Image: Sites that remain open will often need to rely on technology to adhere to social distancing rules (Carla Nascimento/Dreamstime.com)

Analysis

The impact of coronavirus on construction technology

7 April 2020 | By Roy Danon

Whilst worldwide many construction companies are aiming to keep sites operational for as long as possible, the longer-term impact of Covid-19 will echo across the construction community for a considerable time, writes Roy Danon, CEO and co-founder of digital platform Buildots.

Roy Danon

As an industry, we need to attend both to the immediate effects and make sure we keep our performance high even during these troubling times, but also prepare for the day after the storm.

On sites that remain open, construction companies require solutions to overcome the challenges of the social distancing imposed by the current situation. The goal is quite ambitious – minimise the physical interaction while keeping the data flowing at maximum speed. As in other industries, adoption of video conferencing is on the rise, but also construction specific technologies such as reporting tools, reality capture and progress tracking solutions.

Times of crisis often lead to creative breakthroughs and advancements, as people are forced to think differently and adopt new ways of doing the same things they have been undertaking for a long time.

In the long term, we can also expect a significant financial impact triggered by this pandemic, and possibly a recession of some form. As was witnessed in the 2000 and 2008 dotcom and financial crashes, this would lead to an acute need for more efficient and lean businesses and would create an immediate opportunity for new technologies to support these new business models.

As a construction tech startup, we must also adapt. We must realise our clients would prioritise immediate savings over new adventures, the construction site will become an even more stressful environment, and companies will have very limited budgets. In that mess, our responsibility to fight for a more efficient and digitised sector will be even more significant. 

Over the past few years there has been a major change in how construction companies handle technology, leading to many new products successfully entering their gates and changing how they operate. For the first time, we have seen a few of the world’s most advanced technologies operating on live construction sites, and we would anticipate these advances will gather momentum.

The ability to adapt technology has always been a strong differentiator between the leaders and the followers in different sectors and we would expect any financial recession to increase the gap between the two, giving the “leaders” the competitive edge, thus enabling them to weather this financial storm more effectively.

These are difficult times for everyone, but as formal and non-formal leaders within our organisations, we must act responsibly and lead the changes required in our businesses. This is the only way to make sure our organisations reach the other end of this unexpected crisis.

Image: Sites that remain open will often need to rely on technology to adhere to social distancing rules (Carla Nascimento/Dreamstime.com)