First, construction needs a little help in marketing its image and opportunities. Construction employment provides good paying, secure jobs that bring value to the local and worldwide community. Construction workers help improve quality of life.
Second, there are technological advancements that have made today’s construction industry markedly different than it was in the past.
There are sophisticated machines, air-conditioned cabs, GPS guided navigation. The newer offroad equipment offers interesting work, while helping contribute to safety with features like brake assist, proximity detection, camera systems, object detection, radar, and LiDAR. Attention to safety in the industry has increased dramatically over the past few years.
For the inexperienced part of the incoming workforce that needs guidance and experience, new advancements in technology can help. Aided by innovations, construction employees can perform their jobs without as much of the rigorous training that was required in the past. Technology can make a good operator great and an inexperienced operator good. Because of the workforce shortages construction companies continue to deal with, innovations have focused more on operator capabilities and leveling up.
Artificial intelligence is an advancement that can be instrumental in filling the labor gap. Machines can do mundane tasks that people don’t want to do anyway. There are already not enough people to fill the number of available jobs. So the rallying cry of, “Robots are coming for my job,” really is a non-starter.
Even projects that utilize robotic equipment will need programmers, maintenance, other skilled labor, as well as jobs we haven’t even thought of yet.
In the interest of continuing to meet demand for construction production, we need to continually be looking for the parts of projects that can be automated. For now, people are still needed for human interaction and oversight of construction machinery. While we may be on the road to a fully autonomous jobsite, we’re not there yet.
The more controlled the environment, the better automation works. For instance, the fewer materials you need to bring to a jobsite to assemble, the better and more efficient the job will be. Much time is wasted finding the materials that are needed next on the job.
Thus, prefabrication and modular processes are two ways to introduce automation. When parts of the construction process can be converted into the style of a factory, then more of the onsite tasks can be automated. It becomes easier when the product is in a form that is ready to install. There is less likelihood of error, and when someone does a job right the first time, it saves time and materials.
Beyond solving your pain points, there are many ways tech can impact and provide value to you. In addition to tracking equipment usage for maintenance reasons, you can use that data to improve productivity, increase fuel efficiency and improve safety.
Tune in to Bridging the Gap Podcast to hear the discussion with John Somers about the ways construction technology is changing the face of construction.