Predicting the estimated end date of a construction project combines the experience of the contractor with the hope that nothing goes wrong. Low funds or difficulties with suppliers are things that have always been expected and there are contingencies in place to deal with them. But it is not enough to accommodate and adapt to the future expectations of the industry.
While construction has accepted some innovations and happily embraced trends that make their work easier and more efficient, there needs to be re-evaluation at every level of the industry. The pandemic has exposed the level to which the industry relied on cheap migrant labor, but this is not a renewable resource. People are needed, but should not be treated as one would treat materials.
Embracing new technology and offering a better quality workspace can help attract trained employees who will be able to offer better quality work. This will improve the level of investment and earning potential projects can generate. Looking to the future also means working with vendors and suppliers who have experience in building to the exacting specifications of a wide variety of projects. The changing face of construction may make it more profitable to have smaller bespoke construction firms that outsource for materials and heavy equipment. This can allow for better ability to predict the outcome of projects and increased adherence to newer more eco-conscious regulations and building codes.
The pandemic has allowed for greater oversight of the safety of the workers within the construction sites. Part of the reason so many construction companies across the world employ cheap migrant labor is that they are less aware of their rights and are unlikely to unionize. But unions are necessary for the well-being of these workers as people can be permanently injured due to poor safety conditions and unavailability of safety wear.
Wearable Safety Gear
Wearable safety gear can help reduce the incidence of worksite-related injuries. This safety gear covers a wide range from improvements to existing personal protective equipment to remotely operable robots. There is a type of work boot that can inform site managers if a worker has slipped or fallen within the worksite. This greatly increases the speed with which a worker can be given first aid and ensure they do not lose their limbs or their life.
It can also act as an early warning system as the site managers can assess whether the fall is due to unsafe working conditions or worker error. Quickly detecting unsafe conditions can save lives by moving people out of the area till assessments and fixes can be made. If worker error is involved then training can be given to ensure that the same mistake does not repeat twice.
Construction and Machinery
There are bricklaying machines that only need people to monitor it, direct it, and replace the needed materials. Some machines can layout scaffolding and help augment the ability of workers to quickly transport large amounts of materials between places.
A few innovative construction companies offer 3D printing technology to build houses. While this is still very new and people have yet to embrace it in full, it does open up the possibilities for reduced building times, low labor costs, and decreased transportation risks.
While the concept of using drones to do the actual work of construction remains a science fiction dream, drones do have a big role to play in aiding the construction industry. Drones can be sent to assess the different levels of super-tall structures from the outside. This means allowing human beings to stay on the ground and avoid the many risks of scaling these incredible heights.
Drones are also valuable at assessing building sites during surveying to ensure that the site is accurately mapped. Assessing the footage the drone provides can help to identify the soil content, build thermal imaging maps of the area, and identify any waterlogged spots that could cause issues.
The ability to hover over sites and run regular checks on the materials and movements across the worksite means that drones can also supply a very effective way to ensure the security of the site. In addition, weather data collection and monitoring will allow site managers to clear the site and put away expensive equipment before bad weather arrives. This can help to reduce equipment depreciation and improve the safety rating of the construction site.
Augmented reality and modeling software are now able to provide builders, architects, and designers with a more comprehensive idea of the problems and solutions that could help a project stay on track and avoid unexpected costs. Augmented reality software can assess the surrounding environment of the building site and predict the likelihood of meeting project deadlines based on weather patterns, labor needs, and potential hazard simulations.
Making use of these innovations in technology can play a key role in attracting new talent to the construction industry. At the end of the day, workers are needed no matter how innovative the robots and machinery become. In fact, better educated and trained workers are necessary to ensure that the best use is being made of the expensive machinery and technologies on the site. It is a dual benefit as embracing technology attracts a better-educated worker and a better-educated worker is more able to get the best use of the technology.