The Future of Construction Technology: Trends and Innovations Anticipated to Form 2019

Doka UK 13 May 2019.- It is a challenge to know what trends will prevail in the British construction industry. For this reason, we have summarised analyses on this particular topic from the magazine UK Construction Media and the construction video channel, The B1M. Undoubtedly, technological advances are the most attractive to boost productivity and safety of construction processes throughout the industry. For this reason, we discuss the most interesting trends and innovations expected to shape the UK construction industry during 2019.

The ongoing construction skilled labour shortage

The skilled labour shortage in construction has been one of the biggest challenges facing contractors for nearly a decade now as reported by many trade journals. In this instance, we reference analyses from UK Construction Media. Following the recession from 2008 through 2012, when layoffs and lean operations forced many trained construction workers to take work in other industries, contractors have had a hard time convincing them to come back. Coupled with attrition from a significant number of retirements and younger generations spurning construction jobs in favour of other more tech-focused industries, construction industry associations and many forward-thinking contractors have had to focus on new recruitment methods. Among theseinclude; revamping degree programs at tech and trade schoolscampaigns to attract more women and minorities to prominent construction roles and appealing to younger generations with a host of new construction technology opportunities.

Construction business intelligence-driven by big data

It could be argued that the future of construction is data analytics. Contractors are already beginning to harness the power of information with modern technologies such as cloud-based software and detailed data collection and reporting solutions. However, by integrating data throughout the organisation and across projects, combined with new, powerful data analytic solutions being brought to the market, construction firms are on the verge of a revolution that should achieve true business intelligence to forecast and future-proof their business. These technologies should allow contractors to collect, analyse and evaluate far greater amounts of construction data than ever before, and all quite easily. Leading construction business intelligence tools are not only as simple to use as dragging and dropping data into buckets, they are integrated into larger construction enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, making it easy to analyse virtually any data desired.

Big changes for the construction industry lie ahead, and Doka’s award-winning concrete maturity calculator, Concremote is a prime example of how a cloud-based software tool can contribute. Proven to save time, increase safety, enhance concrete quality and reduce costs on construction sites, Concremote uses digital sensors to measure the in-situ concrete maturity and with this data it calculates early age compressive strength in real-time. The ability of digital logging of the measured data provides contractors with the benefit of reducing on- and off -site management, improved planning and increased productivity.

Concremote determines the optimum time for post-tensioning operations or stripping the formwork

Concremote determines the optimum time for post-tensioning operations or stripping the formwork

The rise of digital contractors

Contractors large and small are aware that there is a need to adapt in the developing construction environment. This means that 2019 could see a huge wave of digitisation and innovation among construction firms. With cloud computing emerging as the preferred vehicle for business operations worldwide, construction companies are upgrading their business management and operations software systems accordingly. With integrated, cloud-based construction software platforms providing the vehicle for contractors to use the same sets of data across the back office, field and entire project teams, departmental silos are being torn down and projects are being run in real time, with real, actionable data. This digitisation is also eliminating paper and manual processesthroughout, saving time, mitigating risks and errors and improving productivity and profitability.

Improved mobile construction work

As mobile devices continue to advance, and we use them more and more in our daily lives, their application in construction is also growing. Thanks to the cloud and intuitive construction apps, workers in the field can access and collect data on their laptops, smartphones, tablets or even wearable devices. Intuitive construction-specific apps also allow them to analyse data right from the jobsite, providing an up-to-the-minute look at the true health and productivity of construction projects. By utilising the cloud to collect and share data, mobile devices will continue to have a dramatic impact on construction collaboration and productivity in 2019.

Doka offers the latest digital solutions, helping to optimise construction procedures on site. At the beginning of April, Doka exhibited at the bauma construction fair in Munich, Germany. Here, visitors were able to immerse themselves into the world of digitisation. The range of digital services presented were divided into three subsections – Smart Jobsite, Smart Assistants and Smart Planning. This puts Doka’s main focus on digital solutions for optimising procedures on site and contributing significantly to a productivity boost in the construction industry. Simplified working procedures, more transparency and better quality in execution are the central aspects of this digital Doka drive

Construction technological trends expected in 2019

Having looked at challenges which the construction industry are currently facing, we now present innovations that The B1M have published on the technological trends expected in the construction sector for 2019.


While the credibility of robots on live construction sites has long been questioned, the last 12 months saw a number of real-world trials deliver their results and the unveiling of some astonishing developments.

This lengthened debate has now moved onto how best to integrate robots, the impact they will have on existing job roles and the new skills that will be required as processes become automated. Building on this progress, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is also beginning to have an impact on construction. From the major leaps taken in concepts like predictive design at the project planning stage, to the rise of intelligent buildings that learn how best to operate themselves and serve their users over time, the construction sector will likely find itself at the core of the wider AI debate taking place across our societies in the year ahead. Though fraught with challenges and inherently disruptive, the rise of automation could give construction the efficiency, productivity and safety breakthroughs it has sought for decades.


Originally developed for military use and for patient mobility and rehabilitation, exoskeletons are now beginning to appear on construction sites.

Helping to protect workers from manual handling injuries and the risk of hand-arm vibration, these mechanical suits that “augment” with human operatives can also deliver considerable gains in productivity.

Already being rapidly adopted across manufacturing, live trials on construction sites in the past year have yielded results that look set to drive the development and uptake of exoskeletons in our sector during 2019.

The Connected Jobsite

From putting design information streamed from a single point of truth into the palms of operatives, to information by geolocation, remote site monitoring, personnel location tracking, live mark-ups and the seamless transfer of as-built information – connected job sites improve communication, productivity and safety for everyone involved in a project. With the intuitive technology supporting these sites advancing and now more widely available than ever before, connected job sites are only expected to become more commonplace in 2019.

Autonomous Vehicles

While autonomous vehicles continue to make headlines in the consumer space, their adoption in the construction sector looks set to take notable strides forward in 2019.  As with the field of robotics, the automation of construction plant – particularly in relation to highly repetitive tasks – could greatly improve productivity, whilst creating a safer work environment and helping to address the industry’s shortfall in labour.

Advanced Materials

With growing awareness of the impact that construction has on our environment, technological advances are bringing numerous new material innovations to the fore. The recycling of hard-to-dispose-of waste products has seen a significant increase, particularly in relation to plastics.

Recent developments have seen the incorporation of waste plastic into roadways and even its use as a material for 3D printing new building components or structures.

CO2 is another by-product being re-purposed in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry. This development has been tested in projects; CO2 was injected into the concrete mix used in the building’s structure.

This carbon dioxide becomes trapped inside the concrete as it cures while chemical reactions within the mix form limestone nanoparticles, that increase the overall compressive strength of the final material. Staying with one of construction’s most popular materials, “self-healing concrete” is mixed with calcite-precipitating bacteria. These bacteria germinate when water enters the cracks in decaying concrete, filling the emerging air gaps.

Other areas to watch include the continued rise of “kinetic paving” that harvests energy from the footsteps of pedestrians to generate electricity; “4D-printed structures” that have the ability to re-shape or self-assemble over time by virtue of how different elements of their composition respond in differing conditions; and “smog-eating buildings” coated in photocatalytic titanium dioxide that reacts with light to neutralise pollutants in the air of some of the world’s most congested cities.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – also known as “drones” – are set to become increasingly common on construction projects throughout 2019.

From undertaking inspections ensuring that operatives are kept out of harm’s way, to surveying vast areas of land in just a few minutes, the continued rise of UAVs will considerably improve safety and productivity in construction.

In a similar vein to robotics and the rise of automation, debate in this field has matured from one around feasibility to consider the steps needed for a successful implementation – with safety, approvals, privacy, the need for suitable legislation and the urgent demand for specialist skill sets all on the agenda.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

While virtual reality (VR) has traditionally enabled project teams and stakeholders to step inside their proposed schemes before construction works commence, the technology is finding countless new applications across the industry as 2019 dawns. From enabling walk-throughs of complex site logistics plans in advance to supporting health and safety awareness training, VR use has matured in construction and made a largely successful transition from its early days of novelty into a number of practical uses.

Doka offers an Augmented Reality app which gives contractors an immersive
experience of defined Doka drawings. With this app you
have the possibility to build a bridge from 2D formwork visualisation to
interactive 3D models. For more information on VR and AR within Doka, including plans for printing click here.

The Doka Augmented Reality app gives you an immersive experience of defined Doka drawings
The Doka Augmented Reality app gives you an immersive experience of defined Doka drawings

The use of 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly in the construction sector at all scales. Accurate digital design information allows 3D printing to be used for everything from rapid prototyping, component manufacture and scale modelling, to the full-scale printing of house and bridge components.

With a number of prototype structures completing in the past year, countless larger trials proving successful and ambitious plans to 3D print entire housing districts in development, 2019 looks set to be the year that 3D printing moves from the fringes of construction to become a credible structural solution.

Doka Ventures has already joined forces with inventor of deployable 3D construction printing, Behrokh Khoshnevis which is now delivering the first series-ready robotic 3D construction printers through the company Contour Crafting Corporation, which is 30% owned by Doka Ventures.

For more information on Doka’s range of products and services, contact your local branch:

Maidstone: 01622 749050

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