How the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the construction industry

It is clear to everyone in all sectors that the face of the workplace has changed forever. The Coronavirus has highlighted the opportunity for home working, and the need for greater health and safety in areas where it may have hardly been considered. These long-term changes aren’t exclusive to offices, and industries that innately cannot work from home such as construction have also seen a complete fundamental change in practice.

The Future of the Office

Just over two-thirds of British adults currently working from home fully expect to carry on doing so, this is unsurprising when the previously the average UK employee would spend £135,871 on their commute over a lifetime! Pre-Covid, sustainability, wellbeing and collaborative and community workspace have also become central to many companies’ recruitment and retention strategies, many office fit out companies have been hired to perform office refurbishment turning traditional spaces into these new co-working spaces. These themes are likely to continue, however this might be postponed in the short-term we may see a move away from collaboration and break-out spaces due to social distancing measures.

77%, of UK employees say a mix of office-based and remote working, is the best way forward post Covid-19. This further supports the break away from the traditional office space and a new co-working space.

The New Normal

The introduction of new technologies, the advancement of equipment, changing skill requirements, increasing demand for more innovative projects, and shorter time frames mean that things are changing for the construction industry and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

As the industry reopens, construction sites face operational restrictions. With less labour resource onsite, the potential reduction in the supply of materials, coupled with the physical challenges of getting them onsite, and maintaining social distancing safety measures, it will be some time before productivity is at the level is was pre-lockdown. So, this begs the question, is offsite construction the ‘new normal’?

Modern methods of construction, such as offsite building systems, can help projects recover through securing a more integrated and robust supply chain, by adopting a manufacturing-led approach, which can be scaled up quickly to meet demand.

A Transformation

The Covid-19 crisis is undoubtedly a challenge for our sector but it also presents an opportunity to accelerate the changes many in our industry agree we need.

The recent roadmap created by the Construction Leadership Council is full of insightful ideas. With a long-term goal to deliver better value, through collaboration and partnership, the plan carefully balances safety and productivity, which is essential to bounce back from the pandemic. It also outlines how improving the sustainability and resource efficiency of our industry is fundamental in our quest to achieve net-zero by 2050. The roadmap’s approach to sustainability and innovation is very much at the core of RG Group, having been at the forefront of construction innovation for 30 successful years.

Overview

Modern methods of construction and innovation in being prioritised. Offsite construction is likely to become the new construction industry, and as we move into a post-Brexit era a shortened supply chain becomes even more valuable.

Construction innovation has adapted to take into consideration our new world. Examples include using GPS-based apps and wearables to help with social distancing and safety on site, however, there is of course a wider need for innovation such as, exoskeleton vests to aid with health and safety and drone surveys.

After another 30 years of the RG Group the construction industry will be a very different world. Find out how we work towards a better future here.

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