow, but increasing acceptance of technology into the construction industry, and the drastic labor shortage of skilled workers. But it may just be that the improvement of one will improve both.

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Brick-Laying Robots Are Building Upon Their Predecessors

In an age where construction robotics are the next new thing on the horizon, it might surprise you to learn that the first brick-laying robot was designed and featured in 1967. Claimed to be able to lay bricks five to ten times faster than the tradition by-hand method, it claimed to be the idea of the future. Attached by rail to a wall, the Motor Mason was an intriguing experiment, but ultimately a flash in the pan.

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Boston Dynamics “Spot” is Entering Construction

For years we’ve seen Spot, the Boston Dynamics robot making viral videos walking, climbing, jumping, and doing other gymnastics. But now it’s going to get some jobsite training.

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Exoskeletons: Not Just For Aliens Anymore

Everyone remembers Ellen Ripley donning the yellow construction exoskeleton and battling the mother alien, but did you know that construction exoskeletons are in use today?

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Four New Technologies that Will Change Construction

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Wearable Technology the Latest in Construction Safety

Just under five thousand American died on the job in 2017, and 20% of them were construction workers, according to statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA). Of those deaths, 381 were falls, 80 were struck by an object, 71 were electrocutions, and 50 were caught-in/between. These are known in construction as the Fatal Four.

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New Jobsite Technology Can Help Contractors Avoid Lawsuits

Every contractor fears an unknown problem leading to a lawsuit, and new technologies are being introduced more and more to combat those fears and safeguard contractors. Three main categories of technologies are coming forward: scheduling software, 3D modeling tools, and data collection devices.

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AI Making In-Roads into Construction

In an industry that is traditionally resistant to technological changes, it may be surprising to learn that the construction industry is forecasted to spend $4 billion in artificial intelligence by 2026. While Power Tools has covered many stories of robots on the job site, this artificial intelligence is expected to come in the form of planning and forecasting software.

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VR Interface Helps Workers Spot Errors

Engineering News-Record reports on a new trend that is saving time, money, and lives. For inexperienced workers, virtual reality interfaces are helping to spot errors before they become significant. In fact,the report says that construction workers with less than three years of experience are able to double their ability to spot design errors using a 3D model.

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Top Ten Construction-Related Podcasts

While we try to keep you informed on construction news, there’s so much that we at PowerTools can’t cover. Here is a list of ten great construction-related podcasts that can help you keep abreast of everything newsworthy in the industry.

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Drones and Robots on Jobsites

As we’ve discussed at length on this blog, the labor shortage is requiring construction companies to look outside the box to solve their productivity problems, and they are increasingly turning to technology. The progress has been relatively slow compared of other automated fields, such as manufacturing, but progress is being made, and new tech on the horizon looks promising.

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How 5G is Poised to Revolutionize Infrastructure

“2019 will be a critical year in the evolution of 5G as global roll-out pilots will shape the landscape and specifications will start to be formalized. Intelligent connectivity, enabled by 5G, will be the catalyst for the social-economic growth that the 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) could bring.” – World Economic Forum

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Can the Internet of Things Revolutionize Construction?

Construction workers account for 7% of the world’s workforce, but in a world where robotics is replacing people’s jobs, these workers seem relatively safe. Why? According to an article in TechTarget, it’s because the industry isn’t adopting new technology fast enough.

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Robotic Solution to Troublesome Worksite Problem

With 20% of construction time spent fixing errors, a Barcelona-based company decided to build a solution that automates the process of monitoring the jobsite. The robot uses LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and autonomous vehicle technology (the same kind of thing used in driverless cars) to build computer models of jobsites.

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New Technologies are Integrating Artificial Intelligence with Construction

While many construction technologies seem like a hammer searching for a nail, many new ventures, like hh2, are combining the best of tech with the best of modern breakthroughs.

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Researchers Are Recycling Glass into Concrete

In search of new ways to reuse non-recyclable glass, scientists have found a simple answer: they’re turning glass back into sand.

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Construction Industry is Turning Toward a New Source for Recruits: Video Games

It’s no secret that the construction industry has felt the pinch of lack of skilled labor both since the Great Recession and the beginning retirement of the Baby Boomers. In an era where unemployment numbers…

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McKinsey Reports on Government’s Role in Implementing Technology Changes in Construction

While new technologies emerge everyday that could help the construction industry—technology that generated $15-$18 billion in the last five years—it has been found that such technologies are often underused or...

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What Segment of Technology Adoption Does Your Company Belong To?

While the thought of new technology is exciting for some, it takes some time and proven results for others to get behind adopting a change in one’s workflow. This can be explained in detail in the Diffusion of Innovation...

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Best Technology for Safety on the Job Site

Safety is a major concern in the construction industry. Ultimately, jobs within the industry make up a majority of the top 25 most dangerous jobs in the United States (https://bit.ly/2mekW7o). With trades from roofing...

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How Mobile Devices Can Effectively Improve Your Construction Business

Mobile technology has enhanced our personal lives in many ways. We are able to FaceTime with our grandparents from across the country or with our children away at college. We no longer have to carry our...

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How Artificial Intelligence is Helping the Construction Industry Save Time, Cost and Lives

It’s no surprise that the construction industry is benefiting in large parts from artificial intelligence (AI). A new job within the industry, a data scientist, is using AI to their advantage. Software and computing systems are...

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Advancements in Digital Fabrication Moving Design and Construction Forward

A recent case study was conducted by the American architectural, planning and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) that show its recent advancements within digital fabrication. Its 3D-printed...

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New Trends in Technology Bringing Major Upgrades to Construction Sector

Efficiency, safety and sustainability within the construction industry are taking leaps forward as technology continues to improve. The 21st century has brought a plethora of new advancements in...

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Robots and Exoskeletons Are Coming Soon To a Job Site Near You

With the labor shortage in the construction industry not showing any big signs of relief, a push towards automation that includes robotics and exoskeletons may soon be on its way—much to the delight...

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Not Just a Fad: Four Emergent Technologies That Will Improve Your Jobsite

New worksite ideas come and go, but here are three new emergent technologies that appear to have gotten over the early hurdles and are proving to be invaluable on the job site. Telematics: As the...

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Construction Moving Rapidly Into New Digital Age

It’s a mark of modernity that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone, but technology is moving forward at an astounding rate. Just a few years ago, 3D printers were strange, new inventions that could only construct...

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Changing Technology in Construction

“As more young people enter the construction industry, they expect technology,” said an international firm that works with contractors to develop IT solutions. “Estimating, project managing, and...

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A Smart Watch That Doesn't Sacrifice Looks for Ability

Apple makes some nice-looking devices, but—let’s face it—the Apple watch isn’t one of them. It’s a mini iPhone, and that’s great if you’re a minimalist. But even Dick Tracy’s watch had a better sense of style, and...

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90% of Construction Leaders See New Tech as Essential; Only 37% Claim to Be Prepared

While the report is Australian, the points are global: the Construction Industry Innovation & Productivity Report, studying 200 industry leaders, states the 90% of believe it is valuable to stay up-to-date with new...

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Smarthome Innovations Coming in 2017

After my article yesterday about the new “Internet of Things”-style light bulbs, I went to Lowe’s last night to check them out for myself. I have several lights that I’d like to replace with smart lights: the front porch, the...

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A High-Tech Step Up From “The Clapper”

Reporting on the latest trends in housing construction, the Wall Street Journal today wrote about a development that is not so much about the existing residential tech, but is more about where the future is headed...

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Strategies for Recognizing Good Tech Trends

It seems like there are dozens of new technologies popping up, claiming to be the Next Big Thing. It can be difficult for managers in any business to keep up with the latest and greatest innovations, especially...

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Wearable Tech in the Construction Industry

According to market analysis group CCS Insight, the wearable technology industry will be worth $34 billion by 2020. This may come as a shock to people who remember the ill-fated Google Glass, which literally got...

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The Rapid Advancement of 3D Printing in Construction

The world is changing at breakneck speed, and the construction industry is at the forefront of new technology. A few months ago, Power Tools reported on a man who built his own concrete-spewing 3D printer...

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The Rapid Rate of Technological Change

I bought my first flash drive when I was in college in 2002. It was amazing. At 32 megs, it could hold more data than 18 floppy disks. I bought it at the university bookstore for $200, and I carried it with me wherever...

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