04.07.2018 | By Arlinda Sipilä

The construction industry is going digital and things are moving fast. We dug a little deeper into a few key areas which are likely to have a great impact on the industry in the years to come.

In this new weekly series, we will discuss the emerging 6 key trends in the construction industry, one topic at a time. If you would prefer, you can also download the whole 6 Key trends in the construction industry article now in PDF format.

Key trends in the construction industry

The construction industry, often seen as a relatively conservative field, has over the last few years started to change rapidly. New technology has become available, and it is helping to make construction processes both simpler and easier to manage.

“You can see the parallels with the vehicle industry, which was able to streamline its production processes at an early stage. Eight to ten years ago, the construction industry started heading in the same direction, and now things are moving fast”, says Markus Waser, Head of Training in Construction Technology and Community Construction at Yrgo in Gothenburg.

VR, AR and MR – they’re here to help

Simply by donning a pair of glasses, you can now find out what it’s like to walk around a building that hasn’t been built yet. The use of Virtual Reality in construction projects is becoming increasingly common. For example, you can now take a VR stroll around the Slussen area of Stockholm and see how it will look once the extensive redevelopment project is complete. The Karlatornet building in Gothenburg, which will be the highest building in Northern Europe, can also be experienced as a VR model, Markus Waser tells us.

“I’ve stood on top of the skyscraper and looked out over Hysingen, long before the construction work began. VR helps to provide a better understanding of the project for everyone involved: builders, decision-makers and residents alike. This technology is going to see heavy expansion, and the function will be built into mobile phones. Instead of putting on a pair of big VR glasses, all you’ll need to do is hold up your phone. Most people will have the technological capability in their pockets”, says Markus.

AR stands for Augmented Reality, which means adding digital information to the real world around us – think Pokémon Go. For example, this technology can be used to allow us to see installations in existing buildings, such as how a pipe runs through a roof or a wall.

MR stands for Mixed Reality, which is a combination of VR and AR. This means that the virtual object in question is anchored so well in reality that it seems to be part of the real world – just like a hologram. With this technology, a building owner can walk out onto their site, put on their glasses and see their as-yet-unbuilt building in full scale. You can see how it will look if you make a few tweaks or zoom in on the details. You can even go into the house and experience it before it is built, see the view from different windows, check how moving a wall will affect the feel of the room, or look at a cross-section of the wall. This technology will also be important for the installation industry.