Robotic technology has been used for years across all kinds of industries. Now, the construction industry is embracing this technology which offers numerous benefits. Once, the discussion focused on “should robots be used in the construction industry?” Now, the debate has moved to how to best integrate robots, what will their impact have on existing job roles and what new skills need to be acquired as new processes become automated.
What are some of the advantages of using robotic technology in construction? Here are a few:
Improved safety – The use of remotely controlled robots and drones provide an effective way to decrease worksite accidents. For example, using robotic technology to complete certain tasks can help prevent accidents stemming from electrocution or falling equipment. In addition, drones can be used to survey construction zones, providing data to allow workers to safely access areas that may have an increased level of risk.
Improved efficiency – Robots and humans have different strengths and weaknesses and both are necessary for the construction process, but in a different manner. Robotics offers a tremendous amount of precision when it comes to task execution. They can also work longer hours and get the task done faster.
Filling the labor gap – America’s construction industry has been facing a skilled labor shortage for the past several years, resulting in higher costs and longer timelines for both residential and commercial projects. According to a recent report from the Associated General Contractors of America, 79 percent of construction companies want to hire more employees to keep up with demand. With the older generation of construction workers retiring or set to retire in the near future, the industry has had a hard time finding skilled replacements. Robots, in the meantime, may prove to be a valuable alternative to fill the current labor gap facing our industry.
According to Noah Ready-Campbell, founder and CEO of Built Robotics, we don’t have to worry about robots completely taking over construction work. He believes that robots will be beneficial for repetitive (boring) work where precision and consistency is important. Humans, on the other hand, are crucial for controlling and operating the technology as well as improvising and making judgement calls on jobsites.
While more time is needed to determine how these new technologies will affect construction project delivery, there is growing consensus that these advancements are long overdue. Is your team currently benefiting from the use of robotic technology? We’d love to hear about it!