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Use of New Technologies on Construction Sites

TECHNOLOGYUse of New Technologies on Construction Sites

In the face of growing ecological and social awareness, modern technologies can significantly contribute to the implementation of new sustainable development standards in the construction sector. However, as indicated by the technological supplement to the Colliers’ report, “ESG at the construction site”, despite the availability of innovative tools, the path to full adaptation and use of their potential by the construction industry is still long and full of challenges.

Optimisation using integrated systems

Existing solutions already allow construction companies to significantly reduce waste, limit the carbon footprint of construction, and optimised consumption of materials. They also allow for the collection and management of environmental data on construction sites. Key processes of digitalisation and data analysis in contemporary construction are implemented within digital platforms of the common working environment – Common Data Environment (CDE). They provide engineers with tools for managing the construction process and project managers for investment coordination.

According to Colliers’ data presented in the “Technology and ESG at the construction site” supplement, construction companies appreciate the CDE primarily for the ability to make decisions efficiently, data security, electronic document flow, clear communication, and saving time on administrative work. Despite these advantages, only 32.4% of construction companies have so far implemented the CDE platform or a similar electronic construction information management system. 33.8% of companies still do not use such tools, and 23.9% are in the process of implementing them.

Broad application of VR and AR

Other solutions that slowly enter the construction sites are virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). The use of cameras working in a field of 360° view allows for precise tracking of construction progress and identification of potential causes of problems in the future. Nonetheless, data indicates that only 35.2% of construction companies use these technologies in construction, while 53.5% still do not use either VR or AR. However, according to the report, they also have potential as training and preventive tools. They can be used for simulating dangerous jobs in training new employees, preparing them to operate heavy machinery, or for evacuation and safety training.

“Augmented Reality (AR) also revolutionizes the way of visualising and implementing projects,” explains Edyta Chromiec, Associate Director, ESG Strategic Advisory at Colliers. “By integrating AR technology with BIM (Building Information Modeling) models, companies can overlay the digital image of the structure directly onto the real construction environment, which not only enables more efficient coordination of work but also reduces potential execution errors. Thanks to AR, project execution becomes more interactive and precise, which is crucial, especially in complex construction elements and installations, where the risk of collision is greatest,” adds Edyta Chromiec.

AR usage also has an ecological dimension – it allows to reduce the impact of construction on the environment by minimising waste and optimising the use of raw materials.

Predicting and avoiding hazards thanks to BIM

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is increasingly asserting its presence in the construction industry. It not only becomes a tool for effective project management but also a guarantor of safety for people working at the construction site. However, despite growing interest and obvious benefits from using this solution, over half of the respondents (53.4%) from the Colliers’ survey indicate that project designs in their company do not use BIM technology. Currently, BIM is used more frequently in the office sector and in the construction of multifunctional complexes, where respectively 63.6% and 57.1% of respondents declared that most investments are made using this technology. Conversely, in the residential sector, only 10% of representatives from this segment claim that their company builds according to a design made in BIM technology.

Transforming construction supervision

Technological development also allows the use of 4D and 5D models, enabling an integrated approach to planning and monitoring progress of work, as well as budget control. With them, various construction scenarios can be simulated in real-time, considering many variables such as human resources availability, equipment, logistics, and environmental factors. This means not only the optimisation of construction processes but may also result in significant time and resources savings along with greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Towards greater emissions control

Innovation has also reached heavy equipment. Construction telematics open new possibilities for fleet management, monitoring their efficiency and – crucially – emissions control. This technology aggregates data about location, speed, engine diagnostics, combustion, generated emissions, and engine operating hours. This information is transmitted via GPS and can be used to analyse the performance and operation of construction equipment. Constructors foresee that the use of telematic systems can revolutionise internal transport and heavy equipment operation on the construction site. Despite these prospects, statistics show that the majority of construction companies have not yet implemented these systems – 67.3% of respondents from the construction sector report that they are not familiar with the use of telematics systems in managing construction machinery fleet. Only 32.7% of respondents confirm their usage, which suggests significant space for popularisation and adaptation of these solutions.

“The Polish construction sector is on the right track to achieve a new quality in managing construction projects. The use of new technologies and strategies that focus on efficiency, safety, and environmental aspects demonstrates the industry’s commitment to building a future that is not only more efficient but also more sustainable,” summarises Edyta Chromiec from Colliers. “Implementing innovations such as BIM, virtual and augmented reality, or telematics, although challenging, brings many benefits. Enterprises that implement innovations and sustainable practices most effectively and quickly will become undisputed leaders in transforming the Polish construction industry,” adds Edyta Chromiec.

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