The second largest employing industry in India is the construction industry
. It employs about 45 million people either directly or indirectly. The construction industry is responsible for all other industries to prosper as it lays down the infrastructure. But the industry is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic situation, although experts say that the industry will rise back to its previous state in the upcoming years. Adapting to new technologies such as drones and with the future technologies
such as implementing robotics to the field, there are many new technologies transforming this industry.
Drones easing up the workload
“Traditionally it would take me about five days in the field with a scanner to get the data we get in an hour with a drone, and then I’d have to edit it inside afterward,” says Gry C.S. Kjellsmoen, Chief Engineer at Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Drone usage is on the rise as it exhibits 239 per cent year on year growth. They are becoming one of the growing trends in the construction industry. They offer wide scope of uses in today’s world. They are used in order to provide aerial photography for real estate and commercial efforts. Drones are used for mapping large areas in brisk pace. It provides with heat maps and thermal images. This provides a construction company to make quick decisions thus making the construction process faster.
In the construction industry, personal safety for the workers as they have to scale tall structures for measurement and data collection. Drones provide safety and also neglect equipment loss. Drones are also used for security purposes in order to reduce theft, safety precautions for workers and helps to keep the project in schedule.
Using drones for surveying the construction site consistently makes the documentation process easier as it provides correct data at blitz speed. If a construction work is built in a defective way, it becomes impossible to trace who and where the mistake was made. This would lead to a long and extensive need for researching and back tracing the construction process to find the culprit and also a lengthy legal battle would occur. Drones are used here in order to settle these disputes out of court and in an ease of manner. Another advantage that the drones offer is that the entire construction process can be studied and can be used to better the process for the next construction project.
With future advancements being that some of the leading companies are trying to incorporate AI in order to help with moving the construction equipment and keep in check the quality of the equipment that are being used.
One of the major challenges that have affected the construction industry is the pandemic situation.
Impact of Covid-19 in the construction industry
"Often policies change on paper but grassroots realities do not unless there is substantial investment, strong political will and thorough monitoring of progress," said Benoy Peter, Executive Director of Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID).
When the first lockdown was announced at March 25, 2020, the distraught migrant workers were stranded in their work location losing their jobs. They had no means to earn money, difficulty in finding a place to stay, unable to gather food or find transport to return to their hometown to meet their families. Around 11.4 million migrant workers were stranded in this way which resulted in at least a recorded 971 non – covid related deaths which included 96 workers dying on trains.
In the month of April last year, around 122 million people had lost their jobs. This is as an effect from the economic contraction that was caused due to the pandemic situation. The migrant workers who had left the city to return to their families in their respective villages had no option left but to go back to the cities in order to gain employment which is lacking in the rural areas.
Main focus in this period has been on India’s intra – state and inter – state migration whereas the issues that are much needed to be addressed are the migrants’ work conditions and their wages, the plight of their families and bringing the beneficial services to the extent of each boundary along the states.
States like Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh have been successful in integrating the migrant workers whereas major migrant receiving states including Delhi have fared poorly in addressing the issue. Kerala succeeded in implementing migrant focused schemes for social security and labor protection.
Another challenge that has been prevalent in the Construction Industry is the pollution that is caused from it.
Pollution from construction industry
The construction industry has been a sector that has caused more pollution than many other industries in comparison. Dusts such as soil & gravel dust, wood dust, silica dust, non – silica mineral dust and demolition dust forms a major part in causing pollution. Diesel emissions are the other major concern in the industry.
Soil & gravel dust: During excavation, hauling, tipping or stockpiling on the construction site causes soil & gravel materials to be blown off by the wind and the vehicle’s dirty tires or open truck beds also result in this type of dusts. These dust particles are particularly dangerous to our health because of their small particle size. These are easier to inhale causing health issues.
Wood dust: When wood based construction materials are cut, drilled or sanded on – site, dusts are produced which are not usually blown off – site but are dangerous for the workers in producing health risks.
Silica dust: When silica containing construction materials such as sandstone, mortar and concrete as well as certain abrasives are used for sand blasting, silica is released to the atmosphere in a form called respirable crystalline silica.
Drone usage is on the rise as it exhibits 239 per cent year on year growth. They are becoming one of the growing trends in the construction industry.
Non–Silica mineral dust: Construction materials containing limestone, dolomite, gypsum, or hard stone (e.g. marble) can create dust when the materials are crushed, cut, drilled or sanded on-site. Although, non-silica mineral dusts pose fewer health risks, it is to be addressed and avoided.
Demolition dust: When a building is demolished, the above listed dusts are released to the atmosphere. Especially if the building has any asbestos containing materials or urea formaldehyde insulation materials then highly toxic fibres and dusts could be released if not properly managed.
Diesel emissions: Diesel emissions are produced on a construction site when an engine combusts diesel fuel for energy, which results in the creation of diesel exhaust. These are a resultant of using dump trucks, cement mixer, transport trucks, excavator, crane, bulldozer, loader, compactor and street sweeper.
In order to deal with the pollution and also to increase efficiency, the future lies at the call of technology. And technology answers with green cement and autonomous vehicles.
Concrete is also the cause for 8 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions that are produced worldwide. This is why the manufacturers are looking for other options although cement is an essential commodity in the industry. Green cement is seen as a viable alternative for the traditional cement in reducing the air pollution. Green cement is made from discarded industrial wastes like fly ash and blast furnace slag. The emission of CO2 is reduced significantly in the manufacturing process of green cement. Some reports claim that the world can reduce the carbon footprint by 40 per cent if the construction industry shifts from traditional cement to green cement.
Repetitive tasks that are needed to be done in the construction industry can be done by robots thus increasing efficiency, saving human effort and creating a safer work environment for the workers. A leading construction equipment manufacturer in Sweden recently tested electric autonomous vehicles against human operated excavators. The result was that there was a 40 per cent enhancement in efficiency. Such advancements are going to transform the construction industry for the better.