Before construction can begin, building design must be performed. Promising technologies are trending in the construction industry as architects take advantage of building information modeling (BIM) and virtual design. These advancements feature astounding breakthroughs that not only impact how architects design structures but also affect how structures are built and, ultimately, operate.

1. 3D Laser Scanning:

If this technology was previously out of reach for a building design firm’s budget, you may want to have another look. Improvements in software and data importing capabilities are making 3D field-scanning technologies more affordable. And what’s not to love about 3D laser scanning? It captures the shape and appearance of a site. This information is converted, in the cloud, to data that can be imported to a model. Is it worth the investment? Efficiency gains on projects can sometimes pay for the equipment within a single building project. Also consider the consulting fees being replaced by what the technology delivers. Greater accuracy in the planning stages will also serve to minimize planning errors that become costly to correct down the road.

2. Energy Performance Modeling:

The old days of the time-consuming exercise of energy modeling are over. Today’s building designers can do in hours what once took days. The latest innovations in design software equips construction professionals with conceptual design tools that create single-purpose models without the need to invest in specialists and consultants. Workflow is streamlined, allowing energy analysis on demand and even in the field. Need to know if solar heat gain during summer months is off balance and the design requires a bit of tweaking? You don’t have to wait a week or two for your answer. BIM advances condense the time required to gather and analyze energy performance information quickly so design changes can be implemented even on the fly.

3. Pre-Fab:

Pre-fabricated modules and pods are becoming increasingly popular. This may not seem like technology. However, for the design phase of a construction project that includes modular components equipped with mechanical equipment or plumbing infrastructure, technology is required. Before the modules are installed a conceptual design must determine the path of travel for electrical conduits and the maze of plumbing and pipes. It must all fit together perfectly. The constraint upon the construction industry has always been this puzzle aspect. Advances in BIM make it possible not only to be accurate but to also have design and construction flexibility on today’s building projects. Modern prefabrication projects no longer have the appearance of cookie-cutter structures with little design variation. They can now be architecturally and functionally unique while still enjoying the efficiency and economy of modular construction.

4. Cloud Management:

Why is the cloud becoming so popular with building design teams for managing and storing data? Two main reasons that come to mind are capacity and collaboration. Hard drives never seem to have enough space to satisfy the massive amounts of data required for designers. The cloud’s storage capacity is virtually limitless. Access to data in the cloud is also tetherless. Every member of a design team can access information from anywhere at anytime. For data sharing and storage, the sky’s the limit, so to speak, when building design takes to the cloud.

5. Lean Construction:

Efficiency is one more way to increase a project’s profit margin. In other words, to make money a company also has to save money. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is one aspect of making a project’s budget a bit leaner. Pre-fab modules are part of a lean construction model. Certain components with pre-fab pods can be created with technology rather than man-power. Think investing in CAM technology is too expensive to save a company money in the long run? Consider this $4.9 billion Brooklyn project, the B2, a 32-story building. About 60% of the project’s construction was completed off-site as CAM built modules. Once completed, B2 became the world’s tallest building constructed of CAM modular technology with a savings of about 25% as compared to the cost of standard construction.

If you are interested in changing your own game in the building design and construction industry, the right technology consultants can help you get equipped with the best software and online tools.