Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in costruction industry

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a cutting-edge software technology that is automating construction processes, making tedious tasks simpler and manageable. The goal of this technology is not to fully replace human labor in construction; rather, it's to make construction tasks more viable. Robotic process automation is the use of contemporary technologies such as software or programming to automate construction tasks that need a significant number of human resources.

In the construction industry, RPA is often used to execute repetitive and rule-based activities. RPA is a powerful tool for automating complex building activities and reducing project costs and duration. Most construction companies are preferring RPA due to its versatility that makes it suitable for use on a construction site as well as in an office setting.

The following section would discuss some of the applications of RPA that make it an effective tool in construction.

Applications of RPA in construction

RPA applications can be divided into two categories:

  • On-site applications

  • Office acivities

On-site applications

Although RPA is more valuable and effective in office management, it doesn’t imply that it is not effective in on-site activities. RPA can increase efficiency by doing the following tasks on site:

  • RPA can be used for precise and accurate layout surveys. It can be used to lay bricks, with accuracy, according to pre-defined patterns.

  • RPA would help in strategizing and planning for cutting of raw material. This can reduce waste produced during the application of materials.

  • It can be used for manufacturing high-quality raw materials on construction sites. It is largely effective where raw materials are not procured but prepared on site.

  • 3D printing building supplies.

  • RPA can be used during the demolition process to avoid any safety hazard i.e., robotics for razing buildings.

  • RPA can help with the storage of construction materials. It can assist with the safe and efficient packing of material without compromising on its inherent traits.

Office activities

  • Invoicing: Here, RPA can be used to streamline different activities and compile documents using simultaneous operations. However, there is a need for a certain RPA design that would include information on tasks needed to perform for generating invoices. Once this RPA design is implemented, this process of invoice generation can be reduced to minutes from hours.

    Thus, RPA would save human resources and decrease the time required for the process. This would also eradicate any issues related to cash flow for construction companies.

  • Document management: The RPA process can be beneficial in this regard too. All documents are scanned in high quality and users don't need to locate folders each time. RPA tool would automatically find the exact location of the required folder and save the documents in it. RPA enhances the management results to improve construction costs, time, and quality.

  • Recruitment: RPA can scan various employment sources like Linkedin to hire recruits with desired credentials and skills. RPA design would require basic information like education, experience, skills, and certification. RPA will help to find suitable recruits based on that information.

  • Cost monitoring and control: Cost estimation is a rigorous process if done manually and there are great chances of errors in it. RPA tools offer software or programming which needs basic information related to suppliers, materials, contractors, and drawings to generate estimated reports automatically. RPA would perform all the calculations with accuracy which is quite an impossible task for a large-scale, complex project if done manually.

    Based on these estimates, daily, weekly, or monthly, cost reports can be produced for understanding the demands of a project.

Challenges of RPA

Although RPA offers plenty of inventive tools and methods, there is still a lack of its application in the construction field. Most of the construction companies' employees are not familiar with RPA and they need proper training for its effective use. The lack of knowledge can lead to inaccuracies in several construction operations. This can compromise the quality of projects resulting in delays as well as an increase in costs.