July 21, 2020 | Blog

How COVID-19 Has Revealed the Need for a Tech Revolution in Construction

Time is of the Essence

More likely than not, COVID-19 has turned your industry on its collective ear. Most businesses have been forced to adapt to remote environments and embrace new technologies – in some cases, reluctantly –  to get the job done. For the construction industry, this seismic shift has proved particularly difficult due to the sector’s inability to work from home.

Infamously known as “slow to change,” construction felt the side effects of COVID-19 more than most as its timeline for the digital transformation needed to be fast-tracked. With little or no technology in place to deal with the conditions at hand, there was no choice but to move quickly. This witnessed with the recent introduction of drones, wearables, cloud-based productivity apps, among other tech offerings.

Safety and Productivity Through Technology

Although the industry shut down for a period of time, when reopening began, extra care was given to worker safety. Required safety standards and regulations were put in place to ensure that construction workers were healthy and safe on-site.

As a result, many crews are now using connected vehicle technology, remote inspection tools, digital workflows and no-touch solutions that help them steer clear of dangerous situations. Getting workers home safely to their families at the end of the workday is priority #1 in “normal” circumstances, let alone a pandemic.

The tech is also helping employers set limits on when and how the devices are used. The benefits? Getting rid of worksite distractions shortens project timelines, cuts down risks and allows employees to focus on their work. It’s pretty simple – bottom-line benefits speak loudly when making the investment to innovate.

Technology in the “New Normal”

With the return to work bringing new expectations, many construction tech companies were prompted to enhance their existing capabilities – such as 3D scanning and remote inspection tools. Instead of these issues being sidelined, COVID-19 has caused construction businesses to address their gaps in technology and work to solve them so their employees can get back to work.

Most importantly, these tech solutions need to be managed and deployed effectively. If not, the time and energy spent are all for naught. In connecting construction sites with their workers, employers can gain a greater understanding of functions and how services are deployed. This connection also allows digital safety protocols to be better enforced.

Making it Work

The pandemic has highlighted the need for collaboration and interoperability; and although many organizations can invest in technology and tools, that’s only the first step. They must also ensure that all activities can be tracked and analyzed as well to keep projects and workers on track.

Although often slow to adapt, construction is just at the beginning of its tech evolution. With new cloud-based tools, devices and apps being introduced every day, construction managers must ensure they’re innovating, managing and training alongside the technology. Only then can the construction industry be truly efficient, collaborative and safe.