Labor Force Challenges in Construction: KPMG Survey Reveals AM as a Solution

By on June 19th, 2023 in Ideas, news

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The construction industry awaits 3D printing technology [Source: Mikael Blomkvist]

I’m reading an interesting report from KPMG that ends up discussing additive manufacturing.

KPMG might not be known for their additive manufacturing expertise, as they are a major consulting firm. However, they do perform quite a bit of research into industry, and that’s what this report is all about. Specifically, they’ve surveyed 275 construction companies in Canada to find out how they feel about business and technology.

The survey found that there are issues in construction, specifically around the labor force. While there seems to be plenty of work to do, there just are not sufficient people ready to fill the necessary roles.

Traditional solutions are underway, such as encouraging educational institutions to enable more easy paths to trades, but I imagine that’s increasingly difficult with today’s world of digital activities. The idea of “becoming an electrician”, for example, might be of less interest to many of today’s youth.

Another way industry hopes to counteract their labor issues is to focus on new technologies. These could provide both automation to replace manual effort done by workers, and also potentially attract new workers interested in these digital technologies.

This chart shows the results of the survey:

Chart of construction technology interest [Source: KPMG]

Note that additive manufacturing appears on the chart, and an astonishing 18% of surveyed companies have “already implemented it in 2023”. That’s quite a surprise, as I’ve felt that construction 3D printing is still quite experimental. However, it may be that these companies are indeed doing their own experiments with the technology.

What’s even more surprising is that 58% more plan or are discussing the technology, with only a quarter of respondents not considering additive manufacturing.

This suggests that within a year or two the majority of Canadian construction firms will have some level of capability in additive manufacturing. That’s perhaps over 200 of the surveyed companies.

Now let’s put this in perspective: 200 customers might each purchase one construction 3D printer. That’s at the very least 200 sales for a manufacturer, which is quite significant. And this is only for Canada: what about all the other countries?

It may be that there is a truly enormous latent demand for construction 3D printers, with potential tens of thousands of units to be sold within the next few years.

This is obviously extraordinarily good news for the existing major players in the construction 3D printing industry, including COBOD, ICON and others. There’s likely to be many more new players, yet to emerge, attracted by the potential of this new market.

It’s also good news for folks interested in joining the construction industry, as these new technologies are quite different from traditional trades that they might not have been interested in joining.

Via Newswire and KPMG (PDF)

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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