Technology will continue to lead the way to the future of the construction industry. Tech already affects every aspect of the design and construction process. Starting with design, 3D programs are the norm right now. We are beginning to incorporate virtual tours of a building or even your kitchen. You can literally put on a set of eye goggles and walk through the design. 3D imagining technology is improving exponentially. The ‘Holodeck’ from Star Trek is closer than you think. Soon you will be taking all the guess work out of the design process and know exactly what your new kitchen will look like, feel like, and even smell like! This technology is already being used in the medical field, and industrial design. This will be the norm in short order.
The process of going to showrooms is changing.
Making selections for finishes can be done in your home with the internet and home delivery. You will be able to select every finish online and when you need to touch something, (like a matte finish slab of granite), press send, and it will be at your doorstep in a day or so. We already see some showrooms closing. My guess is in five years they will be as rare as VHS stores.
I talked above about the advent of handheld power tools not needing the long cords anymore. We will still need a saw to cut the 2×4 but how we fasten that 2×4 will change. Fastener technology has made tremendous strides over just the last decade. This will continue making the construction process quicker, and easier. Just like the hammer, we still keep one around, but now it is just in case we need to whack something.
3D printing has arrived.
I suspect this process of having a robot not only building the walls of a building, (they are already doing that), but also this technology will be applied to a lot of what goes into a project. Kitchen cabinets, sinks, windows, surface finishes. All these are so close. I for one am hoping this technology happens sooner than later as our industry struggles with filling the skill bucket with talented people. Currently a 1000 square foot home can have the walls ‘printed’ in less than a week with a 3-person crew. Traditionally that 3-person crew would take twice that.
Purchasing the materials and products for construction has already changed. A good many items can be purchased online, by contractors or homeowners, and delivered to the job site. I wrote above about the challenges associated with the supply lines right now. In the near future an entire project’s material will be ordered online and delivered to the site-from rebar to roofing. We will utilize the way people shop now, to deliver better and timely. Warehouses will stage deliveries to coincide with the projects schedule.
Lastly, Artificial Intelligence.
AI, will probably take over a lot of the planning and organizing. Once you select a design and finishes, AI computers will be able to arrange materials deliveries, schedule crews as needed, even set up the robotic 3D printers necessary to complete the project. I see that we humans will always be needed in some fashion, but oh my, that is changing too!
Dr. Seuss closed out his last book “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” with the lines “Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!”
Buckle up folks, the best is yet to come!