Posted on: 09 September 2020
How construction businesses can thrive using technology
In a previous article about new technology in the construction industry, we showed you some of the technologies that will revolutionise the construction industry in the coming years. No one knows what a post-COVID-19 world will look like, but for the foreseeable future, face coverings and social distancing don’t look like they’re going away any time soon.
We are going to take a look back over some of the technologies that we identified to see how some of these will help businesses whilst COVID-19 remains a threat.
How technology can help in the fight against COVID-19
When we talk about robots, we think of Terminator, RoboCop or I, Robot, conjuring images of walking, talking machines that are capable of feats of great strength, or in the case of I, Robot, machines that exist to carry out difficult or dangerous roles instead of humans.
A robot of this type is unlikely to be introduced into the construction industry any time soon, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t robots that can still carry out tasks, allowing the team on your site to social distance.
Any task that uses a pattern, such as laying bricks, or demolition tasks are perfect for robots, and machinery that can do these tasks is already available, but potentially very costly. In the short term, these robots can help social distancing, but in the long run, they may also benefit your business with efficiencies and lower running costs.
Those who are in fear of a robot taking their job could also be trained to supervise the robot or repair and maintain it.
Video communication technology
A problem with social distancing is that communication can be difficult if people are discussing construction plans or having to work together to decide what to do at an intricate point in the process. This is where video technology will be especially useful.
Statista found that in 2019, 57.8 million people in the UK owned a smartphone. This means that a huge portion of the population is carrying around a camera and communication technology in their pocket, so why not put it to good use?
Using a smartphone to capture images and share them with colleagues is a great way of being able to share visual content and plans with a wider team, all whilst being able to keep a distance of 2 metres, allowing your team to protect themselves from COVID-19.
As we mentioned in our previous article, drones are becoming increasingly popular in capturing aerial footage and accessing hard to reach or dangerous areas.
Drones usually only require a single person to operate but can feed information to a whole team of people. This reduces the need for lots of people to meet in the same place, as footage or images can be captured by one person, but viewed by many, digitally in separate locations.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, existing buildings were adapted to allow more effective testing and treatment. The Nightingale hospital project turned buildings like the Excel World Exhibition Hall, University of West England and Birmingham’s NEC into COVID-19 treatment centres. On a smaller scale, many car parks were turned into “drive-in” COVID-19 testing centres.
A large part of this repurposing process will have been administrative, which can be difficult when most people who perform administrative tasks are likely to be working from home. This is why cloud technology is so important in the fight against COVID-19, as it allows information to be shared whilst people are working remotely.
In a large repurposing project like the Nightingale hospital project, cloud technology allows all relevant parties to securely access the documentation that they need to take the project forward. It also allows for different companies or different teams to access the documentation that they need, allowing everyone to be kept in the loop as the project progresses.
Trades insurance with Premierline
The construction industry will become more interesting and exciting in the coming years with major investments in UK infrastructure up and down the country. However, the industry also carries risk which is why it’s essential to consider insurance.
Premierline is a business insurance broker with a wealth of experience in arranging commercial and industrial insurance as well as contractor insurance, builders insurance and contractors all risks insurance for businesses across the UK. Our business insurance experts will assess your business’ needs and will work with some of the UK’s most well-known insurance companies to source the right insurance package that protects your business and your livelihood. Get in touch with one of our insurance advisors today to discuss your insurance requirements.
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