Paul Wallett, regional director for Trimble Middle-East and India region, makes a point
The Secretary-General of UN had in April remarked that the post-coronavirus world will be different and much more digital than before. The jury is still out on whether this prediction will hold universally true for the global construction industry, otherwise remarkably skeptical towards embracing digitalized processes. However, the need to ensure safety for construction workers and maintain worksite social distancing could be an important trigger for the long due digitalization in construction.
The construction industry is one of the most labor intensive industries, and also the second largest employer after agriculture. Of the millions of core migrant workers in India, around 35% are employed in the construction sector alone. By May 23 last year, after nearly two months of a nationwide lockdown, many of these workers had gone back to their homes by trains and buses . . . and this count does not include those who walked back on foot.
This departure hit the construction industry hard when it prepared to resume work on pending projects. While the migrants have finally and slowly started returning to construction sites in order to earn their living, the labor shortage remains an active concern. This is further exacerbated by the prevailing social distancing guidelines, hampering project developers’ plans to press full throttle at onsite work.
Enter the ‘Digital’
Resuming work at a time when workplace safety measures have become paramount, many leading construction companies have started exploring how they can minimize their dependence on labor by embracing digital construction technologies. While these technologies have existed for a while now, the pandemic has brought them in the front and center of boardroom discussions.
Take cloud-based collaboration, artificial intelligence, IOT, construction robots or specialized software solutions, these tools are now finding a much greater interest among progressive construction players as a means of executing complex workflows that have otherwise required human workers to work in close proximities for long hours. Combined with 4G or WiFi connectivity onsite as well at the office or home, these tools are also making it possible for construction teams to collaborate effectively, save time, and be their most productive on projects.
Ensuring a safer worksite
Many of these tools have a big role to play in ensuring project site safety for workers, engineers, supervisors and managers. They do so by minimizing the need for having large number of people onsite at any given time. For example, project managers typically need to limit who is on site and also confirm that those on site have passed their safety training, have attended safety briefings and also passed background or drug checks . . . Read More