Gayan Wedawatta, Niraj Thurairajah, Kanchana Ginige

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputForeword/postscript


Disruptive innovations of the 4th industrial revolution are now starting to make an impact on construction. Although construction has lagged behind some of the other industries in embracing this revolution, recent years have seen a concentrated effort to drive change in construction processes and practices. The 4th industrial revolution is characterised by technologies such as digitisation, optimisation, and customisation of production, automation and adaptation; as well as processes such as human machine interaction; value-added services and businesses, and automatic data exchange and communication. In construction, the applications of Industry 4.0 include 3D printing of building components, autonomous construction vehicles, the use of drones for site and building surveying, advanced offsite manufacturing facilities etc. The application of technologies, processes associated with Industry 4.0 is seen to be already making an impact on construction, and reshaping the future of built environment.

This new digital era of construction, fuelled by Industry 4.0, has significant potential to enhance disaster resilience practices in the built environment. Knowledge on resilience of the built environment including preparedness, response and recovery has advanced significantly over the recent years and we are now in an era where resilience is seen as a key constituent of the built environment. But the recurring and devastating impacts of disasters constantly challenge us to improve our practices and seek ways of achieving greater heights in our quest of achieving a resilient built environment. It is often proposed that the innovations associated with Industry 4.0 joined by IoTs and sensors can be exploited to enhance the ability of the built environment to prepare for and adapt to climate change and withstand and recover rapidly from the impacts of disasters. This integration of cyber physical systems through IoTs needs a holistic view of disaster resilience. Often, the focus is on benefits individual technologies can offer. However, the ability to integrate different aspects of disaster resilience using a range of new technologies promise to deliver wider benefits beyond and above what individual technologies can offer. For instance, an integrated digital twin allows to bring together advanced risk modelling, big data, cloud computing, internet of things, advanced off-site manufacturing, etc. together to deliver a resilient built environment. This requires careful planning and extensive research on the complexities surrounding disaster resilience related aspects and the use of related data.

The ultimate objective of any new innovation, including Industry 4.0, should ideally be to benefit the society. The society that we live today is often disrupted by natural hazard induced disasters, whether it be floods, cyclones, earthquakes, landslides or tsunamis. The challenge that is in front of us is to effectively utilise new innovations driven by digital information to enhance disaster resilience in our buildings, communities, cities and regions. However, unlike earlier industrial revolutions, digital revolution is not easy to control. We must ensure that the fundamental values such as freedom, openness and pluralism are inbuilt in these new technologies. This is an uncharted territory for us. In addition to addressing complexities and challenges of using Industry 4.0 technologies, we also need to have policies and guidelines on the use of information. There should be a balance between innovation and regulation. We are confident that by bringing together researchers, practitioners and policy-makers alike from relevant disciplines we can deliver realistic benefits to transform our disaster resilience practices and policies, and make the built environment we live in more resilient.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 'Industry 4.0 and Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment'
Subtitle of host publicationARCOM Doctoral Workshop In association with CIB W120 - Disasters and the Built Environment
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
EventARCOM Doctoral Workshop
In association with CIB W120 - Disasters and the Built Environment
- Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Apr 201925 Apr 2019


WorkshopARCOM Doctoral Workshop
In association with CIB W120 - Disasters and the Built Environment
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Foreword'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this