How Tech Can Bridge the Construction Talent Gap and Housing ShortfallNovember 30, 2023
The construction industry in the United States is facing a significant challenge: a talent shortage and a housing shortage. These two issues are interrelated, and they are making homeownership increasingly elusive for many. With a variety of industrial and economic factors affecting the severity of these challenges, they are having a major impact on the construction industry and the economy. However, the construction industry is on the brink of a technological revolution, with hope that innovative solutions will be able to address both the talent and housing shortages.
Fewer Homes, Fewer Home Builders
With recent reports estimating that there are currently more than 650,000 unfilled construction jobs, the U.S. construction industry is facing a severe talent shortage, and experts expect the trend to worsen in the coming years.
An aging workforce, lack of training opportunities, and perceptions of physically demanding positions are all contributing to the issue. Combine that with the increasing demand for construction services — driven in part by population growth, evolving infrastructure needs, and the growing popularity of home renovations — and it’s created a considerable storm for the industry.
This talent shortage is leading to increased costs, longer project timelines, and a decline in the quality of construction work. It’s also making it difficult for construction companies to keep up with demand, which is leading to lost opportunities and a decline in profitability. It’s a circular problem, where conditions feed into each other to make the problem worse.
Much like the talent shortage in the construction industry, the U.S. is also facing a major housing shortage. The National Association of Realtors estimates that there is a deficit of roughly 6 to 7 million housing units.
As the U.S. population grows, the number of homes being built and coming onto market is not keeping pace with the number of people who want to buy. The problem has been exacerbated by the volume of houses that have yet to return to the market after they were foreclosed during the Great Recession.
The housing shortage is causing home prices to rise, making it difficult for many people to afford to buy a home, especially when amplified by skyrocketing interest rates. And with fewer homes available for people seeking a place to live, more people are looking for rental properties, which is causing rents to rise.
New technologies in construction
Emerging technologies are quickly revolutionizing the construction industry, which are helping address the shortages in both construction talent and housing the United States. Many are already in use, and some are quickly gaining widespread adoption. Even though realizing their full potential will take considerable time and won’t immediately fix the shortages, these technologies and innovative approaches can decrease the gaps and lessen the impact of these issues.
Here are some specific examples of how these technologies are being used in the construction industry:
3D Printing: By creating tangible objects from a digital file, 3D printing has the potential to automate many of the tasks currently performed by construction workers, such as framing, bricklaying, and pouring concrete. They also could make houses more affordable and unique, while being less susceptible to typical problems like fires and termites.
AI-powered tools: While technology alone can’t build skyscrapers (yet), emerging technology and AI-powered tools can be used to improve efficiency and productivity in nearly all aspects of the construction process. For example, AI can be used to design and optimize construction plans, manage supply chains, and monitor jobsite safety. This could help to reduce costs, shorten project timelines, and improve the quality of construction work.
Robotics: Robots are already being used to perform a variety of dangerous and repetitive tasks on construction sites, such as demolishing buildings, lifting heavy materials, and welding steel. This could help to improve worker safety and reduce the risk of accidents.
Prefabricating materials: Prefabrication is the process of manufacturing building components off-site and then assembling them on-site, often more quickly and with fewer resources. And because nearly 25% of on-site materials wind up as waste, this can significantly reduce the time and cost of construction projects.
Building Information Modeling (BIM): BIM is a digital process for creating and managing building data. This technology can be used to improve communication and collaboration between the various groups involved in a construction project. For example, BIM can be used to create a virtual model of a building, which can then be used by architects, engineers, and contractors to coordinate their work.
Virtual and augmented reality: Virtual and augmented reality offer incredible potential to visualize new projects through digital renderings, helping to fine tune details and enabling better input from clients. VR/AR can also be used to train workers and support tasks like marking locations and installing equipment.
Drones: Drones can inspect construction sites, survey land, and deliver materials, in part by accessing hard to reach places more quickly and safely than humans. Gathering this critical data can inform planning and contingency efforts, while also providing better data and real-time progress views.
Building Your Future at Capitol Tech
The creation and adoption of new technologies have the potential to minimize the talent deficit in the construction industry and make it more efficient, productive, and safe. Capitol Technology University’s programs in Engineering Technologies and Construction and Facilities can put you on the path to revolutionize the construction industry by creating and implement these new technologies in innovative ways.
For more information, contact our Admissions team at email@example.com.