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State of the Construction Industry: May 2020 Roundup
Key to Construction Business Survival: Increased Technology Investment
As the construction industry continues to face changes in the wake of COVID, McKinsey Global is proposing that construction companies make smart moves now in order to come ahead later. During the 2008 recession, companies that focused their efforts on productivity, reallocated resources and invested heavily in digital technologies, came out ahead of the downturn. The simplest step companies should take now is to accelerate the rollout and adoption of digitization. The increase in remote workers means more digital collaboration tools such as BIM, real-time project tracking and scheduling are necessary. Tools that minimize the need for manual labor, give the ability to manage resource remotely, speed up projects by automating processes and monitor resources effectively are all wise investments for now into the future. All of these tools give contractors data in real time that allows for better, swifter allocation and adjustment of resources. Along with updates in technology, the industry is facing changes in the supply chain. Many see the need to secure and build inventories of critical materials now, before disruptions down the road. Contractors should consider prefabricated assemblies done off work sites that better comply with increasing sustainability requirements.
The Takeaway: Modernization is the best strategy for coming out ahead. Using an integrated, cloud based software solution with real-time data access from anywhere, data analysis tools, the ability to scale business, and increased accessibility is the key to modernizing operations. Not sure where to start? Check out this informative Practical Guide to Selecting Construction Software.
How to Build a Hospital in 4 Weeks
Health care facilities have played a key part in the fight against Coronavirus. A lack of facilities in some areas overrun with COVID have led to construction companies stepping forward with solutions to the space shortage. One company — BMarko Structures — came up with an innovative idea that was both inexpensive and quick: using shipping containers to build a hospital. The company’s founder Antony Kountouris expanded on the benefits of using shipping containers. “The containers are ready-made,” he explained to The Fabricator. “You have to build them up, but you don’t have to start from the ground up like you would with a steel or wood module.” With the help of a building designer friend, he was able to build two hospital structures in just four weeks. He found workers willing to help by putting in long days, including out-of-work film industry laborers. Each hospital was built to code, comprising of 21 containers, 24 patient rooms with the ability for air and vacuum functions.
The Takeaway: With a quick timeline of just four weeks, Anthony and his team had to act fast. His experience with modular design and prefabrication (building out pieces of the project away from the jobsite) allowed him to work quickly and efficiently. This is another example showing how prefabrication and modular building could soon become the norm in the construction industry.
Cyberattacks on the Rise During COVID
The rise of cyberattackshas become one of the main non-health related concerns stemming from the Coronavirus outbreak. With workers moving to a work-from-home model, companies have become increasingly vulnerable to attacks as cyber criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated. With employees logging into networks from home — often on unsecure devices — company security systems are often bypassed, leaving the network and associated data vulnerable. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) ports are also interesting targets for hackers, as gaining access to just one employee, could mean access to an entire network. Links are another vulnerability. As people are increasingly hungry for information on the virus, they are more likely to blindly click on links without knowing the source. Malware distributed by web domain is an increasing issue, as they can drop keyloggers, banking Trojans and remote admin tools.
The Takeaway: These increasing vulnerabilities are another reason contractors should have the best technologies in place to keep their data safe. A connected, cloud-based construction management solution helps to spot issues in real time. And, if the data is hosted by a trusted vendor like Viewpoint, contractors don’t have to spend the time and energy keeping up with hosted servers and the security involved. Here’s more on why having sound cybersecurity practices in place is critical for construction firms.
Despite COVID, Outlook for Hotel Construction Remains Strong
According to Construction Dive, pipeline for hotel projectsis up 1% and the number of rooms being built is up 3%, bringing some much-needed good news for the construction, travel and hospitality industries. The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit industries, but companies are looking towards and optimistic future. Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental Hotels account for 70% of the total hotel projects and Los Angeles, Dallas, New York City, Atlanta and Houston are the hottest markets. Despite the growth in pipeline, it’s still too early to determine long-term impacts on the industry. Most projects have been delayed by four to six months, meaning the hotels slated to open in early to mid-2020 will be pushed back to late in the year.
The Takeaway: This is good news for construction companies as it demonstrates how segments can bounce back quickly from a crisis. Companies need to be prepared to adapt quickly to change, which means having the right systems in place to easily navigate business interruptions or fast-moving, complex projects.
Hard Rock New Orleans Demolition to Start in Phases:
Seven months ago tragedy struck New Orleans as the Hard Rock New Orleans Hotel collapsed mid-build, killing three construction workers. Now one of three buildings on the property is being demolished to allow for a full demolition of the hotel itself. This move was expedited by the New Orleans Fire Department Superintendent, who made the call based on storm season fast approaching. Inclement weather could cause the remaining structure to collapse unexpectedly. The entire demolition is expected to cost $8.4M. Earlier this year, OSHA sited 11 firms for safety violations that it said contributed to the collapse. They said that the engineering firm in charge did not implement or maintain an accident prevention program.
The Takeaway: This is a tragedy first and foremost, but one that could have been avoided if contractors were following safety data and compliance checks in real time. The structural errors could have been noted much earlier, saving millions of dollars in a destroyed project, as well as the lives of those that were lost — and the obvious hit to the reputation of the companies on this project. If you are concerned about this issue, Construction Business Ownerput together a great article on ways to improve your safety record on the jobsite.
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