While the construction industry employs millions of skilled workers and generates more than $10 trillion every year in revenues, it is still lagging behind in technology adoption. For an industry that has the potential for immense growth, the slow adoption of technology is crippling its future. The industry struggles with the lack of skilled labor and weak productivity levels.
Nevertheless, all hope is not lost as many firms are warming up towards new technologies. Simple management software, AR, and VR are already in use. In 2020 and beyond, we might see robotics in the construction industry, among other forms of automation. Read on to learn more.
How Will Construction Automation Help the Industry?
Automation in the construction industry will lead to significant growth. Below are some of the benefits the industry will reap.
Easy Site Inspections With Drones
In 2019, more than 85 percent of construction firms had a shortage of skilled labor in the US. Even with such deficiencies, most firms still expended the available human resources in the tasks that could have been done by drones or other forms of technology.
By the use of drones, construction firms will have less need for human supervisors, and these supervisors can do other tasks that drones can’t. A drone can inspect and monitor a project faster, especially when the project in question is a skyscraper. A manager or supervisor might spend days going through a tower or a shopping mall looking at the progress of a project and for safety precautions. With only a single pilot, the inspection can be done in a few hours remotely.
Besides inspection, drones can be used to manage inventory. When surveyors want to determine the number of materials, they use GPS coordinates to cross-section piles. Instead of that, a drone with a camera and lasers can do a better job in minutes. As a result, a lot of time and money are saved. When you lower input and operational costs, you realize bigger returns; get more info on this.
Automated Prefabrication of Homes
Prefabrication is rising in popularity, which is a good thing. The use of robotics in building construction in special warehouses will make the process smoother. Today in Japan, 16 percent of all homes are prefabricated while in Sweden, 40 percent of homes are prefabricated. Thanks to the sustainable nature of prefabrication, most other countries are adopting the technology.
In the automobile industry, the use of assembly lines has made the industry grow so many times over. Again, the factory environment enhances consistency and product quality. In the construction industry, prefabrication, coupled with automation in building construction, will see better and more consistent houses.
Prefabricated houses, unlike on-site construction, require fewer materials and produce less waste. In a controlled warehouse, the exact amount of materials ordered is used. Again, any material not used will be recycled in another project. Here, a whole project is completed in one location, only leaving installation on-site.
Construction Automation and Robotics will Enhance Construction Efficiency
Robots come to take the work that human beings have traditionally done. However, unlike humans, robots are not prone to fatigue – they can work for days with the same level of preciseness. By using robotics, the construction industry will see improved productivity, which will save them costs by reducing the time it takes to complete a project and the number of workers needed. In the next decade and beyond, proponents of robotics in building construction are creating new methods to revolutionize how materials are processed.
The release of the robot SAM 100, which is short for Semi-Automated Mason 100, has brought new hope in the construction industry. The robot can lay up to 2,000 bricks in a day compared to a human who can only do 400 bricks. With SAM 100 already in the industry, other brick-laying robots are expected in the future.
3D Printing will Make Construction Easier
3D printing has been used in so many industries around the world. However, the construction industry only recently started considering the technology. The US Marine Corps has printed a 3D pedestrian footbridge. Again, simple houses have also been printed. It takes about two days to print a simple house and a day to install it on-site. However, printing a house in 3D will not only save material but will also produce no waste, and the process will be more precise.
3D houses have also been designed and produced in other countries such as Dubai. With concrete 3D printing, the industry will not only save on the amount of materials used but will also produce less waste, use less energy, and achieve so many more benefits.
The cost implications of adopting 3D printing of houses are crippling construction automation. Again, the technology is still new and not extensively used. In 2020 and beyond, we can expect to see construction automation and robotics being applied by large scale companies.
How Will Automation in Building Construction Affect the Need for Skilled Labor?
Because the building and construction industry already has a shortage of skilled labor, smart tools and equipment are coming in to fill a gap that already exists. Ergo, the need for skilled labor will persist in 2020 going forward. Again, the industry will need more people to operate the machinery, design, and manage projects.
The use of robotics in the construction industry will be seen more in the years to come. Likewise, automation will grow, and the construction industry will benefit significantly. The shortage in labor, declining productivity, slow growth, and other problems facing the construction industry will end once the technology is fully embraced. The good news is, there are so many firms that are investing in construction industry technology.
With increased productivity comes more profits, and that means better salaries for construction workers in the industry. Anyone eyeing a career in the construction industry should do so with the technology trends in mind.