People need new homes, but the supply of available properties is short. This has been a problem since the pandemic began in 2020. The low supply comes from the historic shortage of construction workers. According to Home Builder Institute (HBI), the industry needs over two million new workers to keep up with the high housing demand.
HBI noted that a lack of skilled workers was a critical limiting factor for expanding residential construction and improving the inventory of homes and their affordability. In order to hit the target of 2.2 million workers, there have to be at least 61,000 new workers every month.
On a positive note, the Job Market Outlook has found that the U.S. economy is geared up to provide 3.6 million jobs in 2022. However, even if all seven million unemployed people get hired, there would still not be enough candidates in the labor market to fill in vacant posts in construction.
As such, construction firms have to make do with what they have. If they can’t recruit more workers, adaptation is key. They can use technology to boost productivity and speed up the completion of their projects.
That said, here are the ways to do just that:
1. Use Insulated Concrete Forms
Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are more used in commercial buildings than residential ones. But if you’re building high-end homes, the material will be beneficial. ICFs are hollow concrete blocks with an insulating fluid and are interlocked with rebar.
They create a comprehensive wall system that stretches up from the foundation itself. As such, you may skip the tedious and traditional work of using a wooden framework.
ICFs are also lightweight, so your crew can install numerous blocks in a short period. To speed up the process even more, source your ICFs locally. It will cut the lengthy lead times that sourcing materials from other states generate.
Once you have your ICFs, do the tilt-up method to build the walls fast. The tilt-up method is another technique in commercial construction that you can also employ for homes. In this method, the walls are already poured and fully completed before being set in place. They’re installed onto the framework by cranes. Once they’re secure, finishing is no longer required, saving you significant time, money, and labor.
2. Use Grade Control Technology
When only a few workers are on board, safety can be a bigger issue than normal. Strained and exhausted workers may lose focus and accidentally hurt themselves or their co-workers. So if the tasks can’t be divided in a way that no one gets hurt, use automation instead of manual labor.
Grade control will allow you to do this. It combines automated machine control and advanced guidance. Workers who use heavy equipment with grade control can hit targets faster with fewer passes. As a result, they can boost their productivity by 50%. Grade control also increases safety on-site because it reduces the number of people needed to lay out and re-stake a job.
Some brands offer equipment with grade control already integrated into the machine. They increase safety further, as they don’t require operators to climb up on the equipment anymore and risk a fall.
3. Choose Smart Compactors
To compact soil fast, go for compactors with smart controls. These machines can detect when a job is already done and immediately move on to the next. They achieve accurate results, too, so no workers need to go back and forth between compacted sites anymore. Of course, double-checking is still necessary. But the likelihood of repeating the compacting procedure is low, thanks to smart technology.
This is another safety booster because smart machines lessen human-to-machine contact. You can deal with fewer struck-by injuries with it on site.
4. Use High-quality Air Compressors
Robust portable air compressor trailers have become a staple in construction sites because of their efficiency. Compared to other similar tools, air compressors are safer and easier to use. They’re not at risk of electrocution and deterioration as well.
If you haven’t used air compressors yet, it’s basically a machine—usually with rotary screws—that circulates the refrigerants’ function under suitable pressure. This helps heat the concentrates effectively. They also change the amount of pressure quickly, accelerating the construction process with near-perfect results.
Using lightweight and easy-to-install materials, high-tech tools and machines, and reducing waste are also effective ways to hasten the process with low manpower. You may also consider having everyone work overtime, though that might be met with negative responses. Thankfully, these techniques are innovative enough to prevent overtime work. They give you maximized results within a short period so that you can deliver on time and have both satisfied clients and workers.