Will Construction’s “Robot Revolution” Include Pens & Paper?

We keep hearing about how augmented reality, as well as drones and 3D printing, will soon reshape the construction industry. We’re excited about all this new technology. Still, we can’t help but call out the elephant in the room: the pens and paper that so many companies are still relying on.

According to a recent Software Advice report, “Fifty-two percent of prospective buyers use pen and paper to conduct estimating, takeoff, big management and other processes.”


Again, don’t get us wrong. We’re all about using technology to make construction projects more efficient, and people’s jobs easier. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t exist.

What’s crazy to us is that there are people still spending hours of their day struggling with fax machines and paper pads—even spreadsheets—when technology like self-healing concrete and contour crafting exist.

It looks like the gap will only widen between the pen-and-paper folks and those who are looking to advanced technologies that fall into the “Robot Revolution” category. (We’re hoping it doesn’t play out that way.)

Prospects of the “Revolution”

Augmented reality 3D project renderings: Could be a breakthrough solution for strengthening stakeholder collaboration.

Drones: Already widely in use, drones are known as a creative solution for enhancing safety and delivering realtime project data from jobsites.

3D printing: This process can help reduce costs associated with labor and the home itself.


Figuring out how to effectively use these new technologies on the job is just one hurdle to clear. Adopting augmented reality can be a complicated process that adds time to the project schedule.  

Due to commercial drone regulations, there aren’t enough permitted, locally-accessible operators to service the entire construction industry.  

Cost is also another big factor; many contractors simply won’t prioritize these technologies in their budgets in the near future.

Most near-future potential

Of these new technologies, 3D printing seems to have the brightest future in the near term.  3D printed homes, buildings and bridges have already been built at costs lower than traditional construction projects and hold claim to being stronger and longer-lasting.  

The gap

For companies looking for better ways to work together and finish projects faster, most aren’t looking to robots just yet. But it’s clear that firms of all sizes are making room in their budgets for user-friendly, affordable software that helps with project management and communication. This is the natural next step that will keep companies from being left behind now and in the future — regardless of when this “revolution” comes to pass.

Image © Ociacia/Shutterstock


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