How IoT Applications are Transforming the Construction Industry

UK, 11 May, 2018.-  The connection of any tool to the Internet in our professional and personal life is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) and here at Doka, we recognise its impact in the construction sector. Precisely, the application of IoT to construction is part of the program for the growth of productivity, designed by the UK Government deliver savings of up-to £15bn every year. The programme is called Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP)and its main objective is to boost UK construction productivity and revolutionise the building sector in terms of infrastructure investment. Construction technology can provide the UK building sector with tremendous help when it comes to addressing and eventually solving its core issues. Simply put, it is a valuable asset for every construction stakeholder as it gradually transforms the relationship that construction companies have with information.

IIoT Technologies for Construction

One of the world’s greatest works of construction of all history, the Burj Khalifa, could be considered to be one of the first to innovate the Internet of Things in Construction. Inspired by an Arabian desert flower, Doka supplied the formwork solution for the entire structural core of the monumental 828-meter skyscraper. The architectural flower shape of the tower meant that the formwork needed to be highly adaptable, much like the building itself once constructed. In this respect, the Burj Khalifa had many IoT based systems in-built to help improve and manage the living conditions for the residents, including improved air quality, thermal comfort and light levels.

There are many studies, analyses and books which illustrate what the Internet of Things means to the Construction industry. In this instance, we quote the “International Journal of Construction Management”,published by Taylor & Francis. This study is defined to address any aspects of Smart Construction and Intelligent Building Operation, with the emphasis of utilising IoTs, BIM and Big data technologies. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • 3D printing related technologies in construction.
  • Internet of Things-enabled Management in Prefabricated construction.
  • Big data analytics, cloud computing, architectural design, machine learning and intelligent algorithms in Smart Construction and Intelligent Building Operations.
  • Information Technology in Civil Engineering
  • Real-Time Sensor Data Analysis in Smart Construction and Operations

Furthermore, we highlight the following IoT and Construction insight according to B1M: For construction, the Internet of Things can offer full lifecycle asset information. By collating data on how different components of a building perform during their lifecycle, end-users and operators can better understand their assets and hone their performance. The data is also extremely powerful for designers and project teams when it comes to replacing that building in the future or when constructing another asset in that operator’s portfolio.On a more holistic scale, aggregating real-time and historic performance data from a number of buildings – on a regional, national or even international level – can enable our industry to deliver higher quality assets that powerfully support the business outcomes of the people using them.

The IoT and Formwork:  Concrete Intelligence

Doka Concremote is an excellent example of this. The system has gained multiple awards across the globe, including the most recent Construction News Awards for best commercial innovation of the year in the UK. Concremote uses GSM enabled digital sensors to measure the insitu concrete maturity (temperature x time) gradient and with this data it calibrates early age strength. In turn, using Doka Concremote improves construction processes and boosts productivity:

Save time

  • Implement shorter cycle times with certainty by specifically measuring early strength gain of the concrete in location, instead relying on traditional approaches where the test cubes are stored in different conditions
  • Switch concrete mix to optimise overall construction time
  • Remote monitoring of temperature development and strength gain can be recorded when off-site
  • Automatic notification in real-time when the concrete reaches the target value, enabling rapid initiation of critical path activities (stripping, pre-stressing, climbing, curing)
  • Digital logging of the measured data reduces on & off site management
  • Proof of curing and striking available for quality assurance and management records

Increase safety

  • Reliable quality data from the concrete structure makes for greater security in the decision making process
  • Hard data for compliance confirming quality and strength thresholds
  • Confirmation of strength gain to ensure striking is undertaken above the minimum allowed thresholds of the concrete

Enhance concrete quality

  • Required curing time is measured for quality assurance
  • Mass concrete control:
    • Heat of hydration is monitored continuously to minimise crack widths
    • Enable control systems for the heating and cooling of concrete
  • Support for achieving uniform fair-faced concrete colour tones when stripping formwork at a known level of concrete maturity

Reduce costs

  • Plan cycle times in advance to cut material and labour costs
  • Shorten or lengthen cycle times to ensure best use of labour and materials whilst balancing concrete mix costs
  • Validated concrete quality for reduced concrete finishing costs

In summary, the majority of professionals of any industrial sector agree in pointing out that smart sensors and the digitisation of manufacturing will enable companies to keep producing in a way that is more transparent, more efficient, of greater quality.

In this sense, according to the publication Planning & Building Control Today (PBC Today), the “IoT has a strong influence on the building sector and the job site in particular. It is no exaggeration to claim that IoT is changing every single aspect of the building sector and is transforming the way we connect within the industry.