How Construction Might Emerge After Coronavirus

Construction technology

A new report from McKinsey & Co., “How Construction Can Emerge Stronger After Coronavirus,” noted that while the pandemic is causing significant problems in construction, there are some strategies to address the challenges now and into the future.

“In this difficult time, construction matters more than ever,” the report said. “From building hospitals in just a few days to donating lifesaving equipment, the industry has played a critical role in responding to the crisis and in the recovery. The industry represents 13% of global [gross domestic product], and unlocking currently constrained labor availability could help drive recovery, while addressing our most pressing construction-related needs.”

In addition, according to the report, organizations must think through the moves they can make today to come out ahead later.

“A fast return to business as usual seems unlikely for the industry: leaders must first define and prepare for what the construction industry will look like after the crisis,” said the report.

The report also noted, “Preliminary indications are that many of the characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic are inducing or increasing some disruptions. In addition to immediate trends, we expect longer-term ones to accelerate as new ways of living and working become standard.”

Specifically, the report identified seven trends that are taking place, and will continue to, in construction.

The two short-term trends are increased digitization and rebalanced supply chains toward resilience (versus efficiency).

The five long-term trends are augmented consolidation, vertical integration, further investments in technology or digitization and innovation of building systems, increase in off-site construction and acceleration toward sustainability.

In light of these seven trends, the report recommended “seven actions for success.” These are: accelerate rollout and adoption of digitization, invest in the culture and skills needed to operate in the next normal, build a control tower across the portfolio, bolster supply-chain resiliency, redeploy capital and resources, identify opportunities to shift work off-site and get closer to customers.

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