From the very first construction project (possibly the addition of an extra room on to a Neanderthal cave) until the late 20th century, construction technology moved at a glacial pace. But in the last few decades, especially the last decade, innovation has taken off.
And if you think the changes in the most recent years have been dizzying, wait for the next couple of decades. The industry is embracing the digital-first world and the technology that streamlines practices, making everyone from surveyors to the finish contractors more efficient and effective.
For example, even at the turn of the 21st century we couldn’t have envisioned how essential virtual and augmented reality would become in everything from the originating idea to construction to maintenance of the finished product. And now we can’t imagine the industry without it.
The speed of innovation has been exhausting to keep up with, but the thing is, innovation will never move this slowly again. So, make sure your hard hat is securely fastened.
With that in mind, and with the massive ConExpo/Con-Agg show taking over Las Vegas this month, we had writer Gavin Schrock assess the construction industry—and the surveyor’s role in it—in reference to the decades-long (perhaps centuries-long) move toward automation. What he found is not leaps and bounds of progress but many, many incremental steps forward that are adding up to an entirely new industry–nothing Neanderthalic about it.
We also found a few other construction-related ideas to write about as ConExpo/Con-Agg approaches. Marc Delgado takes a look at bridges in light of some recent catastrophic events. And in the heart of the Alps, an interesting re-construction of a major events center showed how refining and simplifying typical desktop workflows helped French surveyors realize major efficiencies.
Since ConExpo/Con-Agg only occurs every three years, if you’re headed to Vegas this month, you’re in for an eye-opening experience. And three years from now what you see at the show will likely be very different again.