Can the construction industry keep the promises of the infrastructure bill?
The upcoming Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a bipartisan $ 1.2 trillion plan, is great news for roads, bridges, airports, waterways and more. infrastructures in our country which are in desperate need of improvements in security, congestion and connectivity.
The bad news is that the construction industry is currently struggling with a widespread labor shortage. According to the Associated General Contractors of America (ACG), 89% of US construction companies struggle to hire workers, resulting in significant delays in projects.
So, with funding potentially on the way, companies that already struggle to do more with less will now have to find a way to do it. even more.
The problem is formidable.
But the good news is that there is a solution; and it’s in the bill itself.
The call for digital technologies
In addition to funding for infrastructure repairs, the IIJA includes $ 100 million over five years to accelerate the deployment of digital building technologies.
This is great news for the construction industry, which has lagged behind the rest of the automated world. For an industry that relies on the continuity of standards, little change tends to occur over extended periods of time.
But finally, all eyes are on construction, and these standards are evolving. Because without digital construction technologies, there is simply no way for the industry to keep up with the influx of upcoming projects.
The question everyone is asking: How can we do this without disrupting our workflows?
The road to automation begins with CMT
Owners of public and private projects have been tasked not only with accelerating infrastructure development, but also with improving public safety. And in construction, public safety begins with the integrity of the building material itself.
So, Building Material Testing (CMT) is a great place to start deploying automation.
An automated CMT solution – which uses both the appropriate software and testing machine hardware – allows project owners to replace manual tasks with automated ones. The result adds transparency to the process, making it easier to ensure that the materials used to build our infrastructure meet expected safety standards.
But it’s not just about the end product. Automated CMT solutions will play a key role in helping businesses sustain the anticipated wave of construction work. Let’s take a look at some of the more critical areas.
Fewer errors and less inefficiency
Of course, the point of automation is to do away with manual tasks. But let’s take a moment to see how automating something as specialized as building material testing can impact a project’s timeline.
Think about each number entered manually on a spreadsheet; each test performed on a manual machine; every sample that needs to be labeled, transported and stored – all manually.
Each of these tasks can be accomplished in seconds or minutes. But after hundreds or even thousands of tests, the time investment becomes more obvious.
What if the process of identifying a specimen was as easy as scanning a barcode? What if you could do a test with the push of a button?
The introduction of automation allows technicians to spend less time on manual CMT processes and more time on tasks worthy of their skill level.
Work smarter, not harder
Testing the cylinders is hard work, which means it is also very manual. For each sample of material tested, a lab technician must extract data about the material, identify the individual sample, run the test, save the results, and send the data to the next stakeholder in the chain.
Considering the number of manual tasks performed, it’s no surprise that mistakes usually fall through the cracks.
Moreover, with the shortage of new employees, current employees are overworked. This has a negative effect in areas such as worker safety, but also accuracy. Overworked employees make more mistakes and are more likely to burn out and quit their jobs, making the labor shortage even more difficult.
Accurate data is reliable data
While automation in the construction industry is still in its infancy, it is not new. Automatic testing machines, which have become popular in recent years, allow laboratories to test with extreme precision. The combination of automatic machines with CMT software allows laboratories to more easily collect and store data without human intervention, eliminating the possibility of samples being mislabelled or tested on the wrong date.
In short, there is simply no room for error.
Better yet, if questions arise about the validity of the results, project owners can be confident that CMT data has been tested, verified, recorded and approved correctly; ensure projects can move forward and meet deadlines.
A way forward
There’s a reason so many other industries have turned to automation. And there’s a reason the infrastructure bill includes a budget for digital building technologies.
Fewer manual tasks. Fewer stressed employees. More precise results.
These qualities not only improve the CMT workflow, but the entire project as well. Automating the CMT workflow is a mandatory step for every construction company struggling with today’s labor shortage, regardless of how long that infrastructure bill lasts.