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Breaking Ground: A Challenging Future Ahead


man in a suit walking towards buildings

The construction industry is usually the last one to get the newest technology but once it does, the impact would be massive, and the industry will scale fast.


Introduction of NFTs

A digital world still seems to be too futuristic for us to imagine but in recent years, the world was able to take a step forward and open new doors of opportunities. Through these doors, the term NFT or non-fungible token was introduced to the world.

NFTs are being used to digitize artworks and allow artists to fully own their rights to their assets. If you are going to think about it, traditional photos and artworks can be uploaded on the internet and then, others can freely download the file of the image. Do NFTs prevent this feature? Not really.


NFTs are assets that cannot be replaced or duplicated. The reason behind this is that these assets hold a certain on-chain metadata. This metadata often consists of ownership details, description, asset ID, asset history, etc. (NFT’S STREET, 2021).


Imagine if no one was able to verify that Leonardo da Vinci was the first one who created the Mona Lisa then, no one can truly prove who the first creator was. The new technology behind NFTs which is called blockchain prevents this potential verification problem. In the world of blockchain technology, everything is accessible and verifiable by the public.


It is understandable that NFTs will be hard to grasp. All revolutionary things in history were hard to grasp, specially in their early conception. Even though very few people immediately understood NFTs, the idea completely broke the internet back in 2021 when people started incorporating large amounts of money into NFTs.


One of the historical moments in showing the world the real potential of NFTs happened when the digital artist “Krista Kim” sold the first NFT digital home called “Mars House” for $512,000 at that time or 288 Ethereum tokens. The “Mars House” NFT acts as a digital certificate of ownership for the one who bought the asset (Hybevo, n.d.).


The “Mars House” NFT is a 3D digital file built through Unreal Engine which is mostly used in video game development. Currently, the house can only be experienced in Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. Without VR, the Mars House just looks like a traditional 2D photo.


The challenge:

For NFTs to be fully incorporated into the construction industry, VR and AR technology must further be developed and perfected first. Once this door of opportunity fully opens, the industry’s transition will be fast and aggressive.


Rise of Artificial Intelligence

AI or artificial intelligence revolves around the application of machine learning algorithms to our daily lives. For machines to acquire artificial intelligence, they need to “learn” first from existing data or through a large set of data inputs from humans. AI has potential impact to almost all industries but, in this section, we will only be focusing on the construction industry.

The impacts of AI can range from improvement of design, planning, and execution of construction projects. If we are going to ask someone about AI in the construction industry, the first thing that might come to mind is the introduction of AI-operated machines in the construction site. While this is a good possibility in the future, let us not ignore the huge potential that AI can also improve the aspects of coordination between project stakeholders (Ibrahim, 2022).


The following are the benefits of introducing AI to the construction industry:

  • AI-generated Progress Reports

    • Data collection can be done through sensors on construction equipment.

    • Allow project managers to get real-time insights and quickly identify potential problems and bottlenecks ahead of time.

  • AI-scheduling

    • AI can automatically schedule the next task based on the worker’s known and available skill set.

  • AI-generated as-built drawings from 3D models created through the design process.

  • Machine learning in developing predictive models for early identification of potential problems in a project ahead of time.

  • Other benefits of using AI includes:

  • Improving the accuracy of project estimates.

  • Improving safety in the field (high prediction rate of potential problems).

  • Allowing better management and communication.

  • Minimizing environmental impact due to more optimized processes and materials.

JCVA is the pioneer project management firm in the Philippines to offer OpenSpace technology in aiding the team’s project managers in accomplishing tasks and tracking on-site progress remotely. OpenSpace is an AI-based technology that allows stakeholders to remotely gain real-time progress through on-site perspective and 3D ground-based reality capture.


As recent developments suggest, the world seems to be moving forward towards an AI-centric development. Soon, we will be witnessing the true potential that AI brings to our daily lives and specially in the industry of construction. But before that, we must dare to face several challenges along the way.


The challenges:

AI has a definite place in the construction industry, but the challenge would be the data needed for AI to be effective. AI needs large sets of data to “learn” from so that it can predict future outcomes or generate output.


The construction industry is a complex and ever-changing environment. This kind of environment might be challenging for AI to accurately predict. Since construction projects are susceptible to changes, it might be hard for the AI to become effective due to the fast-paced changes.


Lastly, there is a lack of standardization since AI is still considered to be in early development. This might change in the coming years but currently, the idea is still considered to be young and new.


Green Construction & ESG Metrics

Contrast to the previous two which are inclined heavily on computer technology, there are construction trends that are rising in popularity purely due to their demand and environmental impacts. The world is not getting younger and its non-renewable resources are getting depleted at an alarming rate. This is not just bad for the environment but also bad for the economy because low supply of resources would mean higher market costs of all materials, necessities, services, etc.

First, we have green construction or the “green buildings”. Green construction attempts to build responsibly while taking waste reduction and environment preservation into account (Construction Placements, 2021).


The following features are considered in making buildings “green”:

  • Efficient consumption of water and energy

  • Usage of renewable energy such as solar power

  • Waste reduction consideration

  • High-quality indoor air quality

  • Preservation of the environment during construction and operations

The features stated above are general ways of building a greener structure but specifically speaking, there are multiple ways to make your building greener such as (but not limited to):

  1. Bird-friendly designs for high-rise buildings

  2. Energy efficient windows

  3. Usage of solar or wind power

  4. Runoff landscaping

  5. Greywater systems

Due to the rising popularity of green buildings, several organizations such as BREEAM (United Kingdom), LEED (US and Canada), CASBEE (Japan), and BERDE (Philippines) already put a foot forward and developed standards around the idea.

Alongside the movement towards green construction, ESG metrics are also becoming popular. These are metrics that are used to measure and describe the sustainability and performance of a company or business. ESG metrics are the basis whether a company is fit to survive in the long run or not.


Before, ESG metrics were less of a priority than they are currently. Multiple bad events in recent years contributed to a louder call for sustainability. Besides sustainability, ESG metrics can also give benefits to companies through better social image and a more competitive stand against competitors.


If you are asking what ESG metrics should be used for your company, there is no universal answer for it. The truth is that different companies will touch different environmental, social, and governance factors. One good example, however, would be Starbucks and their customer feedback system. In their system, if a large majority of their customers do not want a certain material to be used, the whole business operation will be altered to cater to that feedback (Emerick, n.d.).


The challenges:

People need to realize that going green does not mean more expensive. Initially, it would be a bit more expensive due to green materials being more costly but going green could also mean conserving energy which means less expenses in the long run. Going green is both an altruistic movement and an investment.


A good ESG metrics score should no longer be considered as a “nice to have” but a “must have” to make sure that only sustainable businesses are here to stay.


Final Thoughts

Due to recent developments, the world is clearly starting to transition towards a new generation of technology. JCVA is an organization that fully embraces advancement and sustainability.


The organization is leading the new generation of builders through its proprietary platforms, AGILE and VAULT, its existing services that uses OpenSpace technology, and as well as BERDE, LEED, and WELL consultancy to create sustainable designs. To fulfill its grand vision, the company will always be seeking to provide the best services by continuously strengthening its technological capabilities.


References:

Construction Placements (January 2021). Retrieved from https://www.constructionplacements.com/green-building-and-green-construction/

Emerick, D. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.esgthereport.com/what-are-esg-metrics/

Hybevo (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hybevo.com/blockchain-and-non-fungible-token-construction-industry/

Ibrahim, J. (December 2022). Retrieved from https://www.duzzlag.com/ai-in-construction-industry/

NFT’S STREET (June 2021). Retrieved from https://www.nftsstreet.com/history-of-nft/


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