Digital Technology To Address Construction Labor Shortage

Canadian construction companies are asserting that digital technology holds the solution to address the severe scarcity of skilled labor affecting the majority of firms in the industry. Currently, the sector is grappling with a shortage of workers. In comparison to other nations, Canada’s construction industry has been sluggish in adopting new digital technologies. However, this reluctance has proven to be detrimental, as the utilization of digital tools like robots and drones can yield significant advantages, including time and cost savings, waste reduction, and enhanced worker safety.

Fortunately, the Canadian construction industry is now recognizing the value of these benefits. Recent insights reveal that 46 percent of companies have expressed their intention to allocate more than 11 percent of their corporate operating budget towards technology and digital transformation.

The implementation of new technologies has posed a significant challenge due to the high costs involved. In the construction industry, where profit margins are already narrow, small and medium-sized contractors face even greater obstacles in adopting innovative solutions for their business operations. The CCA (Construction Contractors Association) is actively collaborating with federal departments to revamp procurement processes by creating an environment that supports shared risk, thereby encouraging contractors to embrace modernization.

Digital Technologies: Drones, 3D printing, and Robots

Various technologies utilized in the construction industry include drone-based surveying, 3D printing, and robot mobile dogs like Boston Dynamics’ Spot. Among these, the Spot robot is particularly practical, as it can alleviate the workload of field engineers and reduce fatigue without being prohibitively expensive.

However, it is important to note that these machines are not expected to replace human jobs on a large scale in the near future. Instead, the focus is on empowering the existing workforce to achieve more with fewer resources. The intent is not to replace people but rather to enable them to tackle the abundance of work that often remains undone due to a shortage of skilled labor.