Q: How is technology changing the industry?
Hassan Sarac: I’m someone who’s very much about face-to-face communication and the personalised experience that comes with it in my work, however, I am quite impressed with 3D modelling of interiors and exteriors. It really helps with the visualisation of what we are going to build, allowing clients and trades to get a better perspective of what the final product will be. Technical advancement has made information very easily accessible onsite, but the flip side is that it seems to be incredibly distracting for some workers. Too often I hear head contractors complaining about workers and apprentices constantly on their phones, either on calls or social media. This definitely affects productivity and the quality of work being produced.
: Technology is now a major part of our industry – that much is clear. Whether it is for the better or worse is debatable. We’re seeing an increase of technology uptake in home automation, and artificial intelligence is gaining momentum to the extent that it’s expected in all our projects. The homes of today are wired for the future, for expansion and for the evolving abilities of technology – though it almost seems impossible that homes could become any more accessible. Technology is also playing an important role in the construction and development arm. Whether it be for site specific tasks, payrolls or for searching possible locations for future projects, it has certainly helped to streamline and simplify the off-site tasks that come with running a business.
Graham Walker: The greatest technology change within our market has been NBN. The introduction of high-speed broadband to regional Australia has allowed traditional city dwellers to relocate to regional cities and to take their job with them. This has opened the way for population decentralisation and empowered families to choose lifestyle over mortgage stress.
Automation is impacting trades with our heavy machinery controlled by satellite, so graders and scrapers do the fine levelling work via a control disc and the driver essentially watches it unfold. The operator’s skill set is not entirely lost though, because intervention to resolve the unexpected is often required.
The significant regional change will be power supply. The solar industry is ramping up in response to surging power bills and I think, given the historic speed of change in this sector, 30 years’ time from now we will look back in bemusement at the old roof panel technology and marvel at the new power solutions.
Innovation never rests and technology keeps expanding. The only certainty today is that obsolescence is guaranteed if technology can deliver reliable, sustainable and affordable solutions.
Neil Gibson: Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – has and will continue to significantly change industry, the way we work, live and do things. Digital transformation, data and information management is a critical one for me working across a complex supply chain. Transparency of information across the supply chain to ensure quality and compliance is critical to the safety of our employees, customers and the public.
LIBERTY Steel, in partnership with GS1 Australia, has standardised product identification and scanning process to significantly improve productivity and customer outcomes. An example is a 10-minute reduction in truck turnaround times at our warehouse, and receipt of goods, inventory management and product traceability have dramatically improved. I see further opportunities for digitisation and transparency of information across our full supply chain right, from the source of raw materials to where the finished product is constructed onsite.