The future of the construction industry?
The construction industry is one of the most susceptible to a revolution of mechanisation. There are many external factors that are affecting the current climate within the sector, the most prominent being Brexit. The process of leaving the EU is still very uncertain and is edging towards a ‘no-deal’ scenario each and every day that passes, whether this is the case or not, any Brexit deal will have large implications upon construction.
Leaving the EU will in turn make migration harder for any current EU individuals wishing to enter the country. The job market is directly affected by this as there will be a decrease in technical skills entering the country, especially construction-related skills. The solution could therefore lie in the hands of technology, the robot hands of technology.
Recent studies show that many construction bosses and large companies are expecting to see the implementation of machines to conduct such tasks as bricklaying, which will see a rapid increase in efficiency and productivity. The move is not a decision that organisations are overly choosing to make, but one they are being forced to due to the depletion of skilled labourers in the present and even more so in the future. Some processes within construction sites are already automated, mostly with the use of drones to check on the progress of the sites and conduct certain aspects of surveying. It is not likely that construction will become a fully automated industry as senior roles will remain people-operated and the overseeing of the machines could create new roles. These new opportunities will be mainly surrounding specialist care and maintenance of the technologies used; much like the manufacturing responsibilities that are now prevalent in car manufacturing.
Many large manufacturers are already trying to push out their designs into the market and move forward the process of mass change. The big questions are now, how rapidly will these changes incur and whether the automation will lead to higher rates of unemployment among labourers in the construction sector.