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How the Internet of Things Affects the Construction Industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing every facet of building: how we live in, manage, and even construct them. Today’s buildings are surrounding by a wide ecosystem, no part of which remains untouched. Here are four ways that the application of IoT in the construction industry is dramatically transforming the build process.

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process that delivers a 3D model of a building. BIM is typically used to depict the systems and structure of a building during the design and construction phases. Changes to one set of plans can automatically update all other affected plans.

BIM can also be used to catalyse smart buildings projects. IoT sensors can be integrated into a model, creating data that can be used to model occupant movements, temperature trends, and energy usage patterns. The output can be examined to improve projects in the future and even improve building operations management.

Green Building

The construction industry produces a lot of landfill waste, which has strengthened interest in sustainable construction and architecture. There is, however, more to green building than keeping waste materials out of landfills. Thanks to the use of IoT in the construction industry, the design and engineering of building systems allows them to use energy management to reduce their environmental impact. Green buildings today can do things like:

  • Close down non-essential systems automatically when the building is empty
  • Automatically open and close louvres to provide access to ideal levels of natural light

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Intelligent Prefab

Prefabricated building components can be more efficient and cost-effective to use than regular methods. As an added bonus, they create less construction waste.

The IoT has helped solve the problem of prefab being too complex for large commercial buildings. RFID sensors can be used to track individual parts through the supply chain. One high-profile and recent example is the construction of London’s Leadenhall Building. It occupies a small footprint but required large prefab components, so coordinating the installation was a complex task. RFID data helped mitigate the effects of downstream construction displays. The data was also included in the BIM after parts were installed, enabling real-time rendering of the building as it progressed as well as establishment as project KPIs and controls.

Construction Management

As the saying goes, time is money and construction project delays can be expensive. The good news is that the IoT can help you prevent critical heavy equipment from going out of commission and hindering the progress of all the other trades at work.

Sensors are now being applied to heavy construction equipment, enabling the remote monitoring of excessive vibrations, temperature fluctuations, and other potential maintenance problems. When the sensors detect abnormal patterns, they issue alerts that can trigger maintenance workers to investigate and correct the problem before important equipment fails. This type of predictive maintenance can save time and money and protect your construction projects from unnecessary delays.

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