April 11, 2019
The impact that technology has had across Australia’s various industries is undeniable. Technological innovations have enabled businesses to become bigger, better, faster, or safer, and even contribute to society in a greater capacity. With technology constantly improving, the continual introduction of these advancements allow businesses to continue to transform and keep up in their ever-evolving industries, whilst boosting productivity and profitability.
One industry where technology has made a significant impact, is the construction industry. The construction industry has a reputation for being fairly ‘traditional’ with many roles, processes and systems going largely unchanged. However, it is clear that this perceived resistance to change has shifted, with various technological advancements being developed or integrated to overhaul the way things are currently being done.
The application of technology in Australia’s construction industry has helped to significantly improve upon three aspects - efficiency, profitability and safety. The constant evolution and development of innovative technology, has elevated construction in Australia and led to the achievement of major feats in civil and residential projects.
1 - Wearable Technology
According to Safe Work Australia, the construction industry has the third highest rate of serious worker’s compensation claims. This is because construction sites are rife with hazards, such as debris, heavy materials and equipment, tools and machinery, other workers, slip hazards, compromised air quality and so on. Maintaining the health and wellbeing of construction labourers on site is a top priority, so the development of technology focused on improving site safety has grown. Wearables are an example of technological advancements in construction safety. Wearables, as the name suggests, are worn by construction labourers and can detect things like heat, movement, the presence of gas, etc. If the wearable detects anything that falls outside of the predetermined normal range, other workers/supervisors will be notified straight away. This ensures that the affected worker receives assistance or medical attention immediately, significantly improving recovery times.
RMIT has developed a smart safety vest that is able to monitor the temperature and heart rate of the construction worker wearing it. This data is transmitted to an app that alerts users of any dangerous irregularities. RMIT’s smart safety vest was developed to reduce the increasing number of heat-related illness and accidents in the construction industry, through the identification of early warning signs. With a variety of wearable technology in development (battery-powered heated jackets, smart helmets, augmented reality smart glasses, etc.), the use of wearable technology on construction sites is likely to become more common in the near future, and safety for construction workers will be improved.
2 - 3D Printing
Although the use of 3D printing is not widespread in the construction industry yet, many experts and professionals in the field predict that it will revolutionise the way construction is executed. 3D printing was initially developed for the creation of product prototypes, however as 3D printing technology continues to improve, its application on a larger scale is becoming more and more feasible. 3D printing has the potential to eliminate a variety of manual processes, fast-track the speed at which structures are built, significantly reduce the cost of construction, and improve safety on sites. The benefits and opportunities that 3D printing can bring to the construction industry has spurred tech companies to work towards making its widespread application a reality. Apis Cor, a Russian manufacturer of 3D printers, has created a concrete 3D printer that can build an entire house in 24 hours. The Apis Cor 3D printer is able to be installed on site within 30 minutes, and its removable arm gives it the flexibility to complete the foundation, interior and exterior of the structure with ease. Apis Cor’s concrete 3D printer is pioneering the way for future 3D printing technology focused on developing the built environment.
3 - Automation & Robotics
The manual nature of construction work not only risks the safety of labourers, but it can also significantly impede performance and productivity. If a worker becomes fatigued or injured, as a result of the intense physical labour associated with construction work, their outputs dramatically reduce. Decreased productivity is a nightmare on construction sites, as it can severely delay the completion of the project and increase labour costs. To maintain the health and safety of construction workers and maximise productivity, robots are being increasingly used across the industry. Robots are often used to handle tasks that are repetitive, tedious or dangerous. For example, Hadrian X, developed by Fastbrick Robotics (FBR), is a bricklaying robot that has the ability to erect brick structures much faster and with greater consistency than its human counterparts. Bricklaying robots, like Hadrian X, also provide a solution for the current bricklayer shortage in Australia. Robots effectively bridge skill gaps, maximise productivity, and reduce human error and injury. In the near future, it is likely that robots will be increasingly relied upon in the construction industry due to their efficiency, effectiveness and safety benefits.
4 - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
As the name suggests, unmanned aerial vehicles are aircrafts that are able to fly autonomously or remotely, such as drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles are often used to perform site inspections and monitor construction progress, by taking pictures and videos, and/or performing scans to gain an accurate view of what is going on. UAVs provide access to areas on construction sites that may have otherwise been inaccessible, or would require additional equipment to reach. Unmanned aerial vehicles are an economical solution to this problem and effectively provide management with the visual information they may need to make important decisions or troubleshoot issues swiftly.
Workfast Labour Hire specialises in connecting construction companies with high-quality and fully-vetted labour hire construction workers. Our labour hire recruiters endeavour to match your brief and supply you with labour hire construction workers that possess the right skills and experience, so you can complete your construction projects on time and within budget. Our extensive labour hire database enables us to supply you with labour hire workers quickly and easily, anywhere across Australia. Never be short-staffed again!
To get started with us at Workfast Labour Hire, call 1300 824 403 or fill out our online Labour Hire Staff Request Form.