While the construction industry has weathered the health crisis better than some others, it definitely wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Construction activities are allowed to resume since global lockdown and though it may seem like good news, it doesn’t paint a full picture of where the industry currently stands. The economic downturn triggered by the pandemic is forcing business owners and investors to pause new construction projects. Until there is a readily available Covid-19 vaccine, it’s hard to tell when things will get back to ‘normal’ for the construction industry.
Nevertheless, the construction industry is resilient. In fact, more and more companies are realizing that drastic changes have to be made – and though change may be uncomfortable, the transformation will be for the better. The question is, what are these changes and why are they necessary?
Technology is the way forward
Virtual meetings like Zoom meetings have been the norm following the reopening of the economic sector, and these have become a standard in construction practices moving forward. Contractors have turned to technology to keep projects going, monitor and screen workers on the jobsite. For instance, engineers and site supervisors have now started using commercial site monitoring systems to keep their work progress in check, address concerns and fix issues in real-time remotely. As the world gets powered by mobiles, businesses are rushing to provide better experiences to contractors on multiple devices enabling them to manage projects, clients and risks on the go.
As the industry reopens, construction sites face operational restrictions with government mandated restrictions on the number of workers that can attend the jobsite. Offsite construction involves the process of planning, designing, fabricating, transporting and assembling building elements at a different location than the location of use. Offsite construction offers a viable solution with limited personnel on site compared to conventional construction methods.
Offsite construction works best for projects where the following factors are presented:
- The need to meet tight deadlines
- Weather issues that may delay progress
- Space limitations
- Repetitive interior structures
With multiple data touch points on the application, you can rely on the data collected through applications. The central dashboard that allows complete control over users, systems and approvals, therefore improving overall project performance and improve productivity.
Safer, Cleaner Workplace
Business-as-usual in the construction industry is likely a thing in the past. We are seeing increased vigilance on cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection at construction sites. Measures like social distancing and limiting the number of workforce have indirectly succored the construction industry with a reduction in the number of accidents at jobsite. According to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) advocate Mr. Lee Lam Thye, the use of technology had also reduced the chance of human errors and increased OSH awareness through real-time data that can be used to avoid potential hazards. For instance, Building Information Modelling (BIM) will enable hazard elimination while Virtual Reality (VR) is another technology that will help the industry improve its OHS compliance.
Contributing to a Common Goal
Every construction company needs the right accounting and financial statements to determine the state of their cash flow. Factors that could contribute to cash flow gaps include seasonal fluctuations, too much inventory, late payments from clients, overpaying vendors etc. When projects are consumed by these challenges, cash flow dries up. Towards the end of a project, subcontractor fees, invoices and inspection fees are due at once and if you don’t track your cash flow closely, you may find yourself under-capitalized. The good news is there are practical measures you can take to structure and manage your cash flow. One of it is with the use of IFCA’s ContractX. The solution allows project managers to make accurate, timely and strategic decisions by automating reporting of progress claims, retention sums, project accounting and cash flow analysis.
As we start to recover from the global pandemic, some industries have adjusted quicker than others depending on how they leverage technology. The construction industry is starting to come around on tech adoption. Construction companies that are researching and implementing construction technology are reaping the rewards with increased productivity, better collaboration and completing projects on time. Those that aren’t investing in new technologies and solutions are no longer as competitive as those that are strategically adopting and implementing tech solutions. With so many opportunities to save time, reduce costs and boost workflows, isn’t it time to see what a difference technology can make for your construction business?
How the Construction Industry will change due to Covid-19
4 Ways the Construction Industry Can Leverage Technology During COVID-19
Resources and Further Reading
Impact of Covid-19 on Construction Projects
How the Construction Industry Is Responding to COVID-19
COVID-19 pandemic hastens construction industry to IR4.0
Constructing Malaysia’s Future: The Construction Industry Beyond Covid-19
COVID-19 impact: How Technology will Help Rebuild the Construction Industry