How Construction Smart Sensors Are Changing the Industry

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How Construction Smart Sensors Are Changing the Industry

Surety Bond Professionals is a family owned and operated bonding agency with over 30 years of experience. With access to a broad range of surety markets, our expert agents are ready to assist with all of your construction bond needs.

What Are Smart Sensors?

Sensor technology has come a long way since the early days of factory automation when sensors made machine control of machine-controlled equipment possible. Back then, sensors could do little more than trigger an action by detecting the presence or absence of an item.

Today’s smart sensors can gather a wide range of information and transmit it wirelessly. Some sensors contain onboard microprocessors that can act on the data collected before transmitting it elsewhere to support monitoring and decision-making. Some sensors are capable of detecting their own functioning and reporting the need for recalibration or maintenance.

Advances in technology result in sensors that are smarter, smaller, lighter, and less vulnerable to outside forces. You can expect to see continued expansion of the possible uses of smart sensors, particularly in the construction industry.

How Are Smart Sensors Used in Construction?

These are just a few of the ways in which smart sensors are modernizing the construction industry:

  • Smart sensors can be embedded in concrete when it’s poured, to monitor the curing process. It’s a much easier, faster way to ascertain curing than conducting cylinder break tests. If curing time is found to be other than expected, the concrete mix can be adjusted or other measures can be taken to meet specifications, ensure quality, and keep the project on schedule.
  • Smart sensors and RFID technology are invaluable in tracking and locating materials, tools, and equipment on a job site.
  • Construction workers may be subjected to hazardous conditions on a job site, and their safety is of paramount concern. Increasingly, smart sensors are being incorporated in personal protective equipment (PPE), making it possible to detect their location and monitor their vital signs. This helps site managers keep workers out of harm’s way and summon emergency assistance immediately if needed.
  • Smart sensors embedded in heavy construction equipment enables the detection of impending maintenance issues that need to be addressed to prevent unnecessary downtime. Smart sensors also are essential to remote control of construction equipment.
  • Smart sensors facilitate communication and status checks by providing real-time data that can be transmitted to computer dashboards and mobile devices for easy monitoring by stakeholders.

What Are the Benefits of Construction Smart Sensors?

Construction companies benefit greatly from the ability to monitor conditions on a job site, measure process parameters, track physical assets, help ensure worker safety, and keep key stakeholders in the loop. The use of smart sensors can enhance quality, prevent delays, reduce costs, and improve OSHA compliance, all of which can help grow a contractor’s bonding capacity.

Surety Bonds Contractors May Need

Surety bond guarantors look for certain qualifications when evaluating contractors’ applications for construction surety bonds. Key criteria include:

  • Financial strength and stability
  • Industry experience
  • A clean safety record
  • Effective project management practices

All of these can be strengthened through the use of smart sensors in construction.

The construction bonds most commonly required of contractors bidding on public works projects, and increasingly on large privately financed projects are bid bonds, performance bonds, and payment bonds.

Bid Bonds

A bid bond guarantees the project owner that the contractor, if chosen as the winning bidder, will accept the job and enter into a written contract at the bid price. A bid bond also is the contractor’s guarantee of their ability to obtain performance and payment bonds if required for the job.

Performance Bonds

The Federal Miller Act requires a performance bond for any federally funded construction project of $100,000 or more. The purpose is to protect the project owner against financial loss caused by the contractor’s default or failure to complete the project according to contractual terms.

Payment Bonds

The Miller Act requires a payment bond as well as a performance bond from any contractor chosen for a project funded by taxpayer dollars. A payment bond guarantees that the contractor will pay subcontractors, suppliers, and workers as specified in the construction contract. The purpose of a payment bond is to indemnify the project owner against legal responsibility if the contractor fails to pay such bills as required.

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