People have this notion that professionals who work in the construction industry are rich. Although this might be true for some, the majority are far from being able to buy whatever they want in life. It is not surprising that such a notion exists because construction projects are always costly but what people overlook is the lag in productivity which eats up the majority of the allocations for a project. In a world where digital currency is on the rise and new technologies come one after the other, it is alarming that the largest industry in the world, which is construction, is also the least technological of all.
The amount of money that goes into the global construction industry is estimated to be around $10 trillion annually and nearly 20% of that is lost to the low productivity rates. We have the technology to make things easier in construction but because both high-end contractors and start-ups do not maximize or use these technologies and advancements, we are unable to produce and turnover projects at a higher rate. This inevitably results in higher costs for any project.
It is easy to understand why big contractors and start-ups stick with how things are done traditionally in construction. There is a long list of reasons but the main and most impactful one is the added cost of adopting new methods and equipment to design and build structures. It’s logical, however, this type of thinking will put contractors worldwide in the same place every single year and that is dead last in productivity. Sacrifices in the present need to be made for a better future and that is exactly what the big fishes in the industry should move towards unless they are happy to be in a loss of about $1.6 trillion every year forever.
There has to be a shift in mentality. The prioritization of construction margins and profits needs to be replaced by a prioritization to keep track and improve productivity in all trades and phases of any project. If this is done, increased profits will follow because when you are more productive, you finish more tasks at a faster pace. Finishing tasks at a faster pace results in turning over projects at a higher rate. When you can turn over projects quicker, you also increase the number of projects you can accommodate per year or per month hence, increasing your overall profit.
Now this change can’t come overnight nor can it be done by a sole company. The movement to become more productive in the construction industry needs to be a team effort with lawmakers and regulators taking the lead by creating laws and bills to incentivize companies to make the necessary changes even if it means higher expenses in the immediate future. Architects and engineers play a role by rethinking and redesigning the processes of their respective crafts to enable the integration of the new materials and technologies available in the world today. A perfect example of this is the use of modular walls and structural members to allow off-site fabrication for a faster on-site installation.
The integration of technologies used must not be limited to the designing and building of a project but also the procurement process. There are so many ways to communicate regardless of distance nowadays and this should make procurement very easy to improve. Allotting time and effort to create an improved supply-chain management system would be well worth it and would reduce costs significantly. The hardest part here is to start but once you have a system that works, all you will have to do from then on is to rinse and repeat. Lastly, you must reskill your workforce. Considering the massive changes in the construction process that you’ll be implementing, it’s only right to keep your workers updated as well to maximize their productivity in their tasks and duties. The last thing you want is for you to go through all that work to set up only to be set back because your operators on-site don’t know what to do or how to use the new equipment and technology.
Successfully making these changes in the way you do business in construction will more than double your productivity which, as mentioned earlier, will result in higher profits. It isn’t easy at all but considering the changing world we are in because of COVID and all the new gadgets and tech being produced, it’s either we change or get left behind. The manufacturing industry has done it and they’ve been increasing their productivity annually since then