Construction robotics has become an industry standard across job sites as more companies turn to automation for task fulfillment. Advanced robotics also provided construction businesses with the support needed to boost their on-site productivity, which proved critical in handling the backlogged projects resulting from the recent industry disruptions.
The implementation of construction robotics has now become a staple seen in almost every type of construction project. As a result, decision-makers in the industry may need to expand the tech specialization criteria in their hiring initiatives.
Implementing construction robotics at a job site brings myriad operational improvements in terms of worker safety and efficiency. For instance, construction teams can fulfill manual processes such as brick-laying at a fraction of the usual time while keeping workers safe from worksite hazards.
Similarly, smart robotic systems such as surveillance installations can provide construction teams with improved control of assets and equipment management for optimized security and accountability. Companies may assign construction robotics experts with various tasks including material handling, demolition, autonomous heavy equipment management, and 3D printing.
Hiring candidates skilled in construction robotics proficiencies (and related skills such as data analytics) enables construction teams to operate advanced solutions smoothly with reduced training and onboarding costs.
While there are ongoing concerns about robotics replacing workers in the construction industry with the advancements of automation, these fears are largely unfounded. Instead, the emergence of new construction robotic technology offers fresh opportunities for industry professionals to acquire new on-site expertise to refresh and elevate their careers.
The following roles are strategic hiring considerations for construction companies as the industry enters a new era of innovation and progress with robotics technology.
A trusted team of automation technicians ensures that a company’s robotic assets and equipment remain optimally functional. These specialists perform routine servicing, maintenance, and repairs on robotic solutions to maximize the machines’ on-site performance. Automation technicians usually possess at least a bachelor’s degree in construction robotics-related fields such as electrical engineering or computer science.
Automation technicians are also responsible for maintaining related automation devices and systems such as augmented reality (AR) headsets and 3D scanners. An ideal candidate for the role should possess a combination of electronics, computer programming knowledge, and mechanical experience. Industry surveys show that 55% of construction companies in the US, Europe, and China report the use of robots on their worksite, which could signal a continuous worldwide demand for automation technicians.
Having automation technicians on the construction team provides a wide range of business improvements. These include reducing the downtime of various robotics implementations, boosting operational efficiencies, and enhancing the quality control of newly introduced tech solutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are critical processes in construction robotics in providing advanced software input for programming quick and accurate machine functions. Experts with these skills such as machine learning engineers, provide the AI and ML knowledge to design self-running software for automating robotics at the job site. Candidates applying for machine learning engineer roles or similar positions should have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and similar fields for a clear understanding of data management.
Data experts serve essential roles in providing modern construction companies with the backend functions for organizing, reviewing, and deploying large quantities of data to support and scale on-site robotics. By having AI and ML experts on board, construction companies can improve functional robotics by fine-tuning risk assessments and project efficiencies through strategically created algorithms.
BIMs are creative professionals responsible for developing 3D models of construction site structures and objects. Construction professionals interested in BIM projects should have a BIM certification issued by a recognized institution. Construction companies should also consider the level of BIM proficiency of hired candidates. BIM certifications vary, where fundamental certificates offer a general understanding of the BIM pathway while specialist BIM certifications qualify candidates for specialized roles such as a modeler or analyst.
The latest advancements in technology enable BIMs to leverage robotic solutions to create architectural concepts on a life-size scale with increased speed and precision.
In one case study, a mobile robot enabled a construction team in Belgium to produce detailed digital drawings at full scale with millimeter precision at a construction site. Similarly, construction company Besix applied mobile robotic technology in the construction of the Mohammed VI Tower in Morocco.
The robotics solution employed by the Besix team enabled them to draw a floor plan on a real-life scale within a day based on their BIMs’ digital designs. Besix’s chief surveyor stated that the novel technology achieved quality results three times faster than the usual speed.
Construction teams are deploying specially fitted drones in the surveillance of on-site safety, and site analysis to enhance project monitoring and reporting procedures. The lightweight design of drones enables teams to survey a wide project area with added accessibility and cost-effectiveness, quickly acquiring real-time data and transferring them to online systems.
Drone operators operate and maintain the machine solutions implemented in surveillance and site testing projects, providing construction teams with the intel to make the safest and most efficient decisions. Qualified individuals should have a drone pilot license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While the role generally does not require a degree, qualifications in related disciplines such as engineering and computer science can provide the added knowledge to boost operations in the field.
These specialized robotics operators provide a significant impact on job site assessments, particularly during the pre-construction planning stage of projects. In these situations, teams can tap on drone insights to accurately map out site layouts for land allocation by capturing aerial data of potential project sites.
The integration of human-managed construction expertise and sophisticated robotics technology has paved the way for unprecedented worksite efficiency, safety, and accuracy. Now is a critical period for construction decision-makers to monitor the latest developments in the robotics field, as well as related disciplines such as engineering and computer science. By doing so, teams can hire the cross-functional talent required to modernize their on-site operations. Rather than perceiving the rise of robotics or machines as a threat to talent, construction companies need to combine robotic accuracy with human versatility to take the cost-effectiveness of project management to new heights.