Why the answer to work challenges might be in 3D printed homes
It seems that no matter where you turn, you are feeling the ripple effects of the labor shortage. From understaffed restaurants to late construction sites, there aren’t enough boots to fill the required positions. According to Associated Builders and Contractors, construction companies must hire more than 400,000 workers this year and 1 million more by 2023 in order to meet demand. Are 3D printed houses the answer?
The source of this increased demand can be a bit confusing given that we haven’t seemed to be doing much in the past 18 months. However, before construction was deemed “essential,” the industry shut down for a few months, and during that time more than a million workers left. The Ministry of Labor said about 80 percent of these workers have since been replaced. “We are losing more people than we are bringing into the industry,” said Matthew Schimenti, owner of Schimenti Construction Company. Yet with a hot housing market, demand continues to grow.
The pandemic has exacerbated it, but the construction labor shortage started years ago and some blame it on early education. These classes were often students’ first experience with power tools, woodworking, and other practical skills. Today, store classes are no longer a big part of the curriculum. “Schools just don’t have an incentive to continue offering in-store courses when they are judged (and funded) purely on their students’ academic performance in core courses like math and English. And as students are increasingly encouraged to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), trades education is likely to continue to decline, ”wrote Jim Coshow, author of the series of articles. The Death of the Store Class: History and the Decline.
Added to this challenge is the housing shortage. The United States is short of nearly 7 million units to meet new housing needs and replace aging or damaged homes. We don’t have time to wait for another generation to start working and hope they want to be in construction.
3D printed houses offer a unique answer to these challenges. The traditional way of building houses is late for change and there is room for technology to positively impact processes. 3D printing takes the construction and flips it on its head, changing the way it’s done, from creation to finishing touches. “We live in a world where technology is all around us and that’s what people care about. 3D printing is changing the way construction is done, and that makes it more interesting for young people who want to be in. high technology, ”explained Basil Starr, CEO of the Palari Group.
We live in a world where technology is all around us and that’s what people care about. 3D printing is changing the way construction is done, and that makes it more interesting for young people who want to be in high tech.
Basil Starr, CEO of the Palari Group
The positions available due to the 3D printed construction are attractive to people from all walks of life. They can include machine operators, software engineers, robotic operators, and robotic engineers, among others. Many people interested in these jobs are younger than the current median construction age of 43. This could bridge the generational gap for workers in the industry. “These new type of construction workers are mostly people who have graduated or taken additional training within the last ten years,” said Alexey Dubov, co-founder and CEO of Mighty Buildings. “These new jobs require people to master digital tools and machines. “
These jobs can also attract another type of worker. Dubov continued, “3D printing in construction creates more jobs overall, but taps into a very different talent pool. A high level of automation and quality creates an easier, safer and less stressful working environment. This not only attracts workers who do not want the harsh working conditions of traditional construction, but expands the hiring pool to other demographic groups, such as women.
Alexey Dubov, Co-Founder and CEO of Mighty Buildings will speak at Blueprint 2021 in Las Vegas on October 6, where more than 750 CEOs, VCs and leaders from across the real estate tech ecosystem will come together for the PropTech event of the ‘year. Propmodo readers get a special $ 200 discount on in-person or virtual tickets! Click here for more information and to register now.
Currently, women make up 10.3 percent of the construction workforce, and one percent of them are on the front lines on a job site, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. In an industry so dominated by men, women are at a disadvantage. For example, in construction, women are at a higher risk of workplace accidents due to poorly adapted equipment. In addition, 60 percent of victims of gender discrimination are women and 47 percent have never worked with a female manager. The lack of models could be the result of skill sets, and 3D printing could level the playing field.
Technology has disrupted almost every industry, but construction has hardly changed for over 200 years. Those who bring technology to construction say it’s time for the industry to catch up. The benefits of 3D printed homes go far beyond work-related reasons and benefit builders, home buyers and the environment. “There are reasons we don’t build cars in the aisles, but in factories,” Starr said. This new way of building houses is much more in line with today’s initiatives. Today, the end goal isn’t always more important than how we get there. 3D printing elevates and expands what work involves in construction, and between labor and housing shortages, the world is poised for positive change.
Interested in more?
Lauren Long of Propmodo will host a panel at the Blueprint conference on October 6 in Las Vegas with Basil Starr, Alexey Dubov and Jakob Jørgenson, COBOD International Technology Manager.
Get your ticket in person or online here.