Construction has been affected by the pandemic, mainly because of the lockdown and quarantine rules. These rules limited the movement of contractors and builders, delaying and halting several construction projects. But industries like real estate continued to thrive and demand for new homes has, in fact, increased. This is good news for construction. Recent data showed that roughly 60% of lost jobs in the industry have been recovered.
So, what does the world have in store for the construction industry post-pandemic? Here are a few things that will determine where the industry is headed.
- There will be greater emphasis on health and safety.
Because of the dangers posed by COVID-19, construction companies across the world will place greater emphasis on health and safety. Certain protocols will be observed, not just for COVID-19 but for all types of contagion, in general. ;
Companies will likely enforce stricter on-site measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Crowd control, basic sanitation, updated company practices, and reworking office and workplace layouts will be common, to prevent people from crowding in one area for long periods. ;
Workers, suppliers, logistics workers, and site visitors will need to adhere to the new stricter measures to keep the site and workplaces as safe as possible for everyone involved in the project. ;
- Recession resilience will be one of many companies’ top priorities.
Health and safety aren’t just the main concerns of construction companies today. The pandemic has caused the world to spiral downward to the brink of recession. While a recession is beyond any industry, company, or person’s control, certain economic and financial measures will also be set in place to protect the company and its workers from going through another setback like what happened at the onset of COVID-19. ;
These safeguards will be designed to keep the company afloat despite future restrictions and remain resilient throughout different crises. It could be anything like boosting emergency funds or reconfiguring working budgets, but the goal is to have liquidity in case of an emergency. ;
- Off-site modular construction will be more prominent.
In 2019, the bold prediction is that technology and modular construction will play a large part in the future of construction. That was made even before the coronavirus spread overseas. This means that this is really the direction the industry is going regardless of the global health condition. ;
The pandemic has somehow sped things up, and we will most likely see off-site modular construction become the new SOP for most construction companies as much as their projects will allow. It not only helps keep workers from congregating for long periods but also helps lessen the costs of resources like steel supply, transportation, and labor. This means more savings and more money on hand. ;
- Remote monitoring and visits will be the new norm.
When it comes to staff and worker movement, expect that technology will be used more often for monitoring and visits. In this case, drones will most likely be widely utilized within the industry as they allow for more flexibility, maneuverability, and accuracy in monitoring and reviewing the progress of any project. These devices can be used to collect and provide real-time data to site personnel and management for surveying and mapping purposes. ;
Another addition to the monitoring aspect of any project is the workers’ health and safety. Sensors and indicators can be worn and used to keep track of workers’ body temperatures and proximity to one another to ensure workplace safety. ;
- Communication and collaboration tools will be used a lot more.
Other than drones and monitoring devices, communication and collaboration tools will also be highly utilized in the construction industry moving forward. Teleconferencing applications such as Zoom, Slack, and other similar apps can be used for remote meetings and discussions, even to show investors and visitors around, albeit with some limitations. ;
Collaborative tools that will help maintain or increase productivity on-site will also play a huge role in the industry in a post-pandemic world. Planning, constructing, and managing infrastructure and buildings are made easier with BMI or building information modeling tools. ;
- Robotics and automation will be fully utilized.
The word robotics might seem like such a futuristic and far-off concept but a lot of construction firms have already adapted to the present global health conditions by using automation in their projects. It significantly increases project speed by 52% in comparison to the industry average. ;
Robotics and automation can be easily worked into construction processes such as 3D printing and creating large-scale projects or something time-consuming like bricklaying and cement pouring. They can be used strategically in different aspects and phases of construction, which can eventually help the industry lower project costs, improve work speed, and address health and safety concerns.
The pandemic has forced almost all companies and firms to rethink the way they operate. Things might never go back to what we were used to. Only those willing and brave enough to adapt and roll with the punches will make it out of it in one piece.