The construction sector includes the development and construction of residential and non-residential buildings; construction work on civil engineering projects; and specialist construction activities, such as plumbing and electrical installation. You may be interested in construction but aren’t completely sure if the industry is a safe choice.
However, the construction industry is booming and this is due to the world’s population continuously rising.
On average the world’s urban areas are increasing by 2000,000 people per day. Construction is, of course, a huge part of urban development.
Is the Construction Industry Thriving?
The Office for National Statistics claims the construction industry contributed £113 Billion towards the UK economy last year. There were also 7.2 Million filled construction jobs in 2018. That marks the highest employment rate in a decade. To top that, there were also 263,000 new job openings within the construction industry and a prediction of 4.8 Million jobs to open within the specialty trade contractors industry by 2026.
Compared to 2017, there was a 6.2% steady increase in firm opening and 23,000 apprenticeships. So is the construction industry thriving? Undeniably. A thriving industry means that construction skills are in demand more than ever.
Construction & Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence can help the construction industry overcome some of their challenges such as cost, schedule overruns, and safety.
There are already some examples of players in the construction industry making noise over incorporating artificial intelligence into play. There are project schedule optimizers that can consider alternatives to the project delivery plan. It works by continuously analyzing the project plan throughout the work being carried out.
There is also image recognition that can assess video data that is taken from a worksite and identify unsafe worker behavior. This can then be used to create future training to prevent such things from happening.
Enhanced analytical platforms can collect and analyze data from placed sensors. These sensors use signals and patterns to conduct real-time preventative maintenance and prevent unplanned downtime.
Accenture predicted that AI will improve the construction industry’s profitability by 71% in 2035. They also revealed that AI technology could also increase labor productivity by 40% in 2035, which is a massive increase. When considering how to build better and how to keep up with the demand, productivity, cost, and safety are massive elements that will need the advancements artificial intelligence can provide.
There is a massive misconception that working in construction means a labor job wearing a hi-vis, but this just isn’t the case. Construction is massively involved and reliant on digital technology and there are many roles within the industry that are not labor-based.
How to get into the Industry
Luckily there are a few ways that you can get into the industry dependant on the experience and qualifications you have.
Apprenticeships enable you to start work and earn money as you build skills through supervised training and classroom education. The construction industry offers a variety of roles to choose from. A career in construction could be right for you if you’re interested in the functionalities of building and are a practical person.
Many of the apprenticeships focus on labor-based roles such as steelwork, lifting technician, welding, plastering, roofing, bricklaying and site supervision. There are different levels of apprenticeships and the qualifications they give you. Intermediate is the equivalent to GCSE, the advance is equivalent to A levels, higher is the equivalent to a foundation degree and degree is bachelors or masters level. Some of the apprenticeships can also give you an additional qualification, such as a diploma.
b) Higher education
You can get a degree in a course such as building and construction management which enables you to go into various parts of the construction sector.
Degrees within construction tend to be within the management, science and technology sectors. In management, you may learn the materials and methods needed to build. You’ll likely learn to read blueprints, learn how to appropriately schedule and manage construction employees, and also how to negotiate contracts.
Construction management degrees always cover a broad range of skills and knowledge as this is exactly what you’ll need going into a management position
c) Trainee roles
Many construction companies will take on trainees and provide you with vocational training. With trainee roles, an employer may be able to support you from an intermediate level up to higher and degree level. The programs are often tailored to you and the business you work with while you gain an invaluable education too.
Job Types within the Industry
Construction jobs are much more than what you see on a building site. It’s an industry with a variety of career choices. These can involve anything from designing, planning and project management.
Architects are the ones who design the buildings we see around us. They design the structure, but architectural technologists are the ones who ensure the technical aspects of design work as they should. So even within this one area, there are two different routes that you can go down.
2) Building services engineers
Building services engineers adding elements into a building after the walls and roof have been built. They are the ones that make sure the lighting, power, ventilation, heating, cooling, and water systems correctly run. They may also work on the designs of a building to ensure that these plans are in place or they may just make sure the designs are put into practice efficiently.
3) Building surveyors
Building surveyors will provide technical advice that relates to both the construction and property. This role can vary, like most roles but the main purpose of this role is to identify the condition of a building. Assessing conditions may be anything from looking for mold and cracks and evaluating how much this might cost to repair.
4) Geotechnical Engineers
Civil, structural and geotechnical engineers play a crucial role in ensuring that project designs work when applied. They tend to work either in an office so they can work on the technical aspects of designs. However, some may prefer to work on-site so that they can make sure the designs are implemented correctly. Structural engineers will spend their time ensuring the structure and framework of the project holds tight. Geotechnical engineers will spend their time designing foundations and overseeing the foundation work once on site.
5) Landscape Architects
Landscape architects will aim to improve the quality of the environment, which is done by designing and managing the open available spaces around. This will involve designing and creating public areas such as towns, cities and the countryside.
6) Quantity Surveyors
Quantity surveyors are the ones who help a construction project result in profit. This involved working out how much the design would cost in retrospect and how much the project would cost to implement.
7) Site Managers
Site managers are the ones who ensure things get done on-site. They are also the ones that make sure the building work is completed on time. This is with the aim of staying within budget and also to a high standard through good management of teams the workers.
8) Construction Trade or Craft
These are typically the jobs that you see on-site and often the first jobs you think of that are within construction. These include bricklaying, stonemasonry, carpentry, joinery, demolition work, electrical work, painting and decorating. As well as plumbing, scaffolding, steeple jacking, and wall and floor work. You’re almost spoilt for choice within this sector.
Skills you’ll need if you want to work in Construction
Communication is an extremely vital skill that you’ll need for construction, despite with route you take in the industry. Great communication skills will get you far in the construction industry. ‘You’ll have to negotiate through complex communications almost every day. There are always different teams involved in a project and if communication is lost, mistakes happen. Mistakes cost time and money, something the construction industry doesn’t like wasting.
Teamwork within the construction industry is a critical quality you must possess. As we mentioned, you’ll be working with many different teams and this can range from project to daily teams. Under every successful construction project is a team that’s worked well together. If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have pulled it off.
Successfully with other employees as well as external subcontractors is vital and it’s worth noting that employers will always look for leaders within a team as well as team players.
We’ve mentioned the two main foundation qualities you’ll need but below is a summary of other qualities you need to work within the construction industry.
- Mechanical knowledge
- Clear communication
- Design & planning
So what’s stopping you from pursuing your dream career in construction?
The industry is stronger than ever and in an industry that relies on economic growth, job opportunities will only keep growing. You now have information on all the different routes you can take as well as knowledge of how the industry is adopting the technology. Find a role in construction that will enable you to grow like the buildings around you.