Technology Will Not Replace the Construction Workforce, but It Can Improve It

Jan 14, 2022 9:00 AM ET

Todays’ telecommunications technology aids in nearly every aspect of our lives — we communicate, get directions and decide where to eat, all with a device we can hold in one hand. Personal technology, created to fill specific needs, is designed to solve our problems and make our lives easier; the same goes for technology in the construction industry, explains a recent article in For Construction Pros.

The article, which references the expertise of Tyler Parker, business operation manager at Black & Veatch, notes that like all industries, construction has dealt with a host of problems in recent years, prompting the emergence of new technology-based solutions. This trend accelerated with the pandemic, as stay-at-home orders and supply-chain issues disrupted the industry’s productivity.

Although various technological advancements such as drones, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and data collection apps are improving the construction industry, there is still one major issue at hand: the industry is struggling with a lack of people.

Workforce shortages have caused project stagnation, spurring an interest in the ways technology can help. Some argue technologies like grade control may enable easier training of inexperienced equipment operators and heighten the efficiency of skilled ones. But it can’t offset the raw demand for workers; it’s only a tool.

As Parker explained in a recent podcast interview, “It’s a bit of a misconception that you can replace a human being with a tool... you need people to make these tools function well and provide value. Our focus is on training and educating our professionals on how to best utilize these tools and then let them tell us how... to really add value with them.”

As the construction industry adapts, Black & Veatch is equipped to offer expertise in construction, design-build, and construction management, helping companies obtain faster, more profitable, reliable and sustainable results.