In 2022, there have been significant advancements in a number of different areas in construction, primarily with the aims of utilising more sustainable and innovative construction methods to increase efficiency, productivity and safety.
The current carbon footprint of the construction sector is significant. However, the largest source of emissions comes from operating and using existing buildings rather than their construction. McKinsey estimates this contributes 69% of total emissions along the construction value chain. It follows that sustainable building design must be a priority. Another major challenge is the carbon footprint of important building materials such as concrete and steel, responsible for 14–16% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Construction companies have a crucial role in driving research and development into producing lower-carbon building materials and sharing industry knowledge needed to increase the lifetime of materials through reusing, repairing and recycling.
Social distancing is a top priority at construction worksites, and the current distancing policies will most likely remain in effect even after the pandemic subsides. This demand for social distancing has also altered the ways in which contractors work with project teams and communicate with customers. Implementing technology such as video conferencing has allowed project members to participate in meetings remotely, which can be highly advantageous to contractors responsible for multiple projects during the same period.
Real and lasting change requires honesty, commitment and leadership from the construction industry. In an effort to employ skilled construction workers who will remain in high demand, and to sustain long-term productivity, contractors will need to take steps to educate workers on how to best guard against on-site health risks, provide ample safety measures, and provide more flexible sick policies.
Furthermore, construction continues to be one of the most labor-intensive industries. It includes many repetitive and time-consuming tasks which can be done faster through robotics and automation. Construction robots also reduce human-induced error and losses due to fatigue. This increases construction worker safety and significantly reduces operational time. Construction automation using robots increases the overall productivity of the project, reduces the labor requirement, and provides safety for dangerous or hazardous tasks. Advanced Construction Robotics is an interesting start up based in the US The startup’s TyBot and IronBot solutions perform repetitive and backbreaking tasks of rebar installation using artificial intelligence and computer vision. TyBot eliminates the need for manual mapping and calibration by auto-locating, auto-positioning, and tying up to 110 rebar intersections per hour. IronBot, on the other hand, relieves the burden of the heavy lifting by placing 5,000-pound bundles of both transverse and longitudinal rebar.