It is clear that the future of working in construction is set for radical change. This is partly out of necessity. Its renowned inefficient working practices have been driving up cost and increasing waste, while there is also the need to respond swiftly to the ever rapidly changing PEST (Political, Economic, Social and Technological) environment that has been all too evident in 2020. This has been particularly apparent through the global health pandemic of Covid-19, which has forced many construction sites to either close, or to adapt to new ways of working to facilitate social distancing to help keep construction workers safe. We are not out the other side of this yet by a long way.
Constructing an economic recovery
But this is not to paint a gloomy long-term picture for the global construction economy. As RICS’ and Autodesk’s Future of Work in Construction report states, 13,000 buildings, along with their supporting infrastructures, need to be built every day to meet growing global demand. Economies and governments hit by the impacts of the health pandemic will look to the construction sector to help stimulate the economy again through the building of the homes, health facilities, and infrastructure we need.
A pivot point for the construction industry
I think in 2020 we are at a pivot point for society and construction. That which seemed set for the future will be expedited as lockdown and reopening of communities facilitates a new focus and agility on aspects such as technological advancement, modern methods of construction. We will also see a greater awareness and desire to redress the sustainable impacts of the built environment through the carbon impacts of the construction process itself coupled with carbon emissions from buildings. Building and construction are responsible for 39% of global carbon emissions, of which operational emissions (from energy) account for 28%.
This additional impetus is set against a context of construction delivery that is set to change through Industrialized Construction (IC). IC is a system that utilises and combines attributes from Building Information Modelling (BIM) and the Common Data Environment (CDE), together with design through 5D CAD and digital twins. It embraces the five key mega trends: