GUEST ARTICLE: Responding to COVID-19 – 10 positive changes implemented within the construction industry

  • 25 Feb 2021

JB Associates, a leading construction consultancy based in the South of England, has identified ten ways in which the construction industry has responded positively to the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with an array of challenges – from shut-down disruption and supply chain issues to social distancing and remote working – the construction industry has implemented the following 10 positive changes:


  1. Building Information Modelling for improved collaboration

Remote working has led to a greater reliance on Building Information Modelling (BIM) software. At JB Associates they have seen this as a crucial tool which facilitates seamless collaboration within construction and ensures swift problem-solving and efficient project delivery.


  1. Demand for interactive digital manuals

Managing facilities and mitigating risk remotely has led to a substantial drive toward interactive digital manuals, such as JB eDocs which can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and by an entire team simultaneously.


  1. An opportunity to diversify

While the need for retail and commercial office space could diminish, at least temporarily, it is anticipated that there will be high demand for new warehouses, data centres and manufacturing facilities in the post-COVID, post-Brexit era. As a one-stop construction consultancy, JB Associates can work closely alongside clients to provide bespoke support for a broad scope of future projects.


  1. Investment in construction innovation

Historically, construction is one of the least digitised industries but the pandemic has expedited a shift towards innovation in this sector. Tech investors are looking to streamline processes to boost operational efficiency, as well as implementing apps, drones, AI and VR.


  1. Increase in off-site manufacture

In the face of severe supplier disruption, procurement teams have relied on prefabricated components from off-site manufacturing plants where social distancing compliance is more easily implemented.


  1. Integrated flexible working

An array of platforms – from video conferencing to information-sharing and workflow apps – have been deployed to enable productive and connected remote working. This could mean the traditional 9-5 office job will become a thing of the past and more agile working will be adopted as the norm.


  1. Modular construction methods

In a bid to limit time onsite, demand for smart modular construction has risen sharply. Although not a new concept, the design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach also results in less waste and lower carbon emissions.


  1. Boost to onsite health & safety

The increased hygiene measures required in response to the virus have introduced a need for better workplace and site housekeeping which will continue to boost health and safety, post-COVID.


  1. A bigger drive for sustainability

As advocates of energy efficient assets and facilities, JB Associates welcomes the move towards new design standards of sustainability in every aspect of construction. As the industry recovers from the pandemic, it is vital that sustainability and climate change remain at the heart of the built environment’s long-term plan.


  1. Renewed focus on data centre security

Data held in critical infrastructure environments has been under increased pressure over the last year (Microsoft ‘Digital Defense Report’, September 2020). JB Associates’ experts work with a number of leading global data centres to provide interactive HAZOP and risk management to protect these vital sites.

Ashley Buckland, Managing Director at JB Associates, commented: “As a result of the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions, it was essential that the construction industry adapted to new ways of working to ensure the safety of its workers.

“Without minimising the far-reaching negative impacts of COVID-19, our industry has seen some great advances as part of its response to these unprecedented challenges – possibly sooner than we might have expected, under normal circumstances.”

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