There has been a lot of talk about automation changing the way people work. Some suggest that change is long overdue in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). Representing about 6% of global GDP, the construction industry creates nearly $10 Trillion in annual revenue. Yet, globally, the average big construction project can run up to 80 percent over budget and can take 20 percent longer to complete than the planned project (DeSoto, Wired Opinion, “The Construction Industry Needs a Robot Revolution”, 04-06-19). Productivity grew 5.3% in industrial construction from 2006-16, and most other sectors of construction have seen some improvement in productivity as well over the past few decades. One of the biggest obstacles facing the industry and increasing productivity is punctuated by an AGCA (Associated General Contractors of America) study saying 70 % of contractors are struggling to find skilled craft workers. At the same time, some project hiring needs to grow by 12 percent between now and 2026.
Check out this video about construction robotics on the rise:
Bridge-painting, welding, road repair, concrete blasting and rebar tying are some of the single-task jobs that forward-thinking contractors are turning to robots to perform. But construction automation is still the exception. Improving how information is shared among project stakeholders is most important if technologies are to be effective. New processes and new technologies are critical to improving construction productivity. Contractors and researchers are joining forces to explore new alternatives in digitalization and automation. When supply chains, business models, employment, cybersecurity, and AEC project delivery in general increase due to implementation of automation, then productivity overall will see significant increases for electrical contractors.
Additional reading about automation and construction by 2025:
NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not-too-distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.