Key on-site control management technologies for construction 4.0

  • 09.02.2022
  • Article
technologies for construction 4.0

The pandemic-induced economic slowdown in 2020 certainly had an impact on the construction sector. But today, the industry has largely rebounded from the COVID crisis. In 2021, demand for construction was up two and a half percent compared to 2019. Construction order books are full, and needs keep growing.

But despite the growth and opportunities in today’s construction industry, companies of all sizes are challenged to finish jobs on time. These challenges are partly due in part to stringent sustainability requirements, rising cost pressure, labour scarcity, and lack of new available materials.

Construction companies are increasingly turning to technology to overcome these challenges and gain greater efficiency. This technological breakthrough has the potential to transform the entire industry.

But in construction, where business habits are ingrained and correspond to actual human know-how, it is not likely that transformation will come from a new technology that disrupts established ways of doing things.

Instead, the technological transformation in construction will come from established companies reinventing themselves by testing, qualifying, and adopting new technologies. These companies will experiment with technology at first, then integrate it into the digital toolbox of the construction site.

In 2021, GenieVision attended the Digital Construction Day conference in Brussels to learn more about these technological developments. In this post, we’ll share key lessons learned at the event and highlight the digitalisation of construction in the context of site monitoring and control.

Solving construction site problems before they start

No single technology can solve every problem on a construction site. There is, however, a range of technologies that have developed to address specific issues. This wide array of tools means that, before selecting a technology, companies must ask one crucial question: ‘what is the problem you want technology to solve?’

Once that question has been addressed, companies then need to understand the features of the technology, how it works, and the achievable results. In short, the next questions that need to be addressed are:

  • What is the purpose of the technology?
  • Does the technology address my specific problem?
  • What is the return on investment I can expect from the technology?

Companies must also identify the level of precision needed for their plans and users. For example, does the information need to communicate to the nearest millimeter or centimeter? The more precise information you need, the more expensive the technology is.

The good news is that even a small investment can provide a decent degree of accuracy and information.

The Right Technology for the Right Job

At the Digital Construction Day, a representative panel of the construction industry leaders cited various digital tools they use on-site for monitoring and follow-up execution. These tools include 3D, Scan, Drone, Lidar, BIM, and point cloud.

We’re sharing the panel’s recommendations and analysis of these tools. We focus on these technologies because we, like the panel, believe they will soon become essential resources for the construction site of the future.

The Move to 3D

Before we share our summary, we would like the stress the importance of 3D technology to future construction sites.

All actors in the construction process are committed to working together to meet the deadlines and quality requirements. They achieve this goal through the execution and proper implementation of closely monitored plans that respect the client’s requests and the engineers’ recommendations.

This precise execution level means that companies can no longer rely on 2D drawings. Therefore, the use of 3D renderings is a prerequisite for success. 3D technology can provide regular information on the status of your projects through scans, measurements, and cooperation between the different trades. This level of real-time, detailed access to plans opens new possibilities for sharing and success.

Construction 4.0 Technology Highlights

Here is an overview of the features and functionality of construction technology discussed by the panel at Digital Construction Day.

Augmented Reality: visualise your plans at any time

What it does: Enables all team members to visualise plans at any time. It displays a realistic 3D model at scale through a mobile device.

  • Complexity: Medium
  • Accuracy: Average
  • Price: Affordable


  • Identify non-conformities 
    • Share visual information with all people concerned
    • Calculate distances to within a few centimetres


  • View the work to be done on a lifelike scale
    • Enable a better exchange of information between project stakeholders
    • Ensure the timely execution of projects

The 360° camera: capturing the state of the site

What it does: Capture an accurate image of a precise moment of the entire environment of the construction site. For example, a 360° camera can be installed on a tripod, a tool (a vehicle, for example), or a workers’ helmet.

  • Complexity: Easy
  • Accuracy: Medium
  • Price: Affordable


  • Document progress
    • Visualise the progress of the work and provide timely and regular monitoring
    • Conduct a virtual tour of the construction site
    • Calculate distances to within a few centimetres

The aerial drone: modelling the site

What it does: A remotely piloted or autonomous flying object will carry out surveys from the air; it can also be used for 3D modelling, safety checks, and photography.

  • Complexity: Medium
  • Accuracy: Average
  • Price: Affordable


  • Capture images of a large outdoor space
    • Visualise the progress of the work with timely and regular monitoring
    • Check the quality of the work by collecting and comparing a point cloud
    • 3D modelling of large spaces or the façade of a building

The laser scannerchecking the work

What it does: A high-precision scanner using laser technology will perform accurate point surveys. The camera is mounted on a fixed tripod and operated by a surveyor.

  • Complexity: Easy
  • Accuracy: Very high
  • Price: Medium


  • Calculate distances with a high degree of accuracy – down to the millimetre 
  • Ensure a complex structure is being executed correctly (e.g., a flat floor or a complicated structure)
    • Scanner needs to be moved into several positions, which can require a lot of effort

The autonomous robot: modelling and/or accessing any location

What it does: Equips a mobile platform (the robot) with many sensors (laser, camera, LiDAR, total station) to safely collect any type of information autonomously.

  • Complexity: High
  • Accuracy: Very high
  • Price: High


  • Protect workers from risk by reaching inaccessible or dangerous places  
  • Efficiency : regular and autonomous checking of the site with the possibility of automatically comparing deviations (eliminating obvious human errors on a “boring” route)
  • Safety : access and perform surveys in any location, even those that are dangerous or complex.

Ready to take the plunge?

A key takeaway from the panel of experts at Digital Construction Day is that the construction technologies available today are mature, stable, and fast becoming a critical resource for companies that want to succeed in the construction field.

Adopting technology today allows you to build much faster, avoid unnecessary costs, and improve your margins. Moreover, it gives you documentation of the execution essential to the operational phase.

Our panel of experts recommends that, at first, companies make small investments in technology. This small investment will allow them to learn more about the technology and get acquainted with it so they can assess if it meets their specific needs.

Want to get started? Here’s what you have to bear in mind

Cost: a critical factor in ROI

  • These devices are not too expensive
  • The price depends on the precision (1mm versus 1cm, what do I/you need?)
  • Novice to intermediate level of 3D model management is sufficient

Sustainability: a critical factor in ROI

  • The tool can manage one or more functions
  • It is resistant to site conditions

Handling: a critical factor in ROI

  • Technology should be practical and straightforward, easy to use and implement
  • Make sure you can scale up the tool to accommodate more users and projects
  • Don’t forget to consult your public building institutes for help and additional resources

And just a few more tips:

  • Because the technology is used in a construction site, where dust and falls are commonplace, it should not be too expensive or delicate.
  • A device should be easy to use so that all trades and people working on a site can access it. Opening up access to everyone is key to a smooth-running construction site.

Safety comes first. The operators’ attention should never be diverted by any tool; concentration on the site environment is central.

the tablet has become the new toolbox of the 4.0 construction site

This mini laptop has the latest technology: gyroscope, measuring tools, LIDAr, etc. Plus, it is easy to carry around and can hold a multitude of applications and maps.


Discover the power of the tablet in the 4.0 construction site and the problem solved with GenieVision’s AR.

No tool will replace the essential: the 3D and the knowledge of the progress of the site

As the experts at Digital Construction Day have shown, technology is the best way to overcome today’s construction industry challenges. And while no one technology can solve the challenges of the entire industry, there are now many solutions available that can solve specific areas of concern.


Make sure you have a solid BIM strategy in place first. The next generation of BIM technology will benefit from new technologies that facilitate the collaboration between trade, stakeholders, and operators. Managing the 3D BIM model will entail essential tasks like understanding it, updating it, and making sure it controls design, execution, and operation flawlessly. And though no tool can ever replace the reality and on-site progress of the actual 3D construction site, AR comes very close to mimicking a digital twin.


This blog post is an excellent start to understanding the AR range of technology.


To learn more about the central role technology plays in ensuring projects get completed on time, on budget, and with fewer errors, get in touch with us for a live demo of construction technology in action.

Discover how it brings value to your projects

Get the support of GenieVision to access your BIM throughout the lifecycle of your project, from design to conception, and from construction to maintenance.