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Global Vantage: Use of technology on international construction contracts in current climate

May 2020
Will Buckby

The use of technology in the construction sector is on the rise. In the current climate, the ability to operate remotely is a necessity rather than a choice, with the coronavirus pandemic only serving to accelerate the construction industry’s move into the digital era.

Utilising technology such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and ‘digital twins’ is now crucial for the survival of many businesses. Whilst in recent years we have seen a gradual increase in stakeholders taking an interest in these tools, during the Covid-19 pandemic they have been essential in ensuring the continuity of work on international construction projects.

The way that work is conducted on-site is changing.

‘Virtual rehearsals’ look set to become the norm, allowing for many key elements of a project’s construction to be rehearsed online prior to contractors breaking ground. This can allow project managers to, for example, predict the minimum number of operatives needed to complete an activity on-site, or to plan walking paths consistent with social distancing guidelines.

Physical meetings have been actively discouraged, leaving business trips a remnant of the past. Instead, many are adopting the use of video-conferencing facilities and web-enabled cloud tools, which allow for virtual collaboration on a real-time basis regardless of geographical location.

However, the construction sector’s transition from analogue to digital has not been without challenge.

In countries where investment in connectivity infrastructure has traditionally been low, businesses have struggled to adapt to a ‘digital first’ approach; and for some businesses logistical obstacles in providing employees with the software and hardware necessary to operate remotely has been a significant obstacle to success.

The future remains uncertain. But, as the construction industry begins its cautious return to work, embracing technology may be the difference between projects that survive, and those that do not.

For further information on anything covered in this publication, please contact Will Buckby.

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