8 out of 10 construction companies say digital tools have helped sustain activity levels throughout COVID-19

When COVID-19 hit, almost all sectors of the economy felt it, but it was not (and is not) quite clear what the long-lasting impacts might be.

The construction industry has been hit hard, particularly larger projects. In the UK, construction sites are experiencing productivity loss of up to 35 percent, due to COVID. To mitigate this loss, several different measures have been proposed, amongst those is the embracement of digital platforms.

Digital construction tools have been on the rise for several years. They have gone from novelty to a staple in the industry, not just in the UK, but many other places as well.

Effects of COVID-19 on construction

 

In Denmark, MOLIO (a “industrial foundation with the aim of strengthening the construction industry through digitalization and innovation”) has carried out a large-scale survey on the effects of the Coronavirus on construction. Their findings suggest that although COVID has hit almost all layers of society hard, the Danish construction industry has been able to weather the storm, relatively well, partly due to an increased focus on digitalisation.

To quote Molio,

When corona hit Denmark, Molio did a survey on how Danish companies in the construction industry were handling the crisis in their day-to-day work and how they were affected by it. And the findings turned out to be quite interesting. The large majority – more than 9 out of 10 – have increased their use of digital tools during corona, and more than 8 out 10 respond that this increase has helped them sustain the same level of activity as before the crisis. Two thirds of companies even respond that they actually have become more effective due to the use of digital tools.

Those are striking words. To add to this, it seems that these changes have not been restricted to just large companies, on the contrary,

…the increase has taken place across both architects, engineers, developers, and craftsmen, as well as company size. It is not a case of the big getting bigger or the “most digital becoming more digital”, but a trend playing out among every link in the construction value chain.

Quite the statement, but Molio has the data to back it up. They report that 80 percent of companies say their employees accept digital tools faster than before the crisis, and 69 percent say more people in their company use more digital tools now than before.

Denmark is not alone, the US is facing a lot of the same issues, which are described as “an accelerator in moving the construction industry through digital transformation faster than most had planned”. Companies are forced to become more innovative to align themselves with the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

Digitalisation has been boosted by COVID-19

 

The bottom line, digitalisation has been heavily boosted by COVID.

It is not unreasonable to infer that the UK construction industry can benefit greatly from these experiences abroad. More digitalisation, a higher degree of usage and new ways of connecting field and office (with less person-to-person contact) all have a role to play in the future of construction.

If you are not sure how to start your digital construction journey, do not hesitate. We are here to help you. Even small steps are progress, and the benefits can be enormous.

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