Is Design-Build-Automate the Next Step for Construction?

You may already know that automation is shaving months or years off construction projects. As technological innovations improve, the degree of accuracy in various tools allows contracting businesses to consider how they can use automation to get their work done faster. Here are a few reasons automation deserves an important role in your design phase, and how you can best take advantage of it.

Why It’s Time to Automate
Whether you’ve been working in the industry for years or you’re just starting out, there are plenty of reasons to rethink the way you do things. The construction labor shortage exploded by the housing crisis and was made worse by increasing numbers of construction professionals heading into retirement. It’s getting better but it’s still a big problem in a lot of fields. Automation isn’t just gaining popularity–it’s improving in accuracy. This means that you can automate processes that will do the work nearly as well or, in some cases, better than you could do with a skilled worker.

Tips to Incorporate Automation Into Your Workflow
When you aren’t sure what is out there, it’s hard to imagine how automation could possibly make your work faster and more effective. That’s where a little research comes in. You wouldn’t think of hand-writing an invoice that you could easily input into a tool, because this technology has been around for decades. Here’s how you can find ways to make automation a seamless part of your workflow:

  1. Identify where your projects are falling behind schedule (or over budget).
  2. Research the best solutions to your current issues.
  3. Don’t jump at the first option you find, because there may be better ones on the horizon.
  4. Take opportunities to test out products before you buy.
  5. Read reviews of tools and software systems, to get a sense for their success rates.
  6. Test it out on low-impact projects before you automate full-time.
  7. Offer employees training in the latest methods.

Give yourself the time to adjust, and you might be surprised how quickly it changes your perspective.

Fields Where Automation Is Taking Off
Even 10 years ago, automation wasn’t a big deal in many areas in construction. With changes happening every year, you’ll find more and more businesses adapting technology to make projects go faster. Automation is currently driving:

  • increases in the use and efficacy of modular construction
  • availability of self-driving construction equipment
  • innovations in drone technology, which allows workers to perform complex tasks from a distance

Right now, a lot of the technology is proprietary. This means that one company’s approach might be completely different from another’s. Within the next few years, you’ll see the best performers rising to the top and spreading to other fields.

Keep Watching for News
Although automation is picking up speed in all kinds of fields, it’s also changing rapidly. This means that if you there aren’t many options in your specialty, or if most of the choices you have are pretty sketchy, just wait six months or a year. You can probably remember a time when drones were terrifying at worst and vaguely helpful at best. They’re now shifting from surveying the scene to interacting with it. Imagine how much better tools and systems will be in five years.

Make Workers a Priority
Although automation is often feared as the killer of jobs, it doesn’t have to be. In a world where there’s years more work available than qualified people to do it, efficiency is king. Automation isn’t going to force or even allow you to get rid of your whole staff in a year. Instead, it will make you and your employees’ jobs easier. That means you can take on more projects and satisfy more clients with reliable deadlines and a shorter turnaround.

Construction automation is becoming an integral part of the industry, and you should consider how it will affect your contracting business. To discover more about the latest tools and technology used by licensed contractors, contact CSLS today!

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