Inspiring lecture

The future of construction

The future of construction is digital. We want things to happen faster, better and cheaper. New technology is changing the way we design, build, manage and maintain buildings and infrastructure. An inspiring future awaits the construction sector. We will use construction robots, virtual reality, blockchain, 4D printers and digital twins. Drones will map construction sites and construction materials will repair themselves. Cameras and sensors will provide the data required for artificial intelligence. Everything will become smart. Are you ready?


Below you will find an overview of the topics within this keynote lecture.

construction robots

Slowly but surely, even the construction industry will see the implementation of robotic systems. Think bricklaying robots, autonomous construction vehicles, drones mapping building sites, and 3D-printers creating entire structures. Yes, these high-tech machines will eventually replace many human construction workers. This will minimise the number of accidents, prevent injuries and make human workers more efficient.

Artifical intelligence

AI has found a growing number of applications in construction over the years. Besides autonomous machinery, it’s also used for planning and surveying, in safety and maintenance, and in the monitoring and analysing of structures. AI enables fully connected construction sites, where sensor-generated big data ensures increasing levels of efficiency and safety, and enables prediction and prevention of injuries.

Virtual and augmented reality

Augmented and virtual reality technologies promise new ways to design and build, and enable faster construction, improved project efficiency, and increased safety. AR/VR helps reduce design errors and eliminate wasteful changes. AR revolutionises BIM visualisation by clearly presenting data and enabling virtual collaboration. AR-headsets let you ‘see through walls’ and project virtual information into your line of sight.


Construction projects often involve many contractors, subcontractors, and numerous regulations and building codes, which can lead to complex challenges. Blockchain technology can be used to automate these contractual processes by creating smart contracts that are visible to all stakeholders. Like a well-oiled machine, it will eliminate disputes, speed up project delivery, and free up valuable resources.

Augmented construction workers

In challenging and often dangerous conditions, exoskeletons help workers move heavy objects, perform overhead tasks, and prevent accidents or injuries. Augmenting construction workers can also be done by kitting them out with VR/AR headsets for added assistance or training purposes. Fitting construction workers with sensor tech and connecting them to smart platforms makes their work safer and more efficient.

Digital twins

Wouldn't it be incredible if you could create virtual ‘what if’ scenarios for buildings before investing cold, hard resources? Digital twins – digital replicas of physical structures – can be used to run simulations before building actual structures. You can also use a digital twin for receiving sensor data from its real-world counterpart to gain valuable insights and predict challenges.

3D & 4D printing

3D and 4D printing technology enables the use of advanced and sustainable materials, making building more efficient while producing less waste. Conventional construction methods are mostly restricted to square and rectangular shapes, but 3D printing enables buildings of any type of shape. 4D printing also uses sophisticated materials that can be programmed to prompt a 3D-printed structure to shape-shift.

Advanced materials

Imagine the possibilities if a structure could heal itself like our skin does after a cut? Actually, this is no longer science fiction. Self-healing materials containing special bacteria that react with concrete and limestone are already used to repair cracks and other damage in buildings. This revolutionary technique, along with bioconstruction, promises incredible opportunities for the future of construction.

Smart cities and buildings

Augmented and virtual reality technologies promise new ways to design and build, and enable faster construction, improved project efficiency, and increased safety. AR/VR helps reduce design errors and eliminate wasteful changes. AR revolutionises BIM visualisation by clearly presenting data and enabling virtual collaboration. AR-headsets let you ‘see through walls’ and project virtual information into your line of sight.


In many ways, people are no longer separate from technology. It is, therefore, important to keep an eye on the moral side of technological developments, consider the implications for the world of tomorrow, and ensure we take important ethical considerations into account. We need to determine our boundaries and voice our opinions about how people and machines should work together.

New skills and roles

With construction changing fast, we can expect the next generation of construction jobs to be high-tech and cloud-connected. New careers will emerge and replace conventional labour-intensive construction jobs. Some likely new jobs could be construction drone operators who use drones to do repairs and inspect sites or robot technicians/managers who program the software and perform maintenance of these machines.

The future of leadership

The organisation of the future requires a new type of leader. The manager of the future questions the status quo and is willing to leave the old 20th-century management style behind. The leader of the future inspires talent, provides space and opportunity, and offers an environment where the old and new organisation can achieve optimal performance.

The company of the future

The company of the future is hyper connected. It closely monitors new developments and collaborates with start-ups, scientists, and universities. It uses smart algorithms to analyse the world and employs a flexible workforce capable of rapidly developing new products and services. The company of the future requires accessible, inspiring leaders who are not afraid to veer off the beaten track.
All the topics mentioned can be presented in a comprehensive, compact way or, if required, omitted. Topics from other lectures or your own suggestions can also be added. We will gladly discuss this with you.

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This futurist has chips in his body

“You can’t really talk about the future without also being part of it”, says Richard van Hooijdonk. So he put his money where his mouth is. To date, he’s had several RFID chips injected into his body that perform various tasks for him. Van Hooijdonk is planning to have a number of additional chips implanted in 2020 and 2021.
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