I often consider how technology can be used to improve building assessments and the end result for clients. It’s too easy to invest in technology and eventually discover that all you have accomplished is to change the way things are done, but not actually improve anything. Like any aspect of business, it is important to carry out due diligence and proper planning when investing in technology.
Drones and robots are an area of current technology that certainly have building surveyors interested but few have actually invested in this type of technology as yet. Perhaps it is the limitations associated with them, and there definitely are some. But upon reading more about this type of technology there is no doubt that these devices will be used more extensively by building surveyors in the future.
Drones are used to monitor progress on construction sites and even to monitor health and safety practices, including processes being carried out on site. They are not only used to survey buildings but also measure surfaces of buildings, such as assessing the condition and even calculating a roof pitch and surface area for example. The survey data can then be transformed to create 3D models for use in future maintenance or planning upgrades and fit outs. This then leads into the Building Information Modelling (BIM) which is a fast-growing sector in building management and design. New aspects are being added to the BIM concept all the time. The process starts with a 3D computer generated model that produces information about the project such as scheduling, cost estimation, sustainability and facility management.
A term I was not familiar with until recently reading an article on building automation was “the Internet of Things” (IoT), which in short is a network of devices in the world that communicate with other devices and share data through the internet. In the context of building automation, this means we will be building smart buildings that; monitor energy consumption, control heating, ventilation, lighting, fire safety and security. To me this makes a lot of sense while we are considering ways of developing healthy home and energy efficiency in buildings. Building automation is already well established in new commercial and industrial buildings and it seems a natural progression that typical residential ownership and rental homes would move to this technology.