Warm weather has arrived in many parts of the country, and that means contractors are busy with projects. Even if you’re busy, it’s wise to stay in the loop about the latest construction industry news so you know what to expect as this busy season continues. We’ve got you covered with this month’s roundup of stories related to construction technology, labor, seasonal safety issues, innovative new projects and more.
For many regions, summer is the season of road construction. With all that construction comes safety issues, according to Construction Dive. A survey from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) found that 54 percent of highway contractors reported crashes in their work zones within the past year. This year, the AGC is using targeted web and mobile ads to educate motorists about the dangers, hoping to increasing safety for both workers and drivers.
The takeaway: When we think about safety on the jobsite, we often think about what contractors should be doing daily to keep workers safe. This ad campaign from the AGC highlights the fact that educating the public can play a key role in safety at some jobsites, especially during road construction.
U.S. News & World Report dove into one of the biggest problems facing the construction industry in the United States: plenty of work to be done, but not enough workers to do it. The article explores the reasons for the shortage of skilled labor (which is in part due to a focus in the ‘90s and ‘00s on attending college), as well as the steps being taken to attract more young people to the construction industry.
The takeaway: The shortage of skilled labor continues to affect contractors across the country. Finding ways to help attract younger workers to the industry — outreach to or support of local trade and educational organizations, appealing to younger workforces through technologies and career benefits they care about — will benefit not only individual contractors, but the industry as a whole.
According to the MIT Technology Review, artificial intelligence may play a key role in improving efficiency and safety for contractors. More businesses are investing in data science to identify opportunities to improve efficiency. One Boston-based contractor is even developing algorithms to analyze photos of jobsites and find safety hazards. There’s a lot of potential for this tech, and interest keeps growing.
The takeaway: The word “data” certainly isn’t going away, and contractors can see significant benefits from focusing on their own data to make smarter choices for the future. Knowing where to start with technology like data analytics and artificial intelligence can seem daunting, but the results can be huge.
At Engineering News-Record’s 2018 FutureTech Conference, McKinsey & Company presented data about construction technology from a forthcoming report that shows construction companies are investing in technology significantly more than in the past. Tech investment is double the pace it was between 2008 and 2012. There are also more technology solutions to support design simulation, 3D printing, virtual learning, drones, robotics, analytics and more.
The takeaway: This new data demonstrates that technology adoption will likely continue to speed up in construction, so contractors who aren’t on board yet have some research to do. The McKinsey presentation also suggested the demand for technology integration is growing, which is something we’ve observed at Viewpoint as well.
CNBC reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has approved a new kind of infrastructure project: a high-speed loop from Chicago’s airport to the city’s downtown. The Boring Company, initially founded by Elon Musk with the idea of building tunnels under Los Angeles to reduce traffic congestion, will be responsible for the project, which will make the trip for riders no more than 20 minutes.
The takeaway: It’s true most contractors won’t have projects like this one anytime soon, but it’s also worth paying attention to new types of technology like this. Our infrastructure could look different in the future, and businesses need to know what’s on the horizon.
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