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“Part of the opportunity for efficiency lies with the government, part of the opportunity for efficiency lies with our industry, but the need for efficiency is indisputable,” Wilkes says.
Elevators, robotics and autonomous vehicles
Not all advancements in condo construction are focused on data. New elevator tech, for instance, is being used to expedite lofty projects such as The One, an 85-storey spire at Yonge and Bloor. The Mizrahi Developments condo is the first in the country to use Otis Canada’s SkyBuild “self-climbing” elevators, which expand to give construction crews indoor access to completed floors as they’re added.
“Our crews will be using SkyBuild elevators to move people and equipment around the jobsite, both during active construction hours as well as off hours for cleaning and material distribution,” says Joshua Lax, Mizrahi’s vice-president of development. The company predicts the high-speed lifters will bring a “substantial productivity boost based on the time we’ll save,” he says.
Other construction innovations — autonomous vehicles such as Volvo’s TA15 electric dumper, for instance, and robotic equipment that can handle specialized tasks such as welding, drilling and brick-laying — are similarly aimed at driving costs down and helping supply keep up with demand, PwC’s Cassano says. He believes the need for these innovations is particularly acute in the wake of hurdles brought on by the pandemic, including the need for more physical distancing among workers, and hesitancy among developers to start new projects.
“We need more supply in the market to deal with immigration, and I think technology has a huge role to play,” he says.