Architects don’t make buildings. Architects make drawings of buildings. But of course, someone has to make the building. The construction industry is one of the largest economic sectors and we all interact with the built environment on a daily basis, but the actual work of getting a building from drawing to structure has barely evolved over the decades. While the rest of the world has moved into Industry 4.0, the construction sector has not kept pace. Architecture has begun to embrace some digitalization. After all, not many of us work with mylar on drafting tables anymore. So with the architecture industry’s everlasting link to the construction industry, will the latter pick up some new technological tricks by association? And when it does, how will that change the role of the architect? Large construction projects can often take 20 percent more time than scheduled and when they are finished, as many as 80 percent end up over-budget. Construction is one of the lowest profit-margin industries in today’s economy. In the past 75 years, productivity has increased by up to 1,500 percent in the manufacturing, retail, and agriculture fields. Over that same time period, productivity in construction remained almost the same. The emerging field of Construction Technology, or ConTech, aims to change that and bring construction into the 21st century.
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