As the construction industry runs the risk of falling into a state of stagnation, a number of experts have come to the conclusion that construction workforces need to take steps in adapting to technologies, such as robotics and digital design, in order to succeed.
In the tumultuous times of Brexit, fewer businesses are undertaking large scale construction projects within the UK, and this has lead to a period of decreased growth. According to a recent article in the Telegraph, the construction industry is now expected to flatline in 2018 after estimates to growth were downgraded.
There are a number of reasons for this decline, including the stalling of large scale projects such as the HS2 and an overall shortage of skilled workers in the industry. Additionally, a number of experts have also cited the industries slow adoption of tech which could be used to aid in project planning (thus making more ambitious and higher revenue generating projects more feasible) as a further reason for the stalling industry.
The financial landscape
If we take a broad overview of the current financial landscape, it is easy to see why such a struggle exists. We currently exist in an environment where large expenses, particularly where the UK is concerned, are costly and unappealing, with success difficult to predict, particularly for international and European businesses. In response to this, many of these businesses are choosing to wait out the storm. This leaves the construction industry, and the many workers in the industry, in a more competitive, less financially prosperous position.
In this kind of situation, it is easy to see why the prospect of digital tools, robotics, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence may seem an intriguing prospect for high ranking construction planners and managers. By cutting costs in manual labour, saving planning and design time overall, construction companies can potentially save thousands, whilst being able to distinguish themselves from competitors. Despite the substantially large initial costs of implementing such technologies, labour shortages, and the nature of the competitive landscape, make this an even more acceptable investment.
Looking to the future
Although this may sound worrying for manual labourers, it shouldn’t necessarily be. It has been suggested that by using technologies such as digital design and offsite construction, productivity in the construction industry could be improved by as much as 40%.
It has also been estimated that up to 600,000 construction jobs could be lost by 2040 due to these levels of automation. Though this is a worrying statistic, this is consistent across many industries and is is something that everyone, from manual laborers to site managers, needs to adapt to, sooner rather than later.
How do we do this?
Adapt and educate. Continuing to develop the education and skill level of the construction industry workforce will mean that personnel are more difficult to replace. As mentioned previously, there is a skill shortage in the industry which needs to be addressed. This means that there is a gap for skilled employees, and with automation still realistically a way off, there are plenty of opportunities for those that continue to develop and refine their skill set.
As technological advances improve, there will be new jobs that open within the construction industry and greater opportunities for workforce employees who are able to adapt to the changing times.
In summary, the news that the construction industry is in a period of change, and that the rise in technology is likely to change the future landscape, is bittersweet news. Adversity breeds opportunity, and those who seek to improve their skillset and embrace the changing industry are likely to find great success – for now and for the future.
How can Q2W help ?
Experienced construction managers, supervisors and trades people develop an extensive range of skills and knowledge throughout their career. Your skills and knowledge will be transferrable. However, employers will demand proof of competence through nationally recognised qualifications.
Q2W will help you to Adapt and Educate. National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are assessed in the workplace against industry standards. Formal recognition of your experience will be achieved by working with Q2W to gain the most appropriate NVQ.