Could Technology Fill Employment Gaps in Construction?
The microchip is poised to replace manpower
Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics detailed an impressive number of new construction jobs at the end of 2017; 30,000, to be precise. Last November also saw $1.26 trillion spent on construction in the USA.
Business seems to be booming, but here’s the thing: 70% of contractors aren’t finding enough manpower to fill the jobs. That’s certainly an improvement on the 86% shortfall of two years ago, but seven out of ten companies struggling to find workers? This represents the majority of the industry. To fill the gap, more companies are turning to sub-contractors and temp workers; a decision that might work in the short-term but may create long-term negative effects when it comes to workplace safety.
The solution to the labor shortage could be technology. From robot-filled factory floors to drones gathering data from above, modern construction is witnessing the rise of the machines.
Drones: faster, safer, cheaper
Those are three words bound to get any construction manager’s full attention. Everyone in construction knows the kind of time it can take to survey a building site. Drones are stepping (or hovering) up to offer the industry continuously streaming, survey-grade topographic data and site monitoring. Surveyors are saying that operations that once took days are now reduced to minutes.
The speed advantage of drones vs. a walk around the site is obvious. These airborne machines can approach, survey, and enter areas that may be hazardous or awkward for humans. Their ability to assess and relay volumetric and elevation data, for instance, leaves manpower in the dust.
Financially, they could cut out the middle man between construction firms and a winning bid: namely, the fees of third-party survey services. A drone-utilizing firm can further profit by using speedier survey times to get the jump on competing firms.
Prefab construction and automation are becoming more prominent
The production of factory-constructed walls, fixtures, and other designs is the realm of the robot … and insiders are saying there’s no way back. Prefab has shaken off the stigma of being factory-quick but poor quality. Reputable builders are embracing these precision products and the speed with which they’re created.
In addition, the SAM100 (Semi-Automated Mason) can lay down 3000 bricks a day. Bricklaying jobs may be safe for a while yet, however. SAM’s price tag is a hefty half a million dollars, and the robot also can’t operate without a human partner. Nevertheless, it’s a sure sign that ever more efficient machines are here to stay.
The construction outlook for 2018 is a strong one, and, despite manpower shortages, investments in workforce training and development coupled with attractive salaries are sound ways to attract workers. Technology is moving to fill the long-term gap, however, by boosting efficiency and productivity.
The construction industry is constantly moving forward, and Triple E Equipment keeps pace. Affordable, efficient and green are what we stand for and we’re here to empower your site. You can reach us at (954)-978 3440 or send us a message detailing your needs.