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Will Technology Win Over Construction During Covid-19?

The relationship between Construction and Technology is complicated. Technology has won over almost all other industries in recent times but has struggled to win over the stubbornness of the construction industry. There has been so much talk over the last few years about how behind the industry is with digitisation. Its adoption of new technologies has been slow, and it is clear to see the effect it has on projects.

Take the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as an example. The 62,000-seat mega project was originally estimated to cost around £400m but ended up costing close to £850m, largely due to ongoing build changes and overtime working. The original opening was planned to be in September of 2018 for the start of the season, but due to several ongoing issues this was delayed until April the following year. Spurs had to play almost that whole season in their make-shift home ground of Wembley once again, causing more frustrations to the club and its loyal fans.

These sorts of issues are not uncommon in the construction world, especially with large projects such as this. Many contractors are reluctant to explore new ways of working, such as experimenting with simple technology, much like the kind we all use in our everyday lives.

All different industries find themselves in unprecedented times due to the outbreak of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) forcing them to modify the ways they work. One clear trend we have seen over recent weeks is the increased use of simple and intuitive digital technology, something many of us would have taken for granted before. Now we can start to appreciate how important this technology is in keeping us connected and staying on track with our work while we’re not in the office.  

It is likely now that the construction industry will have no choice but to look for new ways of working during these uncertain times. The industry has been holding off the adoption of simple technology to manage their projects for years. Albeit controversially, many projects are still running with management staff working from home, along with the implementation of on-site social distancing measures. This could be the trigger for the construction industry to begin its digital transformation process in order to help keep projects running smoothly.

Simple and easy to use digital platforms have already proven to help improve productivity in construction. These systems are being developed to help contractors manage their daily workflow through greater access to site data. Using certain construction-based software solutions allows management staff to see work progress in real time and engage with workers accordingly without needing to be on-site. These types of systems will be more useful now than ever for contractors that are still running their projects.

It has been talked about for so long that the industry is one of the most behind when it comes to digitisation, but if construction projects do continue to run for the foreseeable future, that might be about to change.

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