The post-covid-19 era is indeed an exciting time for the construction industry in the UK. It is one of the largest GDP contributing sectors; economists have a keen eye on the construction industry’s growth and challenges. The fact can’t be ignored that the construction industry in the UK has been facing several challenges. However, the good news is all those challenges can be easily overcome by embracing digital transformation in the construction. Yes, you heard it right. Construction IT solutions can ease the pain and streamline complex processes.
Firstly, Let Us Take A Look At The Existing Challenges The Construction Industry Faces.
Delivering On-Time And Within Budget
The projects of this particular sector are the precise coordination of a lot of moving parts. It is very challenging to keep track of the workforce in the construction industry. People management, as well as equipment management, needs time as well as money. As and when the number of projects grows, construction contractors tend to take up more and more residential and non-residential projects. As a result, things get jumbled up and result in either late delivery of the project or crossing budget limits.
Shortage Of Skilled Workers
The high demand for construction workers mirrors the growth of the construction industry in the UK. As part of its 2017 budget, the UK Government pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. But, things turned out to be different due to the pandemic crisis. Even today, when the world is gradually getting back on track, the UK construction workforce is not sufficiently high to make such a pledge. Ranging from project managers, site engineers, site supervisors to engineers working with contactors, demand hardly meets with supply. There is a huge gap and a significant amount of shortage of skilled labour.
Any construction project starts with the client who decides something to be constructed, residential or commercial. And then, it comes to determining the timeline and budget to accomplish the said construction project. Then, the ball goes into the court of consultants like architectures, engineers, and others to start with the design phase. Meanwhile, construction contractors may hire subcontractors (like plumbers, electricians, etc.) to manage the project and meet the timelines. All these sound too good on the paper. But in practice, each of these processes is challenging and time-consuming. And even a minor change in a project can change the scope and cause a delay. When managing multiple projects, this can create a disastrous domino effect.
Failure To Embrace Technology
Workflows are outdated! Many construction companies still use paper forms, documents and spreadsheets for resource management. It requires a lot of human intervention and even quite prone to errors and inefficiencies. In the outdated workflows, chances are high to miss any critical information or mismanage any essential resource. At times, it results in poor task scheduling too. This is all because of the failure to embrace the latest technology.
But this isn’t the end of the story, and it’s just an insight; all these challenges can be easily overcome by construction digital transformation.
Construction Digital Transformation To Tackle The Inherent Industry Challenges
As per Mckinsey, modern technology to construction could improve productivity by 14-15% and generate 4-5% savings. Isn’t it exciting enough to get started with construction digital transformation? Here’s a glimpse into the benefits of digital transformation in the construction industry.
- Project collaboration can be made easy, timely and effective with mobile apps and web-based solutions like bid management apps, online bid boards, etc. Mobile technology enables construction businesses for real-time data collection and transmission between the job site and project managers in the back office.
- Cloud-based construction software solutions enable on-site employees to submit timecards, expense reports, requests for information (RFIs), work records, and other verified documentation. This can save a considerable number of hours per year in data entry and automatically organises critical files.
- Cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, IoT based sensors and drones can also boost site productivity while making them safer and quality compliant.
- With drones, developers can quickly conduct job site inspections and identify potential hazards each day.
- Sensors built on equipment and materials monitor and track how everything else moves around the construction site. Once enough data sets are collected from these sensors, with the use of artificial intelligence, it is possible to analyse how workers move about and interact with the site to develop solutions to reorganise the placement of tools and materials to make them more accessible to workers and reduce downtime.
- Wearable tech in construction is also booming up. Smart wearables like work boots, hard hats, gloves, safety vests, safety glasses and others can enhance the safety and efficiency of the workers.
The digitisation process helps maximise efficiency and profits and substantially minimise risks to human life with rigorous monitoring of the sites and safety compliance protocols. This is the right time to embrace construction digital transformation, if not yet.
The UK construction industry is all set to harness the power of the latest technologies like Robotics & Drones, BIM (building information modelling), 5G and Wi-Fi6, AI (artificial intelligence) and Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR).
There isn’t any pinpoint checklist but if you are facing any or all of the challenges mentioned above, your business is in the dire need of digital transformation.