The construction sector is one of the worst-hit sectors by COVID-19. To begin with, contractors had to shut down sites to protect their workers. On sites that are still running, contractors have had to take extra precautions, including social distancing, staggered work schedules, and enforced hygiene measures.
Despite the protocols, contractors still working have had to suffer from the reduced workforce. It is quite understandable that the workers decided to protect themselves by avoiding leaving the house altogether.
The supply chain of the construction industry is also riddled with holes. The travel ban has restricted the movement of resources, making it challenging for construction sites to get the materials they need in time. Countries like China and Italy have reduced their production efforts, reducing the global supply of essential materials, including steel and cement.
The inroads made by technology into the sector are being seen as the only glimmer of hope. Technology can make construction sites safer and workers more efficient. It can allow us to increase productivity, improve collaboration, and tackle complex projects.
We have enlisted some ways through which technology can help the sector recover from the corona-induced shock.
Drones can act as a suitable substitute for human beings for inspection purposes. Instead of having inspectors wade through a site, coming into close proximity with several other workers, a drone can monitor the site. Additionally, drones can be used to overlook the workers, making sure that they are keeping a safe distance from one another.
2. Humanoid Labourers
Robots have already been offering their services in factories. They can also help workers on construction sites by performing mundane, repetitive tasks, including bricklaying and rebar tying. Robots may help get the job done while reducing the number of workers required.
3. ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning System
ERP is a platform that consolidates different functions, including accounting, job costing, human resources, and inventory management. The most important benefit of this platform is that it acts as a centralized hub for a firm's vital data while reducing the need to perform redundant data entry operations.
4. Automated Workflow Tools
The efficiency of workers increases manifold when they use software and technology, and we know digitization can bring massive benefits to any construction organization. Advanced software will enable the automation of routine processes and allow the different applications to communicate with one another.
5. Document Imaging
The construction sector is still very much burdened by piles of paper documents floating around. Working with documents moving from one set of hands to another increases the chance of spreading the virus. One way to keep workers safe is to digitize everything and to replace paper documents with their digital replicas that can’t harm anyone.
Wearables can perform two important functions at the same time: First, they can monitor the health of the employees and workers, sending an immediate signal the instant anyone starts showing signs of an infection, such as fever. Second, wearables can remind workers to stick to the safety guidelines and to keep their personal protective equipment on at all times.
7. Hygiene Technology
Facility management has come up with different types of technology to maintain the hygiene. They have been offering services like UV disinfection methodologies, deep hygiene cleaning, industrial machinery cleaning, eco static disinfectant cleaning, fumigation services, etc. to ensure that the client's job site and premises are sanitized and safe to operate.
8. 3D Printing
Just by feeding the relevant data like maps, plans, blueprints, and dimensions in an orderly and predefined way, a 3D printer can turn an idea into a precise physical output. Many companies have been using them to manufacture certain building components, and not very long ago, a company in Dubai used 3D printing to construct an entire office.
9. Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is the closest alternative to face-to-face meetings. Effective communication is pivotal during this trying time and outside of it to keep businesses running smoothly. Communication plays a key role in keeping global employees connected, as well as keeping in contact with clients who reside in different locations.
10. Other New Materials
Researchers in the field have taken technology to a whole new level. Technology has provided us with a wealth of building materials like recycled concrete, carbon fiber, etc. Some of these options may not be viable for large-scale projects, but resourceful companies will definitely find a use for new materials.