The global pandemic has changed how we work, where, and when. Its effect on industries, in general, has been transformative – forcing UK construction in particular to up its game by innovating to respond to this brave new economic landscape.
UK construction is now au fait with the demands placed on it in this post-pandemic era and is fighting back using a range of methods to ensure it stays ahead of the curve.
So what are these innovations and what does the future hold for UK construction (whether COVID-19 is part of it or not)?
The importance of digital transformation
In order to keep up with demand, UK construction has had to adapt by rapidly modernising its processes. Manual blueprints have been thrown out the proverbial window in favour of digitised designs that can be viewed on an iPad. Sharing information digitally this way – quickly and with all involved stakeholders –leads to faster decision making and fewer errors.
Modular building is on the increase
Modular buildings are residential or commercial constructions built in sections that are delivered to site and reassembled into a single unit, and which are easy to make – taking half the time to build compared to traditional methods.
If predictions are accurate, modular buildings could constitute as much as 75% of construction by 2050.
What does the future hold for UK construction?
The age of digital twins and simulated assets
Previously, the construction industry could only react after an event. Now that’s all changed. A digital twin is a simulated model of a real-world asset, which could be anything – from an oven through to a new office block. It allows those involved in the project to dry-run processes, make predictions, and ensure the finished item is optimised, then roll it out with confidence.
Expect collaborative robots to join the workforce too
It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but the hard reality is that it’s set to become fact. However, this won’t be some dystopian future where robots take our jobs from us. Instead, they will work as part of the construction industry – boosting productivity by taking on multiple tasks at once and without getting fatigued.
Bluetooth tracking technology to become more established
Checking into venues with a QR code has become an accepted way of life for many of us. Similar technology could soon find its way onto construction sites – with tags attached to tools or badges setting off an alert when workers forget to socially distance or begin to congregate in large groups.
UK construction could eventually use tracking technology to analyse human behaviours and develop strategies to help prevent on-site infections.