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AR Could Attract  Construction  Workers

Augmented Reality Could Attract Construction Workers

May 31, 2022
Augmented reality tech can help create a safer environment, especially in the most complex mechanical, electrical and plumbing situations.

Across a variety of sectors,  augmented reality (AR) is being used to bring in younger workers as the technology appeals to younger workers and can be used as part of the workflow. This technology could also be used in the construction industry, according to a report from GlobalData, ‘Augmented Reality (AR) in Construction.  The report concludes that while this technology could also reduce costs, many companies are not currently planning to invest in it.  However, around 55% of construction industry executives surveyed by GlobalData in late 2021 intend to invest in AR within the next two years.

But a large percentage, one-third, have no plans to buy into the technology.

“Getting people in the right place at the right time is a constant problem in construction, and technology adoption will help attract the talent needed to invigorate the industry," says Robert Penman, analyst for the Thematic Research team at GlobalData, in a statement. "Those that are not looking to invest will miss out on the many benefits that AR can bring, including increasing project accuracy, supporting collaborative design, and enabling stakeholder engagement. If these are to be achieved, money must be put in the hands of contractors, so they can determine the technology necessary to improve efficiency.”

The research shows that contractors constantly face challenges in securing people, materials, and equipment. Not only did COVID-19 lead to staff shortages due to illness, travel restrictions, and supply issues, but delays and other bureaucratic procurement processes inevitably drove up project costs.

“The construction industry is suffering from supply chain issues and soaring resource costs, " Penman adds." Firms have seen project expenses increase steadily in the past few years, and this is unlikely to change. The Ukraine conflict will further strain supply chains, as rising oil prices will add to transportation costs and higher crude prices will impact oil derivatives, including bitumen.”

This technology, which is expected to grow from $9 billion in 2021 to a whopping $152 billion by 2030, can used in construction in several use cases. “AR will be particularly useful during a project’s construction stage due to the sheer number of operatives that could use these devices," notes Penman. "AR enables building models to be positioned on-site through headsets or smart glasses, so they can be compared to the construction site. A user will easily notice errors before further work occurs, avoiding unnecessary rework and using additional expensive materials.

“The more complex mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements a project requires, the more the project will gain from AR.”

While investing is important, the construction industry has been suffering from thin profit margins that have undoubtedly made investing in technology difficult recently.

“Prices for key construction materials have been under significant upward pressure, with the recovery of construction activity in 2021 increasing demand for materials," Danny Richards, construction analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement. "This is especially pressing, given that COVID-19 disruption triggered supply shortages. The fallout from the Ukraine war has exacerbated these inflationary pressures, severely impacting contractors working on fixed-price contracts. With supply disruptions likely to prevail in the coming quarters, and the ongoing challenges that contractors will face, investment in technology in the short-term could be limited.”

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