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The paper presents an overview of innovative solutions in Construction Industry (CI) between 2016 and 2018. Trends in events within CI were compiled mainly on the basis of reports, to a large extent originating from the US market.Directions and conditions of development of CI (in terms of design, technology and socio-economic sense) are considered. The importance of issues related to digitization, integrated activities (from integrated management to the integrated BIM), and partly augmented reality were highlighted. An attempt to synthesize new instruments in Construction Management has been presented.
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Engineering Structures and Technologies
ISSN 2029-882X / eISSN 2029-8838
2018 Volume 10 Issue 1: 27–33
https://doi.org/10.3846/est.2018.1469
*Corresponding author. E-mail: oleg.kaplinski@put.poznan.pl
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
REVIEW OF 2016–2018 EVENTS AND TRENDS
Oleg KAPLIŃSKI*
Faculty of Architecture (IAP), Poznan University of Technology, 60-965 Poznan, Nieszawska 13c, Poland
Received 28 January 2018; accepted 21 March 2018
Abstract. e paper presents an overview of innovative solutions in Construction Industry (CI) between 2016 and 2018.
Trends in events within CI were compiled mainly on the basis of reports, to a large extent originating from the US market.
Directions and conditions of development of CI (in terms of design, technology and socio-economic sense) are considered.
e importance of issues related to digitization, integrated activities (from integrated management to the integrated BIM),
and partly augmented reality were highlighted. An attempt to synthesize new instruments in Construction Management
has been presented.
Keywords: construction innovations, construction industry, trends, review.
Introduction
Innovation, modern approach, inspiration, changes are
leitmotifs which shape economic reality. Innovations are
needed for the subject inspiring these changes while pre-
serving the interest of the environment. e aim is (con-
sciously or subconsciously) for the changes to be consist-
ent with the paradigms of sustainable development.
e specic character of Construction Industry ranges
wide: from design solutions, technological and technical and
economic solutions, decision-making methods, through to
organizational solutions and ecient management. From a
company point of view there are three basic types of inno-
vation: through research and development (R & D), pur-
chase of know-how, acquisition of the so-called material
technologies (innovative structures, machines, materials).
e paper deals with the rst group of issues, with
emphasis on solutions in the eld of Construction Man-
agement. e text it does not cover issues such as risk of
innovation, competition, indicating only the characteristic
trends in the development of innovation in Construction
Industry.
Construction industry has always been a subject of
interest not only for businessmen but for dierent institu-
tions, too (c.f., Czarnecki et al., 2017a, 2017b; Kanapeck-
iene, Kaklauskas, Zavadskas, & Seniut, 2010; Kapliński &
Zavadskas, 2002; Kapliński, Werner, Kosecki, Biernacki, &
Kuczmarski, 2002; Kapliński, Dziadosz, & Zioberski, 2011;
Kapliński & Zavadskas, 2002). ere have been many re-
ports and although they dier, trends in progress of tech-
nology, methods, organization, etc can be noticed. Most
popular and most oen read are those reports and portals
which are based on information from the US market (e.g.,
Kapliński, 2017).
e overview of the main trends is the subject of this
paper.
1. Forecasts for 2016
e American portal ForConstructionPros.com publish-
es 10 construction trends shaping the industry in 2016
and beyond (ForConstructionPros, 2016). Two problem
groups (trends) can be distinguished, i.e. from modelling,
3D printing, and above all, smart buildings, through to
BIM supported work organization and safety. It has been
synthetically shown in Figure 1. Each of the ten trends
includes the author’s comments below, characterizing a
given trend.
It is worth noting that some of the other trends for
2016 are shown by Peier (2016a).
2. Trends for 2017
Phenomena and trends presented above (see Figure 1)
are going to reach Europe with certain latency. e 2016
accounts have not been “done” yet, and American econo-
28 O. Kapliński. Innovative solutions in construction industry. Review of 2016–2018 events and trends
mists already predict increased spending on construction
industry in 2017 by 5% compared to last year. However,
there is a new phenomenon, i.e. increased uncertainty
caused by changes in the central government– aer the
election of the new president.
Quite a credible report from Dodge Data & Analytics
indicates the following ten trends 2017 (Dodge Market-
Share™, 2017; Peier, 2017, see also SmartMarket Report,
2017; Lindsay, 2015).
ere are forms of organization of the investment
process which will consolidate. Design-bid-Build
system will be of marginal signicance. Two ways of
practical implementation of an investment will con-
solidate, i.e. Design and build and P3 system (Public-
Private Partnerships). ese two systems of practical
implementation of an investment have been favoured
by the US market for many years. e third system,
which will consolidate in the market is integrated de-
signing, aer modications called Integrated Project
Delivery (IPD).
Shortage of manpower in the construction industry
will be the weakest link. e crisis in the construction
industry from ten years is still lingering. e report
indicates that from April 2006 to January 2011, the
construction industry lost 40% of its workforce. In-
adequate condition of vocational education is empha-
sized. Nonetheless, it is still an attractive, well paid job.
ere is a sense of insecurity, primarily among con-
tractors, related to potential changes in legislation,
taxation and employment policies. e uncertainty is
the result of an imbalance between the new govern-
ment administration and construction industry. e
lack of balance is, nevertheless, not going to aect
the 2018 results.
Modular and prefabricated structures, although they
are nothing new, nonetheless will gain a stronger po-
sition in the market. is trend continues from the
previous period and is caused by the need for quality,
with the view to shortening lead times and introduc-
ing proper discipline to work organization.
e announcement of increased spending on infra-
structure, which is clear from the election campaign.
e emphasis is on reconstruction of existing infra-
structure as well as nancing under P3. Companies
regard this announcement with limited optimism.
Information technologies. Almost revolutionary so-
lutions regarding jobs are expected to transpire as the
result of digitization and articial intelligence. Such
systems as IoT (Internet of ings) and Business In-
telligence are going to dominate. Everything is geared
towards planning and taking decisions in real time.
e construction industry is still inuenced by new
technologies.
Increase in prices of building materials and labour
cost. A signicant jump in prices of materials is ex-
pected, but companies are going to keep margins at
the current level. Because of the shortage of skilled
workers, the average salary will increase (higher than
the national average, anyway).
Increase the importance of VR and AR, or else Virtu-
al and Augmented Reality technologies. Virtual and
extended space of activity, particularly useful in the
stages of design, management and organization of the
building site itself. Companies envisage training in
this area, even on an international scale. e follow-
ing benets, among others, are mentioned: detecting
errors in advance, avoiding costs of mistakes, detect-
ing safety risks, monitoring work sites.
Strengthening of the trend which, in the near future,
will make sustainable construction more a norm than
an exception. Indirectly, it is the matter of reduction
of energy costs and creating jobs. is trend is ex-
pected to continue, despite the attitude of uncertainty
towards the current administration.
e trend to respect the workplace, prevalent in the
previous period, is going to continue. is trend
is multi-faceted, as it ranges from fair invoicing of
works performed to high penalties for accidents at
the building site.
Figure 1. Ten construction trends shaping the industry in 2016 and beyond
1. Detailed 3D BIM 2. Cost and schedule modeling
with 5D Macro-BIM 3. Pre-fabrication 4. Energy-saving
building systems 5. Smart buildings
7. Robotic automation 8. Unmanned Aerial
Vehicles (UAVs)
9. 3D Printing
in construction
6. Integrated mobile technology
and information on jobsites 10. Enhanced jobsite
safety
Currently, standard,
addition:
Modeling
Coordination
Collision Detection
Step towards:
IPD
BIM
LCC
Of-site orders
Combining
3D BIM
Life cycle cost
analys ing,
Sustainable
return on
investment
Using custom applications
on mobile devices
Reducing labor costs
Monitoring
Remote access
Repetitive works
Qualification
requirements
needed
-Quality
-Time saving
Digitization of
construction site
Remote jobsite
monitoring
Required 3D printer
and extruder Revisions of existing
safety requirements
modeling
in
with
are
TRENDSCOMENTS
Engineering Structures and Technologies, 2018, 10(1): 27–33 29
3. New developments for 2018
Forecasts for 2018 do not dier signicantly from fore-
casts for previous years. Based on publications of several
authors and research institutions (Akbar, 2017; Claire,
2017; Jones, 2018; Menard, 2018; Slowey, March, & Cow-
in, 2018; Tiltwall Ontario Inc., 2018) the following conclu-
sions can be drawn:
the trends may be stronger
labour force shortages,
the interest in prefab and modular construction con-
tinues to grow,
hopes for solving problems related to labour, safety
and productivity thanks to new technological solu-
tions are growing.
In addition, the importance of the triangle BIM –
VR – Green Construction relationship is accentuated
(Akbar, 2017).
DConstuctionDIVE (USA) according to the Dodge
Data & Analytics research (Slowey et al., 2018) indicates
growing dependence (and hopes) on technology, and af-
ter the failures in 2017 (market uctuations, unexpected
events), advocates resiliency and management exibility.
Canadian company Tiltwall Ontario Inc. (2018) and
Californian SKYSITE (2017) clearly point to: various
dimensions of BIM, including 4D (time), 5D (cost), 6D
(as-built operation), 7D (sustainability), 8D (safety); Aug-
mented Reality; Robotics & Exoskeletons; IoT; Drones;
Cloud Computing; Mobile Field Software; AI; Smart
Buildings; and even on Self-Driving Vehicles. All these
solutions will inuence construction industry, but a new
context also appears: it is about making life easier for us.
4. Structural, technical and
socio-economic aspects
Without structural and technical solutions (including
technical equipment in the building) construction it-
self can not be considered. You can look even wider, i.e.
through paradigms of sustainable development. ere
are many interesting sites, reports that present data from
rapidly emerging markets. e Chinese market is a good
example.
Special Innovation Awards are granted. Unfortunately,
prizes are not awarded for overall (A-Z) solutions, but for
individual elements in the building (e.g., for elevations),
design methods, and ways of practical implementation.
Not all interesting ideas are published. Some solutions
are limited by patent claims.
An example of recent awards in the area of „Innova-
tions in high-rise building design” is provided in (Building
Design+Construction, 2016; CTBUH and BD+C STAFF,
2015.
A European Union Report (Probst, Monfardini, Fri-
deres, & Cedola, 2014) commenting on Smart construction
products and processes pays close attention to socio-eco-
nomic relevance, including demographical change, envi-
ronmental factor, better quality of life. Commenting on
socio-economic issues in the smart context is very brave,
solutions are sought for in three areas:
e creation of new markets and jobs,
Bringing smarter construction processes and prod-
ucts to the market,
Client perspectives and challenges related to the up-
take of smart construction technologies, including
two aspects:
Knowledge challenges: (lack of awareness by builders
of the new advancements available in the eld of con-
struction results in poor execution of constructions),
Risk avoidance challenges (this is related to the large
amounts of capital invested).
5. A look at the Summit of the Americas
e interesting RICS Forum (e Summit of the Ameri-
cas), in conjunction with e World Built Environment
Forum (WBEF) was held in April 2016 in Washington.
A number of issues were debated which, as it turns
out, are characteristic not only for American builders, but
also for other areas of the world. ree trends can be iden-
tied clearly among them (Peier, 2016b).
e rst one is related to selection and analysis of a
mass of information, in other words, BIG DATA. One of
the basic elements of the spatial modeller– e.g. Autodesk.
e motto of this trend is not only the modelling of dif-
ferent cases, but also use of the information in budgeting
and scheduling. e information is stored in the cloud,
and drones are also used to acquire information.
e second trend concerns durability of the building,
impact on the environment, the value of the assets life cy-
cle (including operating costs) which, in a nutshell, can
be described as “high-performing buildings”. Engineers
there realize that the cost of construction itself is a small
percentage of the total cost of the building’s life. e cost
of maintaining the building over 30 years is a multiple of
the cost of its construction. However, it was stressed that
a tall building is more ecient to operate and use because
the impact of the ongoing costs of maintenance and re-
pairs decreases.
e third trend concerns the agreements and partner-
ships, and therefore applies to legislation (contracts) and
organizations (cooperation). e importance of public-
private partnership (P3) is constantly growing. Despite
technological innovation being introduces in construc-
tion industry, the signicance of a formal contract is
unchanged. However, its scope must be adapted to new
requirements. It is emphasized that organization of the in-
vestment process according to P3 requires specic mana-
gerial knowledge.
6. Towards Augmented Realty
Basing on surveys published in 2016 (Jackson, 2016; Pei-
er, 2016a, 2016b) some conclusions can be drawn as to
factors which will have a signicant impact on design and
30 O. Kapliński. Innovative solutions in construction industry. Review of 2016–2018 events and trends
implementation in the near future. ey are as follows
(short explanations are given in parentheses):
1. Building information modelling
2. Robots
3. Visualisation and virtual reality
4. Internet of things (IoT, connection with BIG DATA).
See the comments in (Kapliński, Košeleva, &
Ropaitė, 2016)
5. Lockable composite road plates (for quick repairs
of road surface)
6. Aerogel (ultra-light, synthetic porous material– as
thermal insulation)
7. Drones
8. 3D printing and digital o-site manufacturing
9. MassMotion (change of transport infrastructure, ad-
aptation to the changing needs of the mass of pas-
sengers, new requirements in terms of soware, the
use of articial intelligence)
10. SoundLab (not just noise problems but also com-
munication through sounds)
It is worth noting that the benet from the application
of these factors will rank higher when they are taken into
consideration already at the stage of preliminary design.
ese are material, technological and organizational
solutions already included within the scope of augment-
ed realty (AR), or a system that connects the real world
with computer-generated reality. A year earlier, Raconteur
platform presented trends/innovations (Jackson, 2015)
whose synthesis is shown in Figure 2. ree out of the
ten innovations: cloud collaboration, asset mapping and
predictive soware conrmed the observation regarding
AR. e kinetic roads innovation should be understood as
converting kinetic energy into electrical energy produced
by moving vehicles.
e trend in the development of Augmented Realty
continues. is is evident in several forecasts for 2018: Ak-
bar, 2017; Slowey et al., 2018; Tiltwall Ontario Inc., 2018.
7. An attempt of a synthesis
Is it possible to make a résumé of these trends? eir com-
parison is not even desirable, because they relate to very
dierent aspects, i.e. from design and technology of con-
struction to the economic issues. Below is an attempt of
a synthesis but in the area of construction management.
is synthesis uses earlier individual own research
(Kapliński, 2008, 2009, 2015; Kapliński & Peldschus,
2011) and team research: Gajzler (2016), Dziadosz, Tom-
czyk, and Kapliński (2015), Dziadosz and Kończak (2016),
Kalibatas, Kalibatienė, and Kapliński (2018), Turskis,
Gajzler, and Dziadosz (2012), Zavadskas, Turskis, and
Tamošaitiene (2008), Zima and Leśniak (2013).
In order to discuss technology and management tools
in the construction industry (CI), one should refer to the
eighties, when Manufacturing Resource Planning pro-
gram, and later Enterprise Resource Planning began to be
implemented in construction industry. From that moment
Production Resources Planning really begun. Currently, we
are witnessing another breakthrough which is called Aug-
mented Reality (AR). It is a system which combines the
real world with computer-generated reality. AR elements
are shown in Figure 3. An inspiration for such graphic
form was a World Economic Forum report, Committed to
Improving the State of the Word, published in 2016: World
Economic Forum (2016). Figure 3 is an attempt to indicate
the rank and importance on new technologies– in the im-
pact-likelihood setting, however, it does not coincide with
the matrix presented in (World Economic Forum, 2016).
e range of AR in the area of CI covers, e.g. systems
of wireless monitoring systems (including specic imple-
mentations, technology, safety, costs, and control of pro-
duction). Large group of issues is formed by the Integrated
IT systems. ere is, for example, Integrated Management,
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Integrated BIM so im-
portant today and BLM (Building Life Cycle Manage-
ment), IoT (Internet of ings), Case-Base Reasoning and
other. Of course, in the future, we will not be ale to do
without BIG DATA (analysis) and cloud.
What is becoming important is correct organizational
factors such as: Real-time mobile collaboration. In order
for those factors and trends to be eectively implemented,
legislative conditions must come to existence. Also, work
must proceed in favourable structures, i.e. in systems of
organization and realization of investments, including P3
system, so cherished in the American market.
e issues of the structure life cycle have been placed
on the right side as Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA). It
is the synergy of other items listed in the drawing and
described in the preceding paragraphs. It brings together
not only operating costs, but also the issues of energy ef-
ciency and sustainable development. e need to imple-
ment LCCA in the EU follows up the EU Directive (Direc-
tive 2010/31/EU).
Figure 2. Innovations taking into account the augmented realty
1
SELF-HEALING
CONCRETE
2
THERMAL
BRIDGING
3
PHOTOVOLTAIC
GLAZING
4
KINETIC
FOOTFALL
5
KINETIC ROADS
6
PREDICTIVE
SOFTWARE
8
MODULAR
CONSTRUCTION
9
CLOUD
COLLABORATION
10
ASSET MAPPING
7
3D MODELLING
Engineering Structures and Technologies, 2018, 10(1): 27–33 31
8. Commercialization of innovative approaches–
trends in Construction Industry
Reviewing commercialization of innovative approach-
es in CI it is obvious that changes are exciting but they
require money and knowledge. What does the commercial
US market oer to developers and users? Companies op-
erate on the basis of commercial law and are not limited
to consulting (oering the “key to success”) but also to
the foundations of education. Based on the Nationwide
Construction (blog) companies’ most spectacular achieve-
ments are in the following areas (Nationwide Construc-
tion, 2016):
Renewable Energy and Sustainability, including solar
installations, heating and cooling layouts, sustainable
building materials. All solutions sell well,
Virtual and Augmented Reality Modelling, within
this area– new ways to model and visualize a proper-
ty or renovation project, sophisticated digital models.
Today, it is a commercial determinant of a company,
Prefabricated Commercial Construction, including
advertising streamlining the process of construction,
to be completed faster, better security and perfor-
mance is oered,
Integrated Mobile Technology and Smart Buildings.
Many buyers are surprised by the range of options
in automation and control of a building. ree solu-
tions have the greatest demand: On-site security and
access, Climate control and regulation, On-site com-
munications.
ree Dimensional Printing: a possibility of using
curved forms in contrast to conventional limitations,
i.e. rectilinear forms (limiting the architecture of the
completed building).
In all cases, a reduction in costs through automation
and digitization is oered.
Large companies (corporations) innovate more than
small and medium-sized ones. is stems mostly from the
fact that they have already invested in innovation-oriented
solutions, and do not want to lose their position in the
competitive market (see also Claire, 2017; Jones, 2018).
Conclusions
Innovation associates (and rightly so) with a dynamic eco-
nomic development. e attributes are: competitiveness,
utility of solutions, strategies of change.
Construction Industry (CI) solutions form a range
extending in dierent directions. Material and techno-
logical/hardware trends are universal. Special emphasis is
put on integrated actions, for example, Integrated Man-
agement, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Systems of
wireless monitoring, IoT (Internet of ings), Case-Base
Reasoning, BLM (Building Life Cycle Management), In-
tegrated BIM.
e power of innovation requires a suitable substrate.
ese are legislative and organizational matters. Econom-
ic relationships also play a signicant role. In developed
countries, in CI, a D-B-O (Design-Build-Operate) type
system of organization has taken root, corresponding to
the requirements of P3 system (Public-Private Partner-
ships). e quoted reports emphasize that P3 type of in-
vestment process organization is the most preferred in
innovative speculations.
All presented trends either directly (e.g., green build-
ings) or indirectly aect sustainable development.
It is felt that security issues are important requirements
for innovation. Experts voice concern about the lack of
sta and its training.
Figure 3. An attempt to identify rank and importance of new technologies in Construction Management– in the impact-likelihood setting
Likelihood
Impact
ZONE OF AUGMENTED
REALTY
FLEXIBLE
management,
AGILE, SMART
3D laser
scanning
New active
materials
Prefabricated building
components
Self-healing materials
3D printing
in construction
Advanced project-planning tools
LCCA
Integrated
BIM
Real-time mobile collaboration
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
UAVs
Systems of wireless
monitoring
BIG DATA (analysis)
Investment
process,
P3
BLM (Building
Life Cycle
Management)
32 O. Kapliński. Innovative solutions in construction industry. Review of 2016–2018 events and trends
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