The construction industry is changing faster than ever. New technology for electrical construction is everywhere, and not just in the electrical systems themselves, but in tools used on project sites, wearable devices, materials that offer more energy efficiency, and the technological advancements that make building a structure that much faster.
Here are what we’ve identified as four of the biggest new technologies for electricians.
Prefabrication has been kicking around the construction industry for decades, but it wasn’t until recently that it has really taken off and is becoming mainstream. Modular construction offers a lot in the way of benefits to builders, but it can also bring many benefits to the electrical trades.
Now, with prefab materials being built offsite, often in warehouses or yards far away (sometimes out of state) of the construction site, it gives electrical tradespeople an opportunity to apply their trade without ever setting foot in a workspace. This can offer great benefits in quality of life to the builders who simply commute to the same prefab facility every day instead of trekking to a muddy job site, but it also means there is more opportunity for precision work.
Imagine not needing to do your wiring with your hands freezing, or needing to close up shop because of impending rain. All this and more is possible with prefabrication.
Use of Sustainable Materials
Sustainable materials are becoming a major part of new tech for electrical construction. And while this doesn’t mean every electrical engineer is going to be driving an electric vehicle, it may mean that LED lights are more commonplace, that the chemicals that go into power transformers are being reengineered to be more environmentally friendly.
Construction accounts for 40% of worldwide energy usage, and so anything that can be done to bring those costs down is certainly welcome.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Home Technology
Electrical engineers are playing a big part in one of the most visible ways that home construction is changing, and that’s in the Internet of Things, or Smart Home Technology. Whether it’s the doorbells that show your visitor displayed on your phone, or the refrigerator that warns you when you’re running low on milk, or–more importantly–the ways that a smartphone can adjust the blinds, the thermostat, even the shade of the windows to conserve energy.
And all of that is coming on the backs of electricians, who are turning houses that once were “dumb” into smart machines that are filled with cables and wires to make sure that everything is operating properly. The electrical contractors and electrical workers who embrace smart home technology are going to have job security in the future.
Across all areas of construction, cloud-based computing is making a splash. And whether that’s with small things like the apps that let you log your hours and timecodes on a jobsite, or on the big things like BIM smart helmets that give you an augmented reality view of the building under construction.
Even clothing is getting in on the action, from cloud-based safety harnesses that can detect and alert falls, to smart boots, smart helmets, and smart…everything else.
Things are changing. And if you're an electrical project manager, the time for preparation is over.