The construction industry is often seen as a laggard in adopting new technologies and innovations, even as other industries continue to progress and enter the Industry 4.0 era. Yet, the potential of smart construction technologies is visible, even for the local context.
There are two common ways that construction technologies can benefit the construction process. First, it can be used as input—construction materials that will be transformed into construction products. Potential innovations in the area of construction materials, such as prefabrication, are endless. The second is related to the construction process itself, either directly and indirectly. For example, robotics can be used to collect data before, during and after construction processes, and to do the work itself.
In general, the development of construction technologies has been focused on the advancements of previously developed construction technologies, thanks to the existence of enabling technologies from other industries. Technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), construction robots, and other advanced smart technologies are not new innovations by the construction industry. For example, BIM-related technologies have been developed since the late-1990s.
Indonesia’s construction industry has been acting as a user and technology importer. Hence, the adoption and transfer of technologies from other countries play a significant role in the use of construction technology in Indonesia, with most of the demand being client-driven.
However, some Indonesian construction practitioners, such as designers and contractors, have pushed themselves to be leaders in adopting certain construction technologies without waiting for clients’ demands. Most of these innovations were developed to solve specific internal and local problems or to refine their existing proprietary technologies.
IR MUHAMAD ABDUH, MT, PHD
Associate Professor, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Head of Civil Engineering Undergraduate Program, Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB), Indonesia
Dr Muhamad’s research interests are in the areas of construction engineering and management, especially topics related to procurement, logistics, supply chains, productivity improvement, lean construction, simulation of construction operations, sustainable construction, ICT applications and infrastructure management. He received his doctorate degree from Purdue University, USA, in 2000, by defending his dissertation regarding utility assessment of electronic networking technologies for construction delivery.
His academic career at ITB, spanning more than 20 years, has been dedicated to teaching, research and community services. Since 2000, he has been teaching a dedicated course about ICT applications in construction. It has been his dream to inspire the Indonesian construction industry to new paradigms, concepts, and technologies that could be used effectively.
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