Robotic cranes perched atop a cluster of high-rise buildings under construction.
C Dustin on Unsplash

Construction revolution

From craft to process.

How likely? How soon? What impact?

Global urbanization is hitting full stride. Yet more than ever, we're building amidst tightening constraints on land, energy, materials, and labor. Over the coming decade, technology will fill the gap. A wide range of innovations will unleash a revolution that will speed up the pace, reduce the cost, and improve the quality of new construction.

Some of the most important innovations do their work before a single nail is struck. Digitalization and automation of code review for proposed designs eliminates bottlenecks and reduces errors. The result is faster approval, better compliance, and expedited delivery of new buildings. But construction itself is also undergoing big changes. Prefabrication of modular building components moves the manufacture of building components into centralized factories where controlled conditions, automation, and economies of scale can deliver greater quality and reduced cost. On-site robotic assembly will improve safety and reduce cost, while 3-D printing provides a new tool for making specialized components that would be impossible, slow, or costly to make with traditional methods.


Signals are evidence of possible futures found in the world today—technologies, products, services, and behaviors that we expect are already here but could become more widespread tomorrow.