The new everyday in construction
The UK construction sector was expecting a boom year in 2020. Until Covid-19 arrived.
Site safety – already the industry’s number one concern – took on a whole new meaning.
Projects that were traditionally managed using multiple site visits now had to be overseen remotely.
Constructors and landlords quickly learned how to adapt their buildings and manage their own remote workforce.
Many of these digitally led transformations might have seemed radical less than a year ago. But already they’re now part of normal working practice.
And those digital innovations have the potential to transform the sector - saving time and money as well as improving safety and quality.
Better Information Management and a combination of superfast business broadband and mobile connectivity are now the first things on the list as new developments are considered.
How construction is now being built on digital foundations
Digital change is integral to the cutting-edge projects that are changing the construction business forever.
We recently commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) to look at the potential benefits to the UK Economy of the continued investment in digital transformation projects, similar to what we’ve seen over the last year.
Across the UK, the Cebr estimates that continued investment in digital change projects could increase UK GDP by £232bn, or 6.9%, by 2040.
Simply by continuing to invest in digital infrastructure projects in the construction sector we could expect a £3bn boost to UK GDP over the same timeframe - 1.8% boost to the size of the sector in 2040.
We spoke to some of the pioneers who are leading this transformation.
Canary Wharf Group tells us how it is making its buildings as tech user-friendly as a new iPhone, with no manual required for optimum performance.
Construction giant Kier desribes how it won a £250 million government tender, partly by planning and delivering a prison fit for the modern age.
Framework agreement provider Pagabo has embraced digital transformation to connect its network of 300 construction firms. Now all of them are getting access to its pioneering work in innovative techniques and products, green strategies and enhanced skills and safety strategies.
And newly launched homes-on-water provider Waterlodge describes how lockdown presented it with a sink-or-swim dilemma, but embracing digital innovation saw the organisation thrive.
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The Cebr Methodology
The methodology is centered on producing a cumulative economics delta between a baseline scenario, in which there is no accelerated adoption of digital transformation initiatives, and a scenario in which there is.
The research considered a number of modelling inputs to estimate the productivity impacts of various forms of technology to derive the ‘Post Covid-19 Digital Transformation’ technology uplift coefficient.
This coefficient is then scaled to reflect the proportion of the workforce to whom it applies.
The model also estimates the rate of technological adoption across different sectors and a rate of re-investment.
All of the estimates are rooted in a detailed literature review.
What lies ahead for UK Construction?
From the very first lockdown, the construction industry has remained positive about recovery.
2/3rds of the industry leaders we spoke to think the sector is well placed to recover.
But absolutely no-one thinks they’ll revert to their pre-lockdown ways of doing things.
As one respondent said, “Covid has positively forced us to do what we always thought was impossible: give our workforce the freedom to work remotely.”
Our report also explores:
- The increased appetite for flexible working in construction using collaborative technology.
- A growing desire to use digital technology to tackle sustainability issues.
- How digital priorities have changed since Covid-19.
- The importance and impact of remote-managing projects and clients.
Seize your new everyday
Get ready for a hybrid working world
Connect your organisation so it’s always on and always ready for change.
Protect your data even when people are working all over the place.
Empower your people to do their job wherever they are, whenever it matters, however works best for everyone.