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Retrofitting Technology to Fill in Labor Gaps

Construction Tech Review | Friday, June 14, 2019

FREMONT, CA: The construction industry struggles to stay afloat as labor shortages hit rock bottom since the recession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that approximately 200,000 vacant positions are available nationwide to be filled up by qualified candidates. The lack of whom is deteriorating the efficiency and creating a gap to manage by the developers, contractors, and business heads. Regardless of the problems, the sector is facing, the construction of buildings is booming. The companies are finding solace from technology to bridge the demand-supply in the labor gap.

Drones and AI:

Drone technology and AI has advanced to a high level in the construction sector as it cut downs the tedious process of surveying and mapping in the construction sites. The drones are equipped with state-of-the-art 3D mapping cameras, which buzz high over the entire site and create detailed models of work in progress, relaying photographs, and various other data to site engineers to monitor the progress.

AI and ML are also establishing their presence with data crunching capacities for the distribution of labor and machinery across the sites. A robotic brain keeps a tab of the location of workers, their progress reports and schedules the tasks accordingly, for equipment it tracks the usage and deployment.

Automated Machinery:

Even though a robot taking over construction jobs is a long-term scheme, few consultants have tested the use of self-driven automobiles for the transportation of the machinery and carry out iterative tasks such as pouring concrete and demolition. Robotics has also produced automatic and semi-automatic bulldozers for efficient excavation.

Off-Site Construction and Collaboration:

Many companies have set up autonomous factories, which manufacture the entire house in various components and are shipped to the site likewise. The house is built by assembling all the parts, elements like walls and façades are simpler than HVAC systems, plumbing, and electrical wiring, which are fitted together after the structure. 

With the adoption of off-site construction, coordination and job specifications are essential to be allotted. The Building Information Modeling (BIM) software aids in the simplification of construction management by including the creation of realistic models made in 3D and 4D to manage the labor, scheduling, and resource management. 

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