What Construction learned in 1 year of lockdown

 

Lockdown became such a familiar and, at the same time, despised word for us all that not much can be done to erase its negative connotation. However, one year later since (probably) the first time you’ve ever heard this word, we are able to analyse its impact on various aspects of our lives.

Over a year ago now, the world as we know it collapsed, leaving us all hopeless about the future. This time last year, everything in our lives changed, from our lifestyle to our fundamental values. And, although we would never wish to go through lockdown ever again, this experience has definitely made an impact on the way we perceive the world around us, giving us all a life lesson.

It has been a rough year not only in terms of our private and social lives (or rather the lack of it) but also, and most importantly in terms of our work. Whether you owned a small or a medium-size business that went bust or were simply an employee made redundant, we all experienced the same sort of uncertainty after being directly affected by the global pandemic scavenging the territory. The damage is done and cannot be neither denied nor erased but having said that, we can only emerge stronger from it if we look the devil in the eye (read Covid)!

As lockdown continues in many countries and regions, depending on their epidemiological situation, the construction industry obediently adjusts to it alongside, setting an example of the new normal. Modern technology solutions, new safety measures are only some of the adaptations that will most likely stay with us for the long term.

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Covid19 has resulted in a seismic shift in the way we work, the role the office plays and the necessary tools to perform effective work.
– David Murray, Founder and Managing Director of Echospace

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Where does construction stand now?

Although far from ideal, the construction situation wasn’t the worst off, considering the circumstances and bankruptcy of other sectors. According to the most recent figures published by the ONS (Office for National Statistics), monthly output in construction grew by 0.9% in January 2021 compared with December 2020, when the fall of 2.9% was recorded. It is worth noting that seven consecutive months, prior to December's fall, were experiencing growth higher than the one from the beginning of this year.

In fact apart from infrastructure, all new work sectors remain below their pre-pandemic level. New work recorded an increase of 1.7% in January 2021 and was led by private commercial and infrastructure, which increased by 4.5% and 3.1% respectively. However, the repair and maintenance sector decreased by 0.4% this January, leading to a fall of 4.7%.

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January’s growth of 0.9% could be significant given it is traditionally a quiet month for construction, and is certainly a welcome sign of the industry’s resilience particularly in light of December’s 2.9% fall in output [...] However, it remains too soon to tell what the long-term impacts of COVID-19 will be …
- Clive Docwra, Managing Director of Construction, Property and Design Agency McBains

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Recovery time

Despite the fact that at first sight the figures look rather optimistic and bring us all hope for a brighter future of the construction industry in these tumultuous times, there is still a long way ahead to get back on our feet and return to our ‘’Golden Age”.

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These latest figures, while positive for the future of the industry, suggest there is still a little nervousness in the market. The construction industry has already shown incredible resilience [...]. While we are clearly not out of the woods completely, the green shoots of recovery are beginning to show.
- Fraser Johns, finance director at Beard

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It wasn’t until the end of February when the Prime Minister announced a famous Roadmap to Recovery - a strategy to drive the recovery of the construction sector over the next two years. This was received with a huge sigh of relief by many giving more clarity and confidence for those hesitating and less doubts for those investing.

Not to mention the successful vaccine rollout programme, which, just like the Roadmap, provided us with a specific time frame for a return to normal. Thanks to these measures being put in place, it is now way easier to plan and start restoring the market growth.

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The success of the vaccine rollout and the timeline now being in place should help confidence in the market grow in the coming weeks and months. As we enter spring, we expect demand to pick up quickly and bounce back as projects that have been on hold are given the go ahead.

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Now, if we wanted to sketch a pros and cons list of the impact that Covid19 had and still has on the construction industry, the disadvantages would undoubtedly outweigh the advantages (what a surprise!) and rightly so. Nevertheless, we simply cannot pass by and be indifferent to the accelerated adoption of technology caused by the pandemic, which, call it whatever you want, helped us digitise a handful of processes and reduce the manual work. At Archdesk, we support the new technologies and innovation as we believe that it is with digitisation that your company grows!



 
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2023-12-01 05:59:22