The construction industry is undergoing a period of significant change driven by trends and innovation. Some recent developments include an industry-wide focus on worker welfare and the introduction of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Building projects will become more affordable and efficient, thanks to innovative materials and technologies.
Workers’ welfare is a priority
Companies are more aware of the need to help in their workers mental and emotional welfare. Construction and engineering firms and architects are among employers addressing the rise in mental and psychological issues among workers.
Internationally, research shows the industry suffers from higher rates of suicide and mental health issues than the general population or sectors. Here every year, 190 Australian construction workers take their own lives – we are losing a construction worker every second day to suicide.
The industry’s highly transient nature is one factor, with most workers employed on a project by project basis anywhere from just weeks to a few years. Discussing feelings or problems in a blokey construction workplace can be seen as unmanly, with male pride often an issue.
This trend is behind many employers’ focus on creating a supportive working environment with more emotional guidance. Established in 2008, Australian charity MATES in Construction works to help everyone play their part in improving workers’ mental health and wellbeing. This is an encouraging step forward for workers and their workmates, families and friends.
Innovative construction materials
With legislators proposing changes for Australia’s National Construction Code (NCC) in 2019, researchers are exploring new technologies to introduce sustainable and energy efficient materials. Current developments include the use of light-generating cement, translucent wood for solar panels and windows and energy efficient bricks. These emerging technologies will improve the quality and affordability of construction and energy-efficiency for residents and building owners.
Improved safety at construction sites
Breakthroughs in technology often pave the way for safety and workplace improvements. Now wearable technology has been introduced, like SmartBoots that help managers to improve safety and help monitor worker movements. Future advances will undoubtedly improve safety conditions and ease the burden on project managers.
Construction robotics and 3D printing to revolutionise the industry
2018 also saw construction robotics build the world’s first 3D printed concrete bridge. The 26ft bridge, primarily for cyclists, was created by printing 800 layers of reinforced, pre-stressed concrete and construction took three months. A 3-D printed stainless-steel bridge was also created and is undergoing final testing before being laid over an Amsterdam canal.
The first commercially available bricklaying robot, for onsite masonry construction, can lay bricks five times faster than human workers, significantly boosting productivity.
Contrary to the belief that AI and robotics would reduce the number of human workers, robotics in construction are currently predicted to improve working conditions and help with efficient project management.
With these emerging trends and so many new opportunities on the horizon, does your company have the talent and skills to take advantage? Speak to a consultant at CGC Recruitment.