With technology continuously evolving and pushing the building industry to more complex and advanced heights, the question to consider is: what does this mean for our builders? If technology is becoming an increasing presence in physical tasks, will our builders of the future be more akin to programmers?
In order to explore the matter further, we’ve teamed up with structure analysis software experts Oasys.
The concern of robots stealing jobs
It’s not a baseless worry, that one day robots might be able to do our jobs quicker and cheaper. Technology will not steal our jobs, but just replace us as we shift roles. But how will this impact the construction industry?
Let’s take a look at the numbers. Boston Consulting Group has said that by 2025, up to a quarter of jobs will be replaced by smart software or robots. This includes a range of professions, from factory workers to doctors, and even journalists. However, a study carried out by Oxford University has said that 35% of existing jobs in Britain are at risk of automation in the next 20 years.
It is not yet certain whether this will impact the number of physical workers. However, this can be challenged if we start preparing early and encourage current and future workers to adapt to the changes. This could include advancing their own skillset with a focus on how they can do their job better with the use of technology.
The change of roles in construction
But even if our workforce becomes increasingly more robotic, that’s not to say we would all be out of work — after all, someone needs to manage this technology. It’s also left unmentioned that workers will need to use technology, and that leads us to the decision that in the construction industry, builders of the future will become programmers. Over the years, we have seen constant changes in the way we work, and the construction sector has been very accepting to new and innovative methods to make jobs easier. From hammers to nail guns, shovels to diggers — and now practical labour to programming.
This is something that will naturally take time. Programming is a topic that schools around the UK should be looking to implement into their curriculums as a core subject to keep up with the demand of jobs and to keep up with the constant changes in technology. If we’re teaching young people old ways, they will be useless when it comes to doing the work and there might not even be jobs available that match their skillsets. With the constant growth in technology surrounding construction, young people need to be prepared with the skills and this shouldn’t be up for debate. Like the studies discussed earlier, more jobs are at risk of being lost due to smart software and robots. Workers need to be as good as the technology.
One piece of beneficial construction software already within the industry is Building Information Modellings (BIM). This technology allows the appropriate people to access all of the information about a project in one place. It can look at key stages of a project across the lifecycle of a job and provide the information that is needed. This can save both time and money for any construction company and allows builders to have a clear oversight. BIM can help illustrate the entire building, from starting processes to its demolition, and can even show how materials can be reused.
Workers will need to adapt to these changes within the industry in order to pick up more technological skills.