Human free construction sites by 2050? Balfour Beatty imagines our digital future
Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has published a paper – Innovation 2050: A Digital Future for the Infrastructure Industry – where the construction site of 2050 will be in stark contrast to what we see today – it will be human-free with work moved off-site, remote control of machinery and new materials and techniques exploited to improve cost, safety and efficiency.
While Balfour Beatty’s prediction for a human-free construction site may seem far-fetched, technology has already revolutionised contemporary life to such an extent that it’s not so hard to imagine radical changes for construction not least the emergence of new roles and the requirement and evolution of new skills to support delivery of the future pipeline of construction projects.
In this latest paper Balfour Beatty set out to examine the pace and rate of change within the industry, with digital technology the catalyst and driver to such change; change that is already happening and is inevitable. Exploring how business strategies will change, productivity levels will improve, and required skills will evolve, the paper presents how technology will:
- Help to bridge the skills gap by creating jobs, roles and industries that don’t yet exist and attracting younger generations to our industry, ultimately leading to a more agile workforce with new skills.
- Benefit all stakeholders through increased productivity, improved efficiency and increased value and quality while helping to bridge the skills gap and up-skill our workforce.
- Enable us to deliver projects for the public more efficiently and effectively through the use of such technology as Building Information Modelling, augmented and virtual reality, cloud data storage, telematics, drones and data analytics
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said, “We are experiencing a digital revolution, redefining how we as an industry operate; becoming faster, better and more agile. By adopting and embracing the rise of digital solutions we are more able to deliver efficient, effective and safer solutions to our clients and customers.
“These changes will mean we have to ensure our industry trains our current and future employees with the skills to exploit the use of new technology, new materials and new methods of working.
“Balfour Beatty has made significant progress in its vision to become a truly digitally empowered business, developing our internal capabilities, collaborating across our supply chain and partnering with the best technologically creative minds enabling us to be bold in the adoption of new and emerging technologies”.
You can read the paper in full on their website balfourbeatty.com/2050 and get involved in the conversation using the hashtag #expertengineers.