The construction industry in the United States accounts for more than 6% of the United States’ GDP. For that reason, stakeholders in the sector are working together to improve the efficiency of all operations while promoting safety. Construction firms are increasingly embracing technology as an effective way to manage risks in construction sites.
All construction projects should adopt an effective risk management plan to reduce cases of injuries and fatalities in work zones. Some of the common risks in the sector include safety hazards, poor budgeting, and bad site conditions. Construction experts link these risks directly to construction projects, and any mitigation strategy would directly impact a project.
In this article, we look at top-notch technologies that can help construction managers and contractors to prevent and mitigate different risks in a construction project.
Various technologies can be used in construction based on the stages of the project, from designing the building to the final project execution. Here are some of the technology tools that can reduce risks in a construction site.
1. High-Tech Sensors
Contractors use high-tech sensors to protect both the workers and property. Construction companies can fit sensors onto equipment and work zones to measure and monitor humidity, temperature, volatile organic compounds, dust particulates, and noise levels in a construction site.
Besides, contractors use fire and water sensors in construction sites to manage risks. Recently, two Texas-based companies, Technical Risks Underwriters (TRU) and Fedora Security, worked together to design an ultrasonic device that can detect water flow and leakages after hours in the site. If triggered, it sends real-time signals to a security station.
2. Video Guards
Another risk management tool that most contractors use in construction sites is the video guard. While most contractors employ guards on construction sites, they may not be effective in protecting big construction sites.
With video analytics technology, a contractor doesn’t need to hire a guard to monitor the site. If the software detects any movement, including fire flames, within a defined perimeter, it gets triggered and automatically sends an alert.
Construction sites can choose to install an electronic surveillance system and hire a guard as well. Unlike guards, a video security system can intercept intruders promptly.
3. Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Construction engineers use BIM to generate and manage a digital representation of a construction site. It complements 3-D modelling that only gives information about the design and space of a building.
Besides presenting the design of a building, the BIM can evaluate the cost, maintenance, schedule, pre-fabrication, and duration of a construction project. Contractors can use this information to make informed decisions, produce high-quality documents, predict construction performance, and closing a project at par with client expectations. In regard to managing project closeouts, a popularly voiced concern among contractors is getting paid on time; Procore Technologies breaks down how contractors can take advantage of different lien waivers if stuck in an invoicing ruckus.
Taking stock of such risks, BIM helps reduce errors using a conflict detection mechanism. The technology, when paired with VR devices, relates various drawing parts of a building to the whole building model. The fact that BIM handles building information makes it easy to reduce risks.
Drones are becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry and can be used to assess dangerous zones in a construction area. When damages occur in a construction site, and the situation is declared risky, contractors must not send workers to inspect it.
Additionally, drones can access hard-to-reach areas in a construction site, including high structures and bridges. It uses digital photography to assess the entire construction site, saving a lot of time and money.
Outfitting worker safety gear with wearables is an effective way to mitigate safety risks. Contractors use wearables for many reasons, but most importantly, to track and monitor the movements of workers in a construction area.
Construction wearables include high-tech hats, vests, wrist bands, and belt clips. They are designed to alert workers to potentially hazardous zones. Additionally, they can send signals to construction managers, informing them of emergencies. Some wearables even measure the health of workers, including body temperature and heartbeat rate.
6. Tower Crane Cameras
Operating heavy machinery like tower cranes at a site’s blindspots poses risks to the operator and other employees in the construction area. Installing cameras on tower cranes can improve visibility during adverse weather conditions.
Having perfect visibility at every point in the construction site increases the safety of workers. It minimizes potential fatalities and injury of machine operators. The cameras can also be used in other machinery such as excavators, luffing boom cranes, and truck cranes.
With the help of technology, many construction firms have experienced steady growth in terms of risk management. Today, there are few cases of injuries and fatalities resulting from the collapse of buildings, tower cranes, and bridges. Construction managers can easily monitor and supervise a project without ambiguity.