US contractors find hope in new tech

By Thomas Allen11 December 2018

cci_2018_c4_confidence_meter

Contractors are optimistic about the outlook of US commercial construction, with a CCI figure of 75 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018

Faced by a skills shortage, US contractors are looking to new technology for answers, according to the Commercial Construction Index (CCI) figures for the fourth quarter of 2018.

The survey, conducted by the US Chamber of Commerce in partnership with USG Corporation, found that 74% of contractors expect to start using technologies such as drones, equipment tagging, wearables and virtual reality in the next three years.

With 58% of contractors reporting that they were having difficulty finding skilled workers – the highest level recorded in 2018 – it would seem that investment in new technologies is seen as a way of bridging the gap.

cci_2018_c4_diff_skilled_workers

Of the contractors surveyed, 58% reported difficulty finding skilled workers

Two thirds of contractors said improved labour productivity was the top reason for investing in advanced technologies.

Jennifer Scanlon, president and CEO of USG Corporation, said, “The construction industry has historically lagged behind others in productivity and, when confronted by the labour shortage, there is an even greater need to identify meaningful solutions that will lead to growth and innovation.”

She added, “To achieve the expected growth, it is important that contractors, architects and designers invest in understanding how technologies like robots and 3D printing can transform jobsites and impact businesses in the near- and long-term.”

cci_2018_c4_wearables

Wearable technologies are expected to see the greatest growth over the next three years

Of all the new technologies included in the study, wearables such as sensors are expected to grow the most. Although just 6% of contractors currently report using this type of technology, the figure is expected to almost quadruple to 23% over next three years. Wearable technologies are seen by 83% of contractors as one of the best ways to improve safety.

Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, said, “To maintain America’s competitive advantage, it’s imperative that industries and businesses adapt and leverage technology as a way to address workforce challenges.”

With regard to the general outlook of commercial construction in the US, contractors are generally optimistic, according to the CCI. In the fourth quarter, the index score came to 75, which is unchanged from the previous quarter.

The index score reflects the results of three leading indicators that are used to gauge confidence in the industry – backlog levels, new business opportunities and revenue forecasts – generating a composite index on a scale of 0 to 100.

MAGAZINE
NEWSLETTER
Delivered directly to your inbox, World Construction Week Newsletter features the pick of the breaking news stories, product launches, show reports and more from KHL's world-class editorial team.
Longer Reads
How can employers overcome skills shortages and fill vacancies?
As the pandemic further exacerbates problems finding good new employees, how can employers fill vacancies? 
How is digitisation changing the falsework and framework process?
Digitisation is taking hold in several areas of the falsework and formwork process, enabling the sector to increase efficiency, reduce costs and plan even more ambitious projects
Is construction taking slave labour seriously?
The International Labour Organisation estimates that 4.5 million people are currently working in construction against their will
CONNECT WITH THE TEAM
Andy Brown Editor, International Construction Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 224 E-mail: andy.brown@khl.com
Simon Kelly Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 223 E-mail: simon.kelly@khl.com
CONNECT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA