Preceded only by water and food in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, shelter is one of the most important attributes in the pursuit of content for mankind. Every human being requires some form of shelter and there is a huge disparity in shelters quality and amenities comparing upper class Americans to developing nations who shelters are often made of scrap materials or dirt and straw.The construction industry is one of the oldest industries. It came before the written word and most ancient art and relics come in the form of architecture from different empires. Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Aztecs, and many more ancient civilizations all left behind unique architecture that cemented their place in history as powerful world leaders.
Innovation is happening today at a rate we have never before witnessed in history. Our constant improvement of computing technology and our ability to analyze data has given us access to information we never had before. The ability to share that data and content with anybody connected to the Internet has changed nearly every industry that operates in a competitive capitalist market.
Think of the way Uber changed the taxi industry, or the way Apple changed the cell phone industry implementing an app store that granting nearly limitless potential to application developers went on to create $1 billion company all inside of the infrastructure of Apple’s App Store. The food industry has also been drastically changed. For the first time in history people are spending more money on the prepared food and beverages that groceries, eating food from restaurants rather than cooking at home. What caused this paradigm shift from making food yourself to ordering it, whether it be at a restaurant or via delivery service. Efficiency is the main driver of our innovation in all of these industries and technology is fuel of that innovation.How is it that the construction industry, one of the most necessary and everlasting industries has been so stagnant? When you examine the recent innovations in the construction industry almost all of them revolve around software. Software developments help people working on construction projects go through building drawings and spec sheets on a computer. BIM software helps you to visualize the construction of the building people have created robots that can give you a 3-D map of the interior and exterior of your building just by driving through the building. The other big segment of software that innovative construction was scheduling software.
Many like to playfully scoff at millennial’s for living with their parents even when many of them have achieved jobs that afford them a moderate lifestyle young people are having a hard time buying homes or are choosing not to, likely because the cost is so high. the number of years it takes to save up for the down payment on home on average is higher than its historically been. (1)(2)
Overseas, there are many regions that are severely and disproportionately impoverished in comparison to the rest of the world. Over 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day (3). For some cultures this is a lifestyle choice for others they do not see a clear path to a better lifestyle although they would give almost anything for the opportunity to improve their living conditions and well-being.
The biggest innovation in construction of modern history was the skyscraper and although people continue building to new heights there is no tremendous world changing value in building skyscrapers that are 100+ stories.What the construction industry needs is a paradigm shift to automation in the pursuit of efficiency.