Posted on: May 11, 2020
By Anil Sawhney, Mike Riley, and Javier Irizarry
With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the resulting framework of Industry 4.0, the built environment sector also has the opportunity to leapfrog to more efficient production, business models, and value chains. Such a transformation is possible through the convergence of existing and emerging technologies that form part of the Industry 4.0 paradigm. This transformative framework is called Construction 4.0. But what are the benefits of this new framework and how will it enhance and improve the industry? This blog showcases 10 benefits of Construction 4.0 generated from several studies.
Enabling an innovative environment
The Construction 4.0 framework may provide the right mix of enablers to allow the innovation mindset to take root in the industry. Through an integration of the physical and digital layer, it is likely that this innovation will lead to integrated solutions that will strike at the heart of horizontal, vertical, and longitudinal fragmentation that currently dominates the industry.
The integrated framework of Construction 4.0 allows the industry to fully embrace a life cycle approach and ensure prudent use of resources with a significant reduction in energy usage and emissions.
Improving the image of the industry
The construction industry suffers from an image problem caused by several factors. It is well known for its harsh working environment and its low level of automation and digitization. The digital and physical technologies of Construction 4.0 can improve the image of the industry by transforming the work, the worker, and the workplace, and make it more attractive for recruitment and retention of talent.
Use of industrialized construction supported by digital technologies, BIM, and CDE, can help reduce inefficiencies and waste. Robotics and automation can result in a reduction in direct costs. Real-time access to the physical layer with abundance of data will improve decision making and provide financial incentives for project teams to collaborate and innovate.
Modern methods of construction like prefabrication, additive manufacturing, and on-site assembly will improve the speed of construction. With real-time access to field data, any potential delays can be avoided, resulting in time savings.
Conceptual illustration of Construction 4.0 framework
Construction 4.0 will enhance site safety. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) based training, wearable technologies, IoT based connectivity of objects, things, and people, image and video processing can enhance safety.
Better time and cost predictability
With real-time monitoring, automated site data collection, image processing, AI, and analytics tools the time and cost predictability of ongoing projects can be improved. Availability of large volumes of historical data and information can help set benchmarks for early time and cost prediction of new projects, thereby allowing longitudinal integration.
The horizontal and vertical integration resulting from the adoption of Construction 4.0 framework allows the monitoring and control of the design and production processes, thereby improving the quality of construction.
Improving collaboration and communication
Use of cloud-based project management tools, Blockchain, central repository of information and real-time data access enhances trust among the project team members and enhances communication, coordination, and collaboration.
Customer and end-user centric world view
With the reduction in tedious and repetitive tasks, the project team focuses on creating value and focusing on what matters most to the customer.
This blog is an excerpt of Chapter 1.6 Benefits of Construction 4.0 from the book Construction 4.0: An Innovation Platform for the Built Environment by Anil Sawhney, Michael Riley, Javier Irizarry