Why the Construction Industry is at Risk of Automation and What this Means for Builders

Posted on 01 September 2021

The impact of technology now in the 21st century is so momentous that it affects almost every aspect of our lives. For instance, the internet has made easy access to almost everything. With a few clicks, the information you need can now be made available to you – it’s like the world is within your reach. All the improvements in technology over the years have changed the building and construction game forever. Organizations have also benefited from the innovations discovered and created. Robotics and automated systems have particularly increased productivity and efficiency in industries. The Construction industry produces about 9% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. In a recent study, the industry generates about $360 billion in revenue, with a projected growth rate of 2.4% in the next five years. Data shows that the construction industry directly employs about 1.18 million Australians – that’s like 1 in 10 jobs across Australia, making it the third-largest for the number of it employs in the country. In addition, the nation supports about 992,000 full-time jobs, which is considered to be more than any sector. This proves that the building and construction industry is an integral part of economic growth. Technological advances have been instrumental in driving the growth of the market. However, it’s also been a cause of concern among workers. The building and construction industry is labour intensive and would often need certain requirements to ensure successful production. Apart from skilled labor, there has to be good quality of work and an increase in productivity. Sometimes, because of the demands industries are forced to incorporate machines or devices to make finish the work faster. But we cannot deny that automation may become a threat to construction jobs. According to an article says that the industry most at risk of automation in the construction industry. The study suggests that it’s the industry with the highest percentage of tasks that are routinary and performed manually, but with really “high potential for automation”. The growing uncertainty due to jobs at risk because of automation needs to be addressed and proactive steps to find out the risks must be made. Additionally, studies show that among the countries that make up the APAC, which constitutes 60 percent of the global workforce, Australia is most prepared for automation. Automation has both its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of Automation Productivity. Construction projects such as the use of robotics lead the way in terms of deployment infrastructure. Because these machines speed up processes, the production rate increases. Flexibility. Using robotics and automation produces better quality outcomes because it reduces human error. At the same time, automation speeds up the production process and provides flexibility. Safety. These systems also improve job safety and protection, as they can be used in dangerous working conditions. Disadvantages of Automation High Capital. To be able to afford automation systems, there’s high capital expenditure investment involved. This is something to consider. Worker Displacement. One huge disadvantage of automation is the fact that machines may be able to take over jobs done by workers that might result in displaced workers for other construction jobs. Higher Maintenance Level. Manually operated machines require a lesser maintenance level as opposed to automated equipment, which could become expensive later on. The primary reasons for automating have to do with job safety and an increase in productivity, but we cannot deny that there are certain costs to pay. Automation has the potential to provide opportunities for a more efficient on-site execution, possibly reducing mistakes and experience better coordination. Builders will still have to do on-site manual construction, but if automation systems push through, it will decrease over time. If utilized correctly wisely, there will be significant opportunities not only for the business but for the workforce like eliminating unpleasant experiences or labour in every way possible. This will not only benefit people but the economy as well with a higher standard of living for everyone.

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