The Launch of Smarter Construction

The construction industry cannot keep up with the demand for housing. New technologies and business models could succeed in cutting this Gordian knot.

Vision for the construction sector: Construction sites of the future are clean, quiet, sustainable, and efficient. Photo: Porsche Consulting/Andreas Mass

There’s no doubt that the shortage of housing in major cities will increase all the more over the next decades. The UN estimates that by 2050, seven billion of the world’s ten billion people will be living in cities. New metropolitan centers of unprecedented size will arise. There are currently more than thirty megacities of more than ten million inhabitants. Living space is becoming ever more scarce. According to an analysis by the World Economic Forum, around 1.6 billion more homes will be needed in the next thirty years alone. Moreover, people in many urban centers are at a turning point. They no longer want urban planning to focus on cars, but instead want greener and more sustainable policies. At the same time, buildings are facing ever greater demands—they are supposed to be smarter, more energy-efficient, and offer universal access. All these considerations are directly linked to the following question: What should construction be like in the future?

Construction sites of the future will produce hardly any exhaust gases or noise pollution. They will be much safer and more orderly. Above all, they will be faster and more efficient. Electrified excavators controlled remotely by camera will be connected with construction machinery featuring sophisticated sensor systems that let them proactively notify manufacturers of any technical problems. Drones will fly overhead to register progress at the site. And driverless trucks will deliver entire prefabricated building modules just in time, which will be assembled in short order by robots. A large part of the work will be done in factory halls before the ground is broken. Skilled workers at the site will assume largely coordinating functions or work “hand in hand” with the robots. And virtual dashboards will always be available to let them monitor and guide construction progress in real time.

Read the full article in Porsche Consulting Magazine