Whilst we navigate our way through Covid-19 many industry leaders are talking of this being a turning point for change, here is our thoughts.
Industry leaders are talking of Covid-19 being the catalyst for change in the Construction industry, will this finally happen?
There are companies that have without a doubt being trying to achieve positive change for many years, but why are we not seeing widespread understanding and adoption?
Some headline thoughts into the key areas where we could drive change:
Better Training & knowledge
This needs to be across the board we focus on skilled labour but if we want to drive wholesale change, we need all parties and advisors to be better trained and more knowledgeable of different procurement routes or construction methodologies.
Review and understand procurement models, far too often the default is D&B, lump sum, pass the risk on etc. There are a range of options and companies willing to offer alternatives and we need to strive to make these more open and inviting for all.
Risk & Opportunity
Far too often decision makers do not actually know or are not correctly advised what ‘risk’ they have ‘passed on’ when asked. Reviewing and understanding risk and opportunity needs to be undertaken earlier and in collaboration with those that have experience in that field of work. This surely takes us to earlier engagement which is not a contractor free service but something that is meaningful, and the expert analysis is treated as a professional service.
Digitalisation, Innovation & MMC
Digital systems and ways of working can without a doubt create efficiencies throughout the life cycle of a project and building. It can be a great tool to drive collaboration and transparency but for people to fully embrace it in that sense we must move away from defensive and negative contractual mindsets and behaviours. If we can do that, I believe individuals and companies will be more engaged in innovation and shared platforms. Perhaps more collaboration and less conflict will create further opportunity to improve mental wellbeing amongst the industry.
There is a huge opportunity to adopt various forms of MMC in all projects, again we need those involved in the early stages of projects to be aware and drive these into the project. In doing so projects will be more efficient and additional value will be added.
Understanding Value (not just cost, social, environmental etc)
Better understanding and evaluation of value must be taken to the next level, we must drive value by not just considering initial cost, but social, environmental, and economic impacts should be considered. All parties need a better understanding of value so those bidding for work grasp and drive the value and those procuring and evaluating such bids must have the training and knowledge to consider and evaluate properly.
The scope for change is massive and widespread, we seem to have created this huge complex monster of an industry that needs some complete rethinking.
The challenge is it needs re-think across the entire industry and all stakeholders involved from the start of a project idea to the running of the operational building.
Many are looking to the Government to drive change through legislation and guidance which I believe will come. However, it would be great to see all parties driving and offering positive solutions to bring some of the above thoughts into projects. We have been trying our best to make positive change, but it can feel like swimming against the tide, so what course will you set?