While many industries have faced significant challenges due to COVID-19, the construction industry has been one of the most heavily impacted. The industry has faced an array of challenges – from shut-down disruption and supply chain issues during the first lockdown to social distancing regulations and a need to switch to remote working.
At JB Associates, we love a challenge and finding innovative solutions to overcome issues so we can deliver for our clients is what we do best. In this article, we outline ten improvements that the construction industry has successfully implemented in response to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
1) Building Information Modelling For Improved Collaboration
The necessary transition to remote working has resulted in the increased use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) software by construction consultancy companies. It is a crucial tool that facilitates seamless collaboration at each stage of a construction project while also supporting swift problem-solving and efficient project delivery.
2) Demand For Interactive Digital Manuals
Despite the pandemic, the crucial work required to manage facilities and mitigate risks in construction had to continue, albeit in a different form to business-as-usual. To deliver manuals remotely, there has been a substantial drive towards interactive documentation in the form of digital manuals. Our JB eDocs solution has proved particularly popular and has gained critical acclaim throughout the construction industry. The eDocs can be accessed anytime, anywhere and by an entire team simultaneously which ensures that every member of your team has the information that they need at their fingertips.
3) An Opportunity To Diversify
As the need for retail and commercial office space temporarily diminished, the construction industry adapted to meet demand in new areas. A higher demand for warehouses, data centres and manufacturing facilities has created new opportunities for construction consultancy specialists including ourselves. Demand for these high growth areas is set to increase further in the post-COVID, post-Brexit era. As a one-stop construction consultancy, we are ready to work closely alongside clients to provide bespoke support for a broad range of future projects.
4) Investment In Construction Innovation
Construction is one of the least digitised sectors of the UK economy. In response to the pandemic, the pace of innovation has been expedited significantly with companies now looking to increase technology use to deliver efficiency gains and cost savings. Processes are becoming streamlined as part of a drive toward increased operational efficiency. The implementation of apps, drones, AI and VR technology is well underway and is set to continue.
5) Increase In Off-Site Manufacture
Severe supplier disruption has become commonplace throughout the pandemic. In response to this, construction procurement teams have shifted their procurement strategy to rely on prefabricated components from off-site manufacturing plants. These off-site manufacturing plants have been able to maintain their supply chains as social distancing compliance is easier to implement in their larger sites.
6) Integrated Flexible Working
Flexible working is not something that was commonly associated with the construction industry pre-pandemic, but it is likely to be post-pandemic. Construction consultants have deployed a series of platforms from video conferencing and information sharing solutions to workflow apps to enable productive remote working for their teams. These platforms have supported team collaboration at a time when in-person meetings were often not possible. In the future, the traditional 9 to 5 office job could become a largely redundant way of working and be replaced by agile working.
7) Modular Construction Methods
Modular construction methods have become a mainstay for many construction projects in a bid to limit time onsite. Although modular construction is not a new concept, this design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach also delivers a reduced environmental impact with less waste and lower carbon emissions. As more businesses seek to closely monitor and actively reduce their environmental footprint, modular construction methods could be set to increase further.
8) Boost To Onsite Health & Safety
Construction health & safety has always been a key priority for the industry but with the increased hygiene methods required for COVID-19, further measures were inevitable. Improved workplace and site housekeeping is now an embedded part of onsite operations. The welcome boost to health and safety will continue post-COVID.
9) A Bigger Drive For Sustainability
Sustainability is very much a priority across all business sectors and none more so than construction. We are strong advocates of energy efficient assets and facilities as they make such a significant positive contribution to sustainability. The move towards new design standards of sustainability throughout every aspect of construction is something that we support and action wherever possible in our client projects. As the industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that sustainability and climate change remain at the heart of the built environment’s long-term plan.
10) Renewed Focus On Data Centre Security
The pandemic has placed a greater strain on the data centres that we all rely on to power the online platforms and services that enable remote working and cloud services. Data held in critical infrastructure environments has been under increased pressure over the last year (Microsoft ‘Digital Defence Report’, September 2020). Our data centre experts work with a number of leading global data centres to provide interactive HAZOP and risk management to protect these sites as part of our data centre services offering.
View From Our Managing Director, Ashley Buckland
“As a result of the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions, it was essential that the construction industry adapted to new ways of working to ensure the safety of its workers. Without minimising the far-reaching negative impacts of COVID-19, our industry has seen some great advances as part of its response to these unprecedented challenges – possibly sooner than we might have expected, under normal circumstances.
“The construction industry has been given an opportunity to pivot – evolving from long-established practices to more progressive and strategic solutions. Here at JB Associates, we proactively embrace innovation and can already see how these changes will benefit our industry – as well as the economy and the environment – in the short term and in a post-COVID landscape.”
JB Associates: Building Consultancy & Construction Consultancy
JB Associates are the perfect partner for your next construction project. We are a specialist building consultancy company with a reputation for delivering successful projects across the UK and Europe on time and in budget. Our team has over 30 years industry experience, which we draw on for each project that we deliver. The team’s industry experience is complemented by our ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 certifications and our RICS accreditation.
We are trusted by clients including Telefonica, Kier, Balfour Beatty, Interserve, SSE and CBRE to deliver specialist building consultancy services. Contact our team to discuss your next project by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or calling: 01590 688 928.