The construction industry has labor and productivity challenges. That’s no secret. The industry has seen the lowest annual productivity increases of any industry worldwide, and is one of the least digitized and technologically advanced industries. It is currently less productive now than 20 years ago. In the past 25 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, almost every industry has doubled their productivity rate, except construction. Productivity in construction has only declined, and the number of workers has decreased. The industry needs more available, skilled labor. Construction wages are continuing to increase with a 4.5% increase in the past year, versus a 2.2% wage increase across all industries since there is such a big demand for labor.
To add to these banes to productivity and efficiency in construction, in the past year material costs have climbed 5.6% with an additional 5% to 6% projected increase in the coming 12 months. Overall costs are up, productivity is down. The less productive and efficient job sites are, the more ROI is lost. It’s a difficult industry to get an ROI. While construction has unique productivity and labor availability challenges to overcome, it is possible to use technological advances, such as Augmented Reality (AR), to improve productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and safety at job sites.
Improved productivity is reported by 66% of contractors as their top reason to invest in advanced technologies. Technology will play a key role in correcting the above negative trends. Technologies like BIM, Coordination Software, and Augmented Reality have enormous potential in the field. Over the past couple years, VR and AR has been used more and more in the architectural and engineering part of AEC. But what about construction?
Spectar has been helping companies implement AR in the field, and it has the potential to transform the industry.
Disrupting the Industry Workflow
Blueprints and tape measures have been staples in construction for generations. Augmented Reality on the job site has the potential to disrupts these traditional tools and change traditional construction workflows. Today, a lot of time and investment goes into translating a 3-dimensional job into 2-dimensional paper drawings and then back to 3-dimensions on the job site. Teams implementing AR in the field can dramatically reduce or eliminate the time intensive process of drawing designs on paper since it brings BIM designs directly into the field. Less time spent on paper designs means better planning upstream, less decisions required in the field and faster project delivery.
To accomplish this, BIM and field teams collaborate and coordinate in the planning stages to properly design for the field and create a single source of truth in the BIM plans that are used on the jobsite. Coordination between the field team and BIM modellers increases understanding and communication on both sides. Collaboration brings teams closer together and ultimately ends up with improved accuracy and less rework. The end result is better value for the customer by detecting issues sooner and delivering finished projects faster.
Streamlined workflows result in increased productivity on the jobsite. BIM in the field not only reduces paper, it also means less measuring, less equipment, less labor, less materials, and less crowding at the jobsite. Spectar has seen productivity gains up to 3x from previous methods used. This means reducing the time required to complete a job to ⅓ of typical time by reducing the planning and layout part of the job and streamlining installation.
With the BIM plans as the single source for all, everyone on the jobsite has up-to-date information, improving information sharing and streamlining communication. This results in imcreased efficiency and reducing the possibility of costly rework.
Construction has been experiencing a labor shortage for decades. AR in the field means being able to do more with less. Innovation such as AR also attracts a workforce with more technical expertise in BIM, design, and other related fields.
Trends in all industries, including construction, are going in the direction of innovation, digitization, and going paperless. Augmented Reality is transforming today’s jobsite and helping teams build with more accuracy, safety, increased productivity, and delivering more value to the customer.
Learn more about AR in construction by downloading our whitepaper.