Inside look at the situation in construction today

Apr 2, 2021 | Education | 0 comments

Introduction

Despite the construction industry remaining open, there have been significant delays and disruptions caused by the pandemic that is still being felt daily. Guiding an organisation through a changing environment is often a chaotic war against fast-approaching deadlines. It is no mystery that completing projects within budget, scope and time is an art form. After the lockdown anniversary on the 23rd of March, many look forward to seeing what changes will permanently remain. The industry has faced delayed tender awards, severe project slippage and delays across the board. Facing reduced output due to social distancing and remote working has undoubtedly impacted turnover placing margins

under severe pressure. The changes in how companies operate have been significant and a lot of uncertainty remains about the structure of the industry in the future. Furlough has been indispensable for employers though it comes at a price with questions surrounding the upcoming end to furlough and self-employment support schemes in April. Which could cause a sharp rise in unemployment. Though the impact could be somewhat offset by 2020’s delayed infrastructure projects being processed as well as facility adjustments necessary to comply with post-Brexit requirements.

Situation Update

Taking a brief look at the industry, all-work construction output in the UK grew by 0.9% (£123 million) as of January 2021. This increase in output is still 2.6% below the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. Leading to new work which is similarly 6.4% below February 2020. However, repair and maintenance work was 4.5% above this level. Overall new work increased by 1.7% in January due to growth in private commercial and infrastructure work. Indicating that the sector is indeed starting to bounce back but is yet to reach pre-virus levels. As of mid-February 2021 it is estimated that 6.2 million employees are on furlough leave, equating to 19% of businesses’ workforce. Labour productivity increased by 4% in Q3 of 2020, which is the largest increase since Q4 of 2005 but Q4 of 2020 showed a 1.1% fall versus Q4 2019 and a 4.3% decrease from the previous quarter. Research and development (R&D) expenditure in 2019 grew by only 3.3% which is the lowest growth rate since 2012 following the 2007/8 financial crisis. Internationally trading businesses noted the greatest challenge was the substantial increase of paperwork for both exporting and importing at an estimated 38% and 39% respectively. The UK gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 2.9% in January due to government restrictions which similarly caused a contraction of 3.5% in the services sector, 1.5% in production, and 2.3% in manufacturing for the first time since April 2020. Thankfully the construction sector grew by 0.9% due to the growth in new work. Overall January’s GDP was 9.0% below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level, and 4.0% below October 2020. Showcasing the important contribution that the construction industry makes being one of the only sectors that showed growth.

It should be noted that European companies could be looking into repurposing existing UK structures or building new facilities to comply with post-Brexit rules of origin requiring a facility to be based in the country. Additional optimism can be drawn from the vaccine rollout allowing the services-based economy to reopen again and 2020’s delayed infrastructure projects now progressing. Although there is concern about possible future lockdowns and the impact of furlough and self-employment support schemes ending in April. Which could cause a drastic rise in unemployment. More questions are being raised about the structure of the economy and construction post-Covid/Brexit. Especially in the commercial sector relating to the future of retail and office space where it is unclear how many employees will be returning to work. A lot remains to be seen but it can be accepted that the UK construction industry will play a vital role in the continual process of economic recovery.

Script&Go’s Response

Script&Go is committed to serving businesses in becoming more productive, eliminate unnecessary costs and increase communication as well as management efficiency. Through the continual development alongside industry leaders, Script&Go can offer more bespoke solutions to clients. With a specific focus on the needs of frontline workers to provide them with time-saving solutions that are both practical and convenient. Another priority is to maintain a smooth flow of information between site locations and office personnel without knowledge silos or wasteful time spent on information searches. Streamlining communication, project coordination, reporting, tracking and resource planning is key to project success. Modern technology has made the process faster, more effective with fewer errors and greater risk mitigation. Script&Go makes all the information instantly available on one unified platform focused on enhanced project management through lean construction, agile project management and pull planning.

Site Diary

Site Diary is focused on the recording, documenting and reporting of site work by frontline workers. It allows for the creation and allocations of tasks to track daily field activities with an effective reporting process. Frontline workers can report on work through the use of their mobile phone or tablet which

includes the ability to take and add pictures. Replacing the need for excel spreadsheets or hand- scribbled papers. All the information is available in real-time. Site Diary is an effective tool that enhances communication between office and site locations. Script&Go provides secure cloud-based storage, offline capabilities and pdf/excel reports.

Site Task

Site Task by Script&Go

Site Task caters to your every project management need. It tracks productivity, coordinates project teams, aids resource planning and streamlines organisational management. Site Task provides a bird’s- eye-view of the progress, delays and situation within the organisation on one coordinated platform. Filtering all the information into one user-friendly dashboard. It also measures planned versus executed work to more accurately measure company-wide productivity including site work. Site Task measures productivity by tracking and comparing what was planned versus the actual quantities completed and the number of man-hours used.

Site Check

Site checklist

Site Check is available for inspection and quality management. By creating customisable checklists according to your project requirements for Health & Safety, site inspections and toolbox talks. Site Check allows you to install effective controls with bespoke questions and answers, the ability to add photos, and export reports including location-specific information to track multiple sites. Site Check helps to create, record and alert others of any issues that require action helping to implement quality checks and control measures in a faster more convenient way.

Site Snag

construction checklist record and create alerts

Site Snag was developed to make recording defects simpler. Reporting a defect can now be done by opening a mobile phone or tablet, positioning the defect/non-conformance on the digital building plans and describing the issue. Which informs your team and tracks the defect through to resolution. Script&Go is committed to supporting your team by making it possible to report and assign site problems in seconds.

Site Warranty

Site Warranty has developed a new system to communicate between the organisation, subcontractors and homeowners. Homeowners can simply open Site Warranty report their home defect/issue, and add pictures that will be immediately sent to inform your team. Site Warranty tracks the complaint

from start to resolution. Allowing for smooth communication with an automatic record that tracks complaints and resolutions to make things as convenient as possible for all parties involved.

Conclusion

In 2018 the construction industry’s output contributed approximately 6% of the national economic output with approximately 2.4 million construction industry jobs in the UK. The industry has been resilient throughout the pandemic and will continue to recover and aid national economic recovery. Script&Go will remain dedicated to the advancement of construction businesses and support their clients as the situation reaches its new normal in the coming months.

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