COVID – 19 Crisis accelerates Digital Transformation of the Construction Industry

The construction industry has faced the worst crisis in the recent COVID – 19 pandemics since the global financial crisis in 2008. Hit by supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and project delays. The construction sector has suffered the most due to the pandemic largely and recovery from such a crisis is slow, time and effort will be required to reach the original speed and output.

Formerly known as the brick-and-mortar industry, it's hardened image not to adopt changes quickly has turned around. During the pandemic, digital transformation has accelerated at a pace that experts never expected. One of the big reasons for such a high rate of acceptance was a need for collaboration without visiting sites and to maintain guidelines laid out by the government for the safety of workers. 

In many ways, the pandemic crisis highlighted the defects in the structure and working of the construction industry and how digital technology can be beneficial in resolving these issues. The challenges faced by the construction industry and how digital tools help in resolving them are discussed below.

Following are the criteria that were heavily affected by the pandemic. The challenge indicated problems that workers in the construction industry faced. These can be even handling a simple task as the world was chaotic in these hard times.

The construction industry took a major blow as it included maximum one-on-one time with people. Other industries can function at home with ease, but you cannot supervise the casting of slabs from home. You cannot determine if cover for reinforcement is maintained or not! Such Impossible tasks cannot be solved using any tools, but simpler tasks that can aid bigger tasks and reduce personnel required on site can guarantee a good relief.

Supply Chain Disruption

The challenge: Unlike the narrow impacts of COIVD-19 on any other elements, the effect on the supply chain, either domestic or international, is almost tangible and long-lasting. The supply chain disruption can be caused by factors such as shortage of raw material production, restrictions on transportation, congestion at ports, and low shipping container availability. 

The impact of supply chain disruption is huge. It incurs a loss of finance and stability to all involved parties. It delays project timeline and sometimes halts all construction activity due to a shortage of raw materials.

Assistance provided by digital tools: 

  • Monitor compliance & reliability of suppliers
  • Data Capturing & Management
  • Increase comprehensive visibility
  • Early warning system for quick response
  • Engage & diversify supplier's portfolio

Protecting Health & Safety of Staff

The challenge: The top priority of business owners is to ensure safe & hygienic working conditions so that staff has been provided a safe working environment against pandemics. This includes maintaining social distancing, making masks available, Providing sanitizers at work, and PPE kits in case of highly specific cases. Safety practices on-site should also be reviewed again while dealing with pandemic crises.

Assistance provided by digital tools: 

  • Scheduling of required staff on-site & office
  • Screening and mandatory testing 
  • Minimizing physical contact by eliminating paperwork & other practices
  • Recording incident that requires audits rather than grouping people on site

Sustainability 

The challenge: Awareness of the negative environmental impact caused by the construction industry has started to get attention in the public domain. Iron triangle now has changed and must include sustainable construction techniques and materials. It also means wastage reduction and avoiding error to reduce a project's carbon footprint. 

Assistance provided by digital tools: 

Digital Tools help monitor and control project variables that might fluctuate to create a negative impact. Also, digital tools help in creating paper-free documents and easy transfer of information. The usage of less paper creates a good impact on the environment as well as reduces the hassle of maintaining and renewing documents. 

Project management: Reliability & Responsibility

The challenge:  The greatest challenge on the worksite is to deploy a reliable task force that can see through the assignment completely and deliver the required outcomes. Taskforce must also be equipped with quick reaction activities to mitigate risk on their own under stressful circumstances. A person appointed must take responsibility for the so-called error, and there should be enough proof to execute contract clauses for loss reimbursement.

Assistance provided by digital tools:

Digital tools have the following features to ensure the person appointed for the task undergoes all the necessary conditioning, and then the task is executed:

  • Location-based checklists
  • Witness Required for closing the activity
  • Mandatory drawing photos to be filled
  • Real-time inspection 
  • Real-time audits to ensure safety checks by experts

Quality: Getting it right the first time

The challenge: Quality is the utmost requirement of a construction project. Without quality, there are no benefits to either client or the construction company. When we long run in the construction industry, quality is what acts as a catalyst of success. With quality comes reliability from clientele and ensures good reputation building for the firm. But ensuring quality with a budget is a complicated task. One must consider all the options and do thorough market research to ensure quality within budget.

 

Assistance provided by digital tools:

For maintaining quality, digital tools are a great help. Digital tools help in quality management from starting phase till the project is handed out. Surveying is made easier using digital tools. Technologies such as drones and augmented reality have made reconnaissance easier. Cloud technologies have brought more transparency to the workforce and have eliminated the paperwork. The Internet of things has also made remotely operated machinery available, which helps in the execution of tasks by machines where humans are out of reach.

Integration and collaboration

The challenge: Collaboration is one of the aspects that keeps the construction industry booming in these hard times. But still, there is a need to develop a way of communication and communities so that the market becomes a positive space where newcomers are welcomed. It means coming collectively as a team to execute the project and deliver the best outcome possible. This means communication should be flawless within the organization, and everyone's input should be considered valuable.

Assistance provided by digital tools:

Digitals tools are one of the most secure ways to transfer contacts and develop your contact web. This will help in market surveys, feasibility studies, and getting updates on the recent development in the construction industry. The digital tools can also assist in checking vendors' and suppliers' credibility and preparing a detailed report on their quality assurances.

Final Takeaway:

As all the industries are adapting to new technology, the construction industry has shifted its focus from only conventional technologies to modern technologies. Since it is vital to ensure the digital world in the future, the construction industry must adapt itself to these changes and improvise the use of technology for its own benefits. 

DigiQc is one of such tools that helps in ensuring the quality is provided from a distance. But what does digiQC represent, and how is it embedded in its logo. Want to find out? Follow for the next story, and I will take you on the journey where digiQc's founder, Sumant Kachru, explains the depth of the logo of digiQC.

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