The Seven Coolest Construction Technologies for 2023
Considering that the Jetson's TV show debuted the first flying family car in 1962, it's a little disappointing that hover cars, teleportation, and other futuristic technologies still do not exist.
But even though it’s not (yet) possible to teleport building materials, there are some very cool construction technology advances that we’re looking forward to in 2023.
The seven coolest construction technologies in 2023:
- Self-repairing materials
- 3D printing
- BIM (Building Information Modeling)
- Virtual reality in planning and design
- Automated data collection and workflows
- Sustainability technology
Read on to see why we think these futuristic construction technologies—that you can use today—are going to go big in 2023!
1. Self-healing Building Materials
Pothole, heal thyself.
In 2023, technologies like self-healing concrete made from fungi might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. Some technologies are being developed using bacteria or enzymes to create self-healing concrete (Concrete is estimated to be responsible for around 8% of global CO2 emissions.)
Other materials, like this synthetic construction building material developed by MIT that can strengthen and grow itself—meaning stronger and more durable structures, and longer time in between maintenance.
2. Construction Drones
Construction is already a top industry that is leveraging commercial drones to map, survey, inspect, and map worksite areas; and we think they're going to get even more broadly used in 2023.
Drones give contractors an overhead and close-up view with images and video, and collecting data with other technologies like thermal sensors and GPS tools. Advances in drone technology mean they are able to fly over building sites and install materials or components without human assistance: saving time and labor costs, reducing waste, and simplifying logistics.
Drone technology has the potential to improve safety on job sites when working in areas that may be difficult or dangerous for people to access. Drones also promotes efficiency on the jobsite, because they require minimal manual labor.
2. 3D Construction Printing
3D printing has revolutionized construction technology in recent years, as new, more durable and lighter weight materials are replacing wood and stone. With the emergence of 3D printing for construction, construction workers have the capability to create forms with an accuracy and precision that was previously unheard of. This more efficient construction process helps to save time for construction projects, allowing for faster completion times.
Additionally, 3D printed construction materials are often cost effective due to the decreased need for labor and shipping costs associated with traditional construction methods. We expect this technology to become more widely available, and new building materials created, in 2023.
3. BIM: Building Information Modeling
BIM, or building information modeling, is a resource for a common data environment that stakeholders can consult throughout the life of a project. BIM models include graphical information, non-graphical information, relevant documents, and other data that users will need to understand and carry out a project.
Using BIM allows everyone to work from the same models, which reduces errors, increases the accuracy of construction bids, facilitates better communication, and makes it easier to share audit history and other obligatory information.
4. Augmented and Virtual Reality Tools
Architects and construction workers now have access to virtual reality technology that enables them to accurately test out designs, plan projects and create virtual 3D models of their build specifications. Tools like Trimble Connect AR, for example, lets you see models onsite, in context with your mobile phone or tablet.
The virtual environment helps construction professionals in this field to undertake complex engineering tasks with stunning visuals, a wider range of materials than available in the real world and collaborative working options.
Augmented and virtual reality tools are starting to replace traditional methods like paper blueprints with interactive visualizations. It allows for a deeper exploration of the project compared to manual planning, leading to better results and a great deal of saved time. Therefore virtual reality tools are becoming essential for architects and construction workers in order to make sure that their work is planning out correctly.
6. Automated Data Collection and Cloud-based Workflows
Up-to-date information has always been critical for construction contractors: This need is as old as time. What’s new is the huge volume of construction data that is being collected; and more importantly, turning all that data into actionable information that can accessed by the right people.
7. Sustainability Technology
Sustainability is a top of mind for many construction companies in 2023. Many of the cool technologies we’ve discussed already have the additional benefit of advancing sustainability; but there are many new technologies that make it easier to reduce emissions, waste, and use fewer resources and less energy. (The construction industry generates 39% of the world's carbon emissions.) Some of the coolest new sustainable technologies are:
- Solar panels generate power, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
- Biodegradable materials, like cork, bamboo, and even mycelium
- Low-carbon cross laminated timber (CLT) is projected to more than triple in use by 2030
- Prefabrication and modular building materials, which lessen the environmental impact
It’s an exciting time to be looking ahead at construction technology, even if hover-cars (hover-cranes? hover-bulldozers??) are still a few years away.