Our society is literally built on the backs of construction workers. All the world’s greatest scientific marvels and artistic achievements were only possible because our ancestors put in the hours of back-breaking labor to build shelters.
Shelter protects us from the cold and the dark. It stopped predators from attacking us in our sleep. It increased infant mortality rates and overall health and wellbeing. And with the invention of shelters, we saw many more innovations come forth to improve our quality of life even more. Indoor plumbing. Central heating. Refrigeration.
The greatest devices ever built wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the men and women who built the houses and labs they were created in. This is why today we want to take a look at the World of Construction and how technological innovation has changed and shaped it over our history. Everything from the old, yet significant inventions. To the new and modern cutting tech construction tech.
Time was that construction was a dangerous profession. It still is, but less say today than one hundred years ago. Any major construction project is allocated a number of deaths or injuries that can occur before it is considered a problem. This is a grim, but indisputable fact that there are bound to be accidents.
But we have been seeking to minimize these accidents throughout our history. In ancient times people cared little if someone died building something. Mainly due to the fact construction was carried out by slave labor.
Nowadays, we put more value on human life. This is why modern construction workers wear a safety-focused uniform at all times. Hard Hats were one of the most significant inventions in this field. Made of a light-weight yet super resilient plastic. These hats are designed to make a significant impact and reduce the damage to the wearer. It has been proven that the introduction of hard hats reduced workplace accidents by a significant factor.
High-vis jackets are another invention that utilizes incredible tech to improve safety. They make use of cat-eye and reflective technology to be hyper-visible. Even in minimal lighting. This is important on a construction site as it can be, at times, difficult to spot a person. But their jackets make them stand out even from 100 stories up.
Recently I hired this concrete contractor for the project in my Florida home. They arrived and the job was done in a couple of days. I, of course, took this for granted as that is what I expected. But in the past mixing concrete was a tiresome and long procedure. Any work that needed concrete could take weeks or months. Whereas today a concrete mixer cuts the workload in half.
The tech itself is simple. An electronic spinning mechanism allows the concrete to be mixed automatically and quickly. But it just goes to show how even the simplest of tech innovations has the biggest impact on construction, and in turn our society.
This leads me to one of the greatest innovations of construction. The Crane. Cranes are not new by any means. There is proof that the ancient Egyptians used man-powered winches and cranes to build the Pyramids and other monuments. But modern cranes make use of two types of innovation to improve on this design.
Firstly, they are automated to a degree. No longer do they rely on man-power. They use technology to lift incredible weights with ease. The second is the fact they are built using modern industrial technology. This allows them to reach the highest heights imaginable. This wouldn’t have been possible in ancient times dues to the unstable nature of the materials they would use.
No construction project starts overnight. You can’t just find a plot of land, buy the materials, and dive in. There is a lot of rigorous and detailed planning that needs to occur before anyone can step on site. A lot of this planning is carried out by the architects before construction begins.
It involves a lot more than simply a creative flair and straight lines. It requires a lot of maths and scientific knowledge. A building is a sturdy, yet complex thing. Making use of a number of different materials and techniques to support the massive weight of itself.
In the past, this planning would take a long time. Mainly due to the fact that all the calculations had to be manually and checked over and over again. And then this process was repeated at the construction process as planning had to be done carefully.
Now we can make use of fantastic computers and calculators to help cut down on the calculation times. Something that could have taken a month to plan out can be done in a week or even a few days depending on the size. Gone are the days of using an abacus to sort these things out.
Another thing that we can do to help utilizes the power of simulations. These programs can perfectly simulate what the building will look like with its current specifications. It can then be given real-world physics. This lets the simulation calculate if the building will actually hold up one constructed. This can stop any potential disasters from happening further down the line and ensures construction is as safe as it can possibly be.