9 Ways IoT Makes Construction More Efficient

Zachary Amos -
9 Ways IoT Makes Construction More Efficient

The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to increase the average construction company’s efficiency substantially. There are numerous ways they can implement this technology to achieve such benefits.

IoT for Construction

#1: Site Surveillance

Closed circuit surveillance has been an impractical solution in the construction industry because projects are temporary, and the installation process is too time-consuming and expensive to be worth it. IoT has emerged as a solution because it provides live video feeds.

Wireless IoT surveillance devices can be controlled remotely. Some systems support long-range transmissions over 5G — which achieves 99.99 percent reliability and a 0.5-millisecond latency — so they’re ideal even in remote settings.

Since solar panels power these systems, there’s no need to hook them up to any source of electricity or worry about outages. Project managers don’t have to worry about data loss, either, since videos automatically get sent straight to the cloud for safekeeping.

Construction firms can integrate light, motion, and photoelectric sensors into their systems to keep the video feed clear when the site gets dusty or dark. These features work together to reduce theft and keep workers productive, leading to fewer delays and better efficiency.

#2: Environment Monitoring

As sustainability awareness has increased, regulatory agencies have passed more rigorous standards on the environmental impact of construction. Instead of hiring a third party or dedicating workers to monitoring duties, brands can use IoT devices.

IoT sensors can measure metrics like dust, noise, or chemical runoff more efficiently than manual methods since they operate remotely and automatically collect data in real-time. If businesses integrate artificial intelligence, they can even immediately analyze the information.

#3: Site Inspection

Site inspections are necessary for any project because they guarantee the completed building is stable. The foreman or project manager conducts one per day to make sure the previous day’s work is satisfactory and the current day’s work can proceed on schedule.

While inspections are vital, conducting them manually is inefficient. If project managers equip beams, columns, and slabs with IoT sensors, they can monitor and record their build’s strength, stiffness, and flexibility without going on-site.

#4: Concrete Monitoring

Concrete dries at different rates depending on environmental conditions and the type of mixture companies use. If decision-makers don’t accurately estimate how fast a pour will dry, they could delay their entire project, potentially leading to lost revenue and unhappy clients.

The IoT is growing larger every day, so its applications are expanding. Now, construction firms can embed wireless sensors at multiple depths before a pour to track the drying rate of concrete. These devices use low-power communication techniques to transmit real-time status data to an integrated platform.

Project managers can use pre-set triggers to receive an alert once the sensors detect the concrete has met a certain threshold or target. This feature eliminates the need for on-site visits, significantly increasing efficiency.

#5: Subcontractor Monitoring

Subcontractors are a staple in the construction industry because they fill skill gaps and help accelerate completion time. At least, that’s what should happen. Sometimes, their work quality is substandard, causing unplanned delays.

If construction companies equip their subcontractors with wireless, rechargeable wearables — sensors built into clothing, personal protective equipment, or accessories — they can track their motion, pathing, and location. This way, they can ensure they achieve maximum efficiency.

#6: Equipment Maintenance

Without technology, equipment breakdowns are challenging to anticipate. Someone has to check oil levels, emissions, and vibration rates manually, and use their expertise to determine how close the machine is to breaking down. With IoT, that process is automatic.

IoT sensors can wirelessly measure vibration, pressure, temperature, and moisture in real-time, sending any unusual readings directly to a decision-maker’s device. If they analyze the data and use past maintenance records to generate further insights, they can predict when equipment failures are about to occur and avoid them in time.

Construction companies that use IoT in this way will increase their efficiency dramatically since predictive maintenance can reduce equipment breakdowns by 70–75 percent, decreasing the length of downtime by 35–45 percent. Fewer machine failures mean higher productivity, as well.

#7: Weather Forecasting

Project managers have to consider environmental conditions when scheduling subcontractors, pouring cement, and approving the use of some equipment. As most people are aware, the local weather forecast isn’t always reliable. Fortunately, IoT offers a solution.

Project managers can use wireless IoT sensors to track humidity, temperature, precipitation, and wind speed to forecast upcoming weather events. This way, they can better identify windows of opportunity to avoid delays and accelerate their project’s completion time.

#8: Power Consumption

Sometimes, efficiency isn’t just about speed — it’s about resource utilization. Construction brands have to be mindful of their on-site power consumption to avoid outages and to comply with regulations. If they use IoT, they can achieve consistent energy efficiency.

Construction businesses can use wireless IoT devices to monitor their power consumption remotely when charging power tools or recharging electric heavy machinery. If they integrate artificial intelligence, they can automatically adjust voltage levels based on typical demand and off-peak hours.

An IoT system can also monitor work lights. It can dim, turn off, or turn on lighting based on motion or the job site’s occupancy level. This way, construction enterprises can increase their energy efficiency while saving on overhead expenses.

#9: Logistics Monitoring

Anything from bad weather to a flat tire can cause a significant supply chain delay, forcing construction organizations to waste time waiting for replacement parts, building materials, or new tools. Fortunately, they can resolve this pain point with GPS-integrated IoT devices.

GPS-integrated IoT devices wirelessly transmit location and condition data. Decision-makers can remotely view this information in real-time, giving them insight into when shipments will arrive.

It also helps them tell if they should expect defects or missing cargo, giving them time to order ahead. Both factors can drastically increase their operational efficiency.

Notably, this integration could also net construction companies significant revenue. Research shows the sector could achieve 22–29 percent cost savings each year by implementing IoT technology, which is equivalent to a $75–$96 billion annual profit. Investing these funds into further technological advancement could increase efficiency significantly.

IoT Devices Can Accelerate Project Completion

When construction firms use IoT devices to achieve broad efficiency gains, they accelerate their project completion rate. This enables them to take on more work in shorter time frames, eventually increasing their revenue, reputation, and client satisfaction.

Zachary Amos

From Smart Cities to Industry 4.0, melita.io provides simple, transparent M2M and IoT connectivity solutions based on LoRaWAN wireless networks and SIM cards to enterprises, cities, and municipalities worldwide. On its way to a digital future, mel...
From Smart Cities to Industry 4.0, melita.io provides simple, transparent M2M and IoT connectivity solutions based on LoRaWAN wireless networks and SIM cards to enterprises, cities, and municipalities worldwide. On its way to a digital future, mel...