North America’s labor shortage is affecting the construction industry to unsustainable levels in some locales across the continent. Approximately 65% of general contractors are having difficulty finding skilled labor, and in some specialized subtrades that number is up around 85%. Nearly half of firms interviewed in a US study claimed lack of labor meant delayed project timelines and higher bid prices. Companies have also increased pay and benefits in an attempt to attract workers.
A growing number of construction professionals are turning to technologies as a possible solution. Simpler user interfaces, company implementation support, and on-going education for construction teams has made these technologies more accessible to a wider market, including the construction sector.
Here are some of the challenges technologies can mitigate for construction professionals suffering form a labor shortage.
Jobsite technology can mitigate or eliminate inefficiencies in communication and data transfer between the field, shop, and office. Being connected means clear, accountable communication and collectible data project managers can analyze to spot areas to increase productivity.
Automation enhances people power
The most obvious and well-documented example of this is self-driving trucks by Caterpillar that are changing the mining industry. Construction companies are also looking into driverless vehicles and drone technologies for surveillance and inspection in safety-compromised areas. At the same time, job prospects for mechanics are projected to grow 12% in the US, indicating with new technologies come new job opportunities for people.
Coordinate between softwares
BIM is the best example of how the construction industry has integrated technology to tackle the labor shortage. The programs allow teams to communicate and share ideas and communicate changes in real time. When BIM speaks to other software, including estimation, time management, and accounting programs, productivity goes through the roof.
Adopting technology in the construction industry demonstrates an innovation mindset and a willingness to be creative in meeting the demands of a busy, fast-paced industry. It is also a calling card for tech-savvy young people eager to test their skillsets and join a forward-thinking company with an eye on the future. With every struggle comes opportunity for growth, and construction firms experiencing labor shortages are sure to find the silver linings in technology. ■