Research + Tech

Construction industry uses robots to problem-solve

Construction companies increasingly are using robots to solve labor shortages and improve speed, efficiency, safety and profits, according to

“Construction & Demolition Robots,” a recent report from Boulder, Colo.-based market intelligence firm Tractica, says construction companies are using robots for various tasks, which will change the way the industry operates. The largest market will be for robot assistants used at construction sites, followed by infrastructure robots for demolition, site prep and road building; structure robots such as bricklayers, welders and 3D concrete printers; and finishing robots, which perform tasks such as drilling, drywall installation, cleaning and painting.

The revenue for robot suppliers is forecast to increase from $22.7 million in 2018 to $226 million annually by 2025. The report also predicts more than 7,000 construction robots will be deployed to address construction and demolition tasks during the same period.

Although the construction industry has sometimes resisted automation, the ongoing skilled labor shortage may force U.S. companies to consider using artificial intelligence to address the issue. Construction robots currently available can hang drywall, weld, drill and lay bricks.

Companies concerned about maintaining high standards of craftsmanship are looking to a hybrid “cobot” option—collaborative robots designed to work alongside human counterparts instead of replacing them entirely to improve productivity for tasks that otherwise would be considered busy work for employees. They reportedly also can significantly lower operating costs by reducing the amount of labor needed to complete a project.

Contractors’ ability to collect data improves profitability

Dodge Data & Analytics, in collaboration with Portland, Ore.-based construction management software provider Viewpoint, has released a report showing changes regarding the way project data is gathered and analyzed in the construction industry, according to

“Improving Performance with Project Data SmartMarket Report: How Improved Collection and Analysis is Leading to the Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry,” reveals contractors believe improvements in field data collection will bring significant change during the next three years that can lead to an increase in key project outcomes, such as budget, productivity and profitability.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said their ability to gather and analyze data has improved or improved significantly. Contractors using commercial software to gather job-site data reported significantly higher satisfaction rates than those using paper forms or spreadsheets.

Additionally, general contractors and specialty trades listed security concerns as the top reason for not managing data in the cloud, and 65% of respondents continue to use on-premise servers. Although 86% of respondents are relying on anti-malware software to address data security, only 45% of those surveyed have implemented employee compliance training.

The report also highlighted current and emerging methods of gathering data, including via apps, cameras, sensors and wearables.

“We think this is a critical area to watch in the future,” says Steve Jones, senior director of industry insights research for Dodge Data & Analytics. “The smarter jobsite will transform the industry, but companies need their data gathering and analytics fundamentals in place before they can fully profit from all of the exciting technology that is now emerging.”

AI in construction predicted to reach $4.51 billion by 2026

A new report from New York-based market research firm Reports and Data shows the global market for artificial intelligence in construction is forecast to reach $4.51 billion by 2026, according to Market growth is expected to be driven by the mitigation of risk to quality and safety, as well as reduction of time and costs for the construction industry.

AI can reduce the risks of hazards and accidents on job sites and is being used by firms to monitor the real-time interactions of machinery, workers and objects on the site and alert supervisors of potential safety issues, productivity issues and construction errors. It also is expected to reduce the human workforce, reduce expensive errors and work-site injuries, and increase productivity.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Machine learning and deep learning technologies accounted for a larger market share of about 63% during 2018. Deep learning reportedly gives more accurate and quality results, as well as time and cost consumption benefits.
  • The services segment is forecast to witness a higher growth rate of 34.9% by 2026.
  • Small and medium-sized organizations are forecast to witness a higher growth rate of 35.8% by 2026 because of these firms’ rapid adoption of AI.
  • Cloud deployment is anticipated to witness a higher growth rate of 37.3% by 2026.
  • Risk management application is anticipated to witness a higher growth rate of 35.8% by 2026 because of the ability of AI to identify potential risks and frauds.
  • The safety segment is anticipated to witness a higher growth rate of 35% by 2026 because of the increasing risks and accidents reported at work sites.



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