Last year Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi highlighted how new technology can accelerate the construction of houses, PM Modi in his Man ki Baat Speech said, “There was a time when it would take years to complete even a minor construction. But today due to technology the situation is changing in India.”
India's construction industry is on a cusp of change that is already visible and is creating a growing impact on the way we design and build our structures. The engineering firms, contractors, and value chain participants recognise the benefits of connected construction technologies and are increasingly deploying them.
These technologies can assist in unifying assets, people, processes, and job sites enabling everyone and everything to work smarter, reduce downtime, maximise resource utilization and efficiency, and gain greater visibility into operations. Building information management (BIM), digital supply networks, digital twins, preventative analysis, prefabrication and modular construction, asset tracking, and autonomous drones are just a few examples.
Artificial Intelligence: Gartner predicts that by 2023, AI will be one of the top workloads driving infrastructure decisions, which is good news for the construction industry. AI has now made the idea of a smart city much more accessible to the future. It has greatly helped construction projects by increasing safety, improving workflows, and accomplishing goals faster and effectively.
Digital Twin: A digital twin in the construction industry combines real-time data from a built asset with its digital representation to generate insights throughout the project lifecycle. Digital twins provide multidimensional views of an asset's design and performance, including occupant behaviour, use patterns, space utilisation, and traffic patterns. It thus has agreat significance in building cost and resource efficiently, given that a digital twin allows to test "what-if" scenarios like design changes, weather disruptions, and security events.
3D Printing: The technology has the potential to change material sourcing. Materials for a project can be printed and then transported to the job site, ready for use right away, using prefabrication. This not only eliminates, site pollution, reduces waste and saves carbon footprint but can also create complex designs that would be impossible, too expensive, or too labour-intensive to create using traditional construction methods. However, one of the current barriers to widespread adoption of this technology is a lack of mass production capacity.
Workflow Management: Smart Construction Management technology is constantly evolving, moving towards digitization from start to finish, from planning through the actual execution process, and then into a property's daily use and maintenance. Workflow management tools are making it possible to tackle larger scales, build taller, environment friendly and faster while staying within budget.
Autonomous Drones: Drones are the most widely used emerging construction technology. They can conduct site surveys more quickly and accurately than a crew on the ground and are cheaper than aerial imaging. Their high-resolution cameras and the data collected can create interactive 3D or topographical maps and models and take volume measurements. Another benefit of using drones is the ability to inspect hard to reach places safely and ti monitor progress on a job site.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION DIFFICULTIES
If digital transformation is to be implemented across the industry, the solution must be practical.
Adopting digital technologies necessarily requires an initial investment in equipment, software, and training; nevertheless, the benefit of digitalization is not always evident, and the ROI is highly improbable to be visible in the short term. Furthermore, switching methodologies may disrupt the production process and result in backlash. Unless the business needs and current situation are correctly analysed. This will have a negative impact on investment decisions.
The cooperation from all stakeholders becomes an issue for a new technology as it may take time to understand its importance or long term benefits. Lack of standardisation also creates risks on a sectoral level. In a fragmented industry such as construction, it is difficult to develop common standards for all participants at each stage of the construction project. The current lack of common protocols for data sharing and the standardisation of information requirements impedes digital transformation.
Additionally, a tech-savvy workforce is required for the implementation of any technology in any business. According to global surveys, the average age of construction workers is over 40. An ageing workforce finds it extremely difficult to learn and adopt new technologies. Training is also time-consuming and costly.
THE ADVENT OF START-UPS
Despite the numerous challenges that businesses faced during the pandemic, construction start-ups have exploded in the last year. Because the construction industry is notoriously slow to innovate, construction start-ups are capitalising on the growing need for digitization to bring the industry up to speed. The successful construction start-ups strike the ideal balance between developing cutting-edge technologies and leaving room for change.
GOVERNMENT TECH INITIATIVES
The government is employing in its low-cost housing projects (Light House Projects (LHPs) Such as monolithic concrete construction technology from France in Project in Rajkot to make houses strong enough to withstand natural disasters. Similarly, Canadian technology is being used in Lucknow, which eliminates the need for plaster and paint. In Chennai, pre-cast concrete system technology from the United States and Finland is being used to build houses faster and more cheaply. Flats in Ranchi are built using the German 3D construction system where the entire structure will be joined together the way block toys are joined. To combat earthquakes, houses in Agartala are being built with steel frames using New Zealand technology.
Following the lockdown, the Indian construction industry is in recovery mode, and technology has enabled the industry to grow faster than ever before while also delivering projects on time. As digital technology continues to permeate the industry, it is critical for construction firms to prioritise data and analytics as a core competency as the industry poised towards growth opportunities.
INVESTMENTS IN CONSTRUCTION TECH START-UPS IN INDIA HIT RECORD-HIGH LEVELS IN 2021. THE SEGMENT RECEIVED TOTAL FUNDING OF $104.2 MILLION (AS OF JUNE 15, 2021), THE HIGHEST IN THE LAST SEVEN YEARS, ACCORDING TO DATA FROM TRACXN.