Construction Technology for Efficiency
Construction technology is enabling new ways of working, such that the construction workforce of the future may look very different than it has in the past.
One-fourth of firms report responding to the labor gap by using cutting-edge solutions like Drones, robots and 3-D printers. Meanwhile, 23 percent of firms report they are adopting methods to improve jobsite performance. Methods like lean construction techniques, virtual construction tools like BIM, and even off-site prefabrication.
These techniques are generating positive returns like time savings, better communication, and improved quality. The trend is leading to realizations of potentials around workforce optimization through reduced rework and non-optimal tasks and improved information sharing.
The efficiency gains will help reduce pressure on the construction workforce shortage, that said people have to remain part of the solution.
Creating a More Diverse Workforce
It’s true, software can’t get us there alone. Construction is still a people-driven business, and most firms are feeling the pressure of there being fewer available. In fact, 40 percent or more of firms report incurring one or more of these direct pain points of a people shortage:
- Sacrificing project deadlines
- Increasing prices and bids
- Higher-than-anticipated costs
In addition to inspiring future minds, the only other solution is diversifying the construction workforce. The industry needs large, untapped pools of talent: recent veterans; young people seeking alternatives to a traditional college education; and, the largest untapped talent pool by far - women.
Only 10% of the total industry workforce and a minuscule 1.2% of the trade force, women are slowly growing in number in the construction industry.
“Hard Hatted Woman”, a feature-length film about women in construction trades, tells the story of five construction workers who happen to be women. The documentary acknowledges the unique struggles women face and honors the important work they do. It also strives to encourage a dialogue to help usher more women into the workforce.
Improved training, encouraging maternity leave, ensuring respect, and ensuring safety equipment fits the unique physique of women - these are all big strides the industry has to make.
Visionary programs like Build Like a Girl and Smart Girls Rock!, created and sponsored by Miron Construction, are working to inspire a culture shift, and inspire girls and young women.
Will Innovation in Construction Training and Technology Be Enough?
These promising innovations in construction technology, process, people, and culture are pushing real solutions. Yet no one solution alone is enough. Likewise, current adoption of these shifts is not yet enough, as data year over year reflects a continual decline in available construction labor.
So, the question still remains...with the global population set to hit 10 billion by 2050 and 80 percent of firms reporting a hard time filling hourly craft positions today - will we be able to build the 13,000 buildings per day needed to accommodate our future growth?
Take a few minutes to assess your “digital health” and check how your current processes measure up against others in the industry.