Major projects have changed up a gear in France in recent years and many investments are designed to encourage energy renovation projects in buildings, which implies a growing need for qualified labour to prepare and manage these projects.
To give just one example, in France, 139 billion euros will be invested in infrastructures in major cities by 2030. This capital should encourage recruitment in the building industry.
Qualified labour on a construction site
Continuing labour shortages
However, in recent years, the French construction sector has faced a shortage of qualified workers and supervisors. This is a real problem and prefabrication provides a real answer.
Trades facing a long-term image problem, which are frequently ignored as education options, have not trained enough qualified workers in recent years. Vocational education is poorly developed and has been unable to attract talents. The number of apprentices in the building industry fell by 25% between 2013 and 2016!
In parallel, construction and building trades have not managed to attract enough applicants for positions such as foremen, structural engineers and energy transition experts. The image of the sector and a lack of appeal have driven this shortage. Construction and building trades are considered as tiring, unsafe and inadequately paid.
Both of these factors contribute to a shortage of qualified applicants for tasks which are essential during construction or renovation projects. This crisis is persisting and is not improving the appeal of the sector for future recruits.
70% of labour is frequently brought in from other countries to ensure the on-time delivery of construction projects. Labour needs can be met by countries such as Romania, Portugal and Poland, and this pressure is not about to drop considering the extensive backlog in training.
The falling qualification levers of personnel is affecting the quality of the final structures
The quality of the final structures is falling due to the shortage of trained professionals. Neither customers nor occupants should suffer from this situation. And yet the level of quality is frequently unacceptable, reservations are more frequent and take longer to settle due to the lack of expertise.
Personnel turnover leads to unreliable quality levels. The final structures do not always reach the expected quality standards.
This unreliability then continues when attempting to clear reservations as more members of personnel and time are required to meet requirements. This vicious circle is bringing down the image of the building industry and its capabilities.
Delivering prefabricated bathroom pods as a solution to labour shortages
An industrial construction method could provide the solution to labour shortages
An industrial construction method offers benefits, which really makes sense in this context :
- Reducing labour needs at the construction site. 90% of construction work is completed at the production plant, which means that less time and fewer workers are required at the construction site. It also reduces the need for recruitment.
- Simplifying construction site management by foremen thanks to fewer workers requiring coordination. By introducing all or part of the project components as prefabricated assemblies, the number of mandatory contacts is reduced during the project. This approach simplifies the coordination of a project in a world where qualified personnel is difficult to find.
- Raising the quality of the final structure and customer satisfaction. Thanks to prefabricated components, quality is monitored throughout the production phase and prior to the pods or bathrooms leaving the plant. A constant level of quality can be reproduced without fail. These benefits can be felt directly in terms of the duration of the works: fewer adjustments are required when clearing reservations. Not only is quality improved, you also save time on the project !
- Bring a more modern image to the construction and building industry, thanks to a more industrial and less traditional approach.
Manual tasks are now carried out at the production plant, and project management is planned for, with digital tools used throughout, mainly using BIM. All of the main prefabrication contributors work with BIM, and their pods are fed into the digital mock-up at an early stage. By opting for prefabrication solutions, the new skills required to simplify the recruitment of the human resources required for the construction of the buildings of the future will be highlighted.