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How Technology is Helping with Labor Shortages in the Construction Industry

Since 2019, the construction industry has experienced one of the highest labor shortages of any other industry in the US.

Each year it is becoming increasingly harder to find skilled workers. The construction companies who continue to look for labor the same way they always have will continue to see labor shortages.

However, construction companies who have incorporated technology for labor are finding it easier to find younger workers who like using the technology, while at the same time, keeping the older workers employed because the technology helps them with the heavy lifting, digging, and repetitive physical intensive jobs that are hard for them to do.

But many times, there is a disconnect between how technology actually helps and how it increases productivity, reduces labor costs and fills in for the labor shortages.

Let’s first start with the labor shortage.

The Struggle Finding Skilled Construction Laborers

In the US Chamber of Commerce quarterly construction report released in September, it was reported that 92% of contractors have “moderate to high levels of difficulty” finding the skilled labor required to complete projects. 

Some of the other key findings from the contractors surveyed are:

“50% report concern about their workers having adequate skill levels”

“55% report a high level of difficulty finding skilled workers”

“93% of contractors who reported moderate to high concern expect the problem with finding skilled workers will stay the same or worsen in the next six months”

These findings are particularly concerning for contractors who do not use technology to do parts of their project labor tasks because they simply have to rely solely on skilled workers. 

Additionally, contractors who hire subcontractors and suppliers who do not use technology are falling behind as well because the entire project relies strictly on a human workforce. 

With technology labor bots, you are able to count on them when you have a shortage of workers. 

And since bots can work around the clock, you won’t get behind on your projects.

What Are Labor Bots?

Labor Bots were designed to perform labor intensive repetitive tasks around the clock so skilled workers could perform more detailed work in less time.

A few great examples of this technology are rebar, excavation and screeding bots. Check them out in action:

Advanced Construction Robotics

The TyBot rebar tying robot. It “ties up to 1,100 intersections in an hour”, according to Advanced Construction Robotics. Click here to see the TyBot.

ULC Technologies

ULC provides robotic solutions for roadworks and excavation systems. Click here to see the robotics.

SAM

Meet SAM, the bricklaying bot. Click here to see Sam.

These are just a few examples,  but I think you can start to see how beneficial these bots would be for your projects. They save time, money and help with labor shortages. They can work around the clock, they always show up for work, and you don’t have to worry about them going on vacation or calling in sick.

Mistaken Beliefs About Labor Bots

In the past, many folks in the construction industry believed that using construction technology for labor would put many skilled workers out of work, that is simply not the case. 

The use of technology is creating more jobs and enticing younger workers to become interested in the construction industry. Which in turn is starting to help with the labor shortage.

Contractors who use technology for some or all of their labor tasks are seeing an 11% increase in younger hires, while at the same time, older workers are able to continue to work because the bots help with hard to perform labor intensive physical tasks. 

Another common belief about bots is that they are too expensive or take too long to implement in project workflows. In reality, labor technology bots are saving labor costs by speeding up project timelines. Which allows contractors to get projects completed quicker and under budget. 

For example, a Pittsburgh based construction company used Tybot to tie rebar on the Freedom Road bridge project and stated that Tybot reduces installation labor by 50%.

As you can see, the savings in time and labor costs alone pay for these bots. And, construction bots allow you to bid on more projects because you can do the work quicker and at a better price.

10 Ways Labor Bots Help with Worker Shortages

Because labor bots perform a wide variety of tasks, using them to do many of the jobs laborers do not want to do, makes your jobs look more attractive to skilled workers. 

Once they realize you have robots and they won’t have to do the labor intensive repetitive tasks associated with their job, you will have more applicants.

Your jobs look more attractive to applicants because bots perform the hard, physical parts of the job. Some other areas where technology bots help with worker shortages are:

  1. Bots do not need breaks
  2. Bots do not require pay
  3. Bots do not require benefits
  4. Bots do not require worker’s comp
  5. Bots can work overnight
  6. Bots reduce labor costs
  7. Bots get work done more quickly
  8. Bots improve worker safety
  9. Bots give you flexibility with unexpected labor challenges such as absences, vacations, injury, project changes, etc.
  10. Human labor can be used more efficiently because you can allocate bots to do jobs with less human interaction or even autonomously.

Simply put, you don’t have to rely solely on human workers, bots can fill in when you are short on workers and they work around the clock.

Where Should I Start with Labor Bots?

The best place to start when trying to decide which bots are best for you is to take a look at your current projects, the labor shortages you experience, your upcoming projects, and the technology you currently have in place. 

And invite us at Attain Technology to perform a free Construction Technology Audit for you. The audit will help you see the weaknesses a bot can fill.

And because we have been helping the construction industry since 2008, we know the industry inside and out. We know the best technology and robotics suited specifically for you.

Schedule your free Construction Technology Audit here