By leveraging technology, the construction industry can emerge stronger in response to the challenges caused by the pandemic. Recently the Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) reported on a white paper about the industry’s rebound from the damage caused by the global pandemic response. The global panel of industry leaders and academics listed four areas of transformation that can bring construction companies through the recovery and result in more sustainable and higher-performing projects at the same time.
- Investing in innovation
- Discovering cutting-edge supply chains
- Setting priorities for high-performance, low-carbon buildings
- Reorganizing the operating model to industrialization
The recommendations emerging from the study revolved around industrialized construction – “systematic control of the total supply chain from design, fabrication and manufacture, to installation and management.”
The white paper points out that, even before the disruption of the pandemic, the construction industry was taking big hits because of higher materials costs, skilled labor shortages, project complexity, tougher safety measures, profit and productivity challenges, and relatively slow uptake of technology.
The panel puts forth in the white paper the idea that industrialized construction can bring the construction industry “to a place of resilience.” The steps include:
- Accelerating automation for “production thinking”
- Redistributing employees and improving their skills
- Restructuring the construction supplier base
- Creating intelligent procurement platforms (like eVolve Foresite)
- Increasing efficiency and cutting costs through standardization
- Involving specialty subcontractors in the design phase of projects
- Focusing the supply chain on subassemblies and systems
If your project foreman needs to spend less time on non-value-added work and more time on improving productivity, be watching for the release of eVolve Foresite around the end of 2020. If you’re interested in being a beta tester for eVolve Foresite, contact eVolve MEP today.
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are all recommended as processes construction companies can employ to increase their investment in technology so they can satisfy newer safety requirements while improving productivity. When subcontractors focus on systems and subassemblies, they become assemblers who can repeat their successes on future jobs.
Manufacturing approaches in other industries – for example automotive and aircraft – have already proven to be predictable and profitable. In construction, industrialized processes can go further, delivering better building performance. Panel member Buro Happold was quoted in the white paper explaining a better built environment: “Today’s smart buildings optimize our use of people, space, and operations. Reducing energy demand is key, but creating environments which make people more productive, use space more effectively, and support efficient operations is vital in our move towards a low to a zero-carbon economy.”
By investing in and adopting technological innovation, reorganizing operating models to industrialized construction, revamping supply chains, and setting priorities for better building performance, the construction industry can, indeed, emerge from this recovery more resilient and more productive.