Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Construction - what is the new normal?

For the last few months the world has changed. We are all trying to find a new normal and the construction site is no different. There are going to be many changes, many things that aren't as they were but that doesn't mean that this has to be a bad thing.

Firstly, the things you might notice are the differences on site such as the new safety measures that are put in place, the social distancing and the slower pace of construction. Then we have the length of time it takes to get materials, the difficulties that you might face with your usual suppliers, seeking out new materials, reopening of sites, planning and maintaining site safety under the new rules, just to name a few. 

Construction has been reshaped in the type of projects that are needed. Where there used to be a demand on hospitality, retail and entertainment that demand is no longer there. I'm not saying that these won't ever need to be built again, but whereas before you used to have these complexes that would keep some companies running, you will likely find that there is no longer the need, well not right now at least. These types of builds have certainly taken a backseat, understandably but homes are and will always be in demand as people will always need somewhere to live but even these have changed. Our needs as consumers are no longer the same. Buyers expect and want more from the same build. The pressure is on for construction to not only deliver but to deliver a new normal. 

We need to make sure that whatever our role in construction is we're ready to adapt. We have proven over the last few months that there is nothing we can't do. We have come through the hardest of times and are uncertain of what the future holds. We are not out of the woods yet and we are still adapting to our new way of working. But by now, we should have working sites, employees should be back with a new working model and construction should be taking place.

I imagine that some of these new ways will be here to stay, certainly for the foreseeable, such as the distance working. We all know how dangerous construction can be and Covid19 is making us all evaluate our sites ensuring that safety is first and foremost, which can't be a bad thing. The use of technology has also been accelerated, allowing us to perform tasks that were usually only done in person or tasks that would have taken us longer or ones that would have needed more than one worker at a time. 

Projects are generally taking longer to complete and we are looking at new methods to help us get back on track. Now I know construction workers are unable to remote work but there are some people who will be able to, for example support staff. There are many ways construction has changed and many things we have had to adapt to. Houses are changing, our needs are changing and our ways of working are changing. Construction workers are now on a mission. We have to find a way through all of this madness and deliver on the new normal.

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