The impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry - an interview with Jamie Mills, Director
The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt across the whole construction industry. If you’re running a construction business, or providing professional consulting advice to the trade, it’s going to be critical to understand the medium to long-term impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector as a whole.
Jamie Mills gives his overview of the impact COVID-19 has had on the construction industry in the U.K. and what the future holds.
How has COVID-19 affected the UK construction industry and the business?
The industry has had to adapt to the changes brought about by lockdown and the implementation of COVID safe working practices, whilst challenging the sector has really stepped up. As an industry, we have responded very well to the pandemic. Supply chain challenges aside, we have managed to continue serving our clients and supporting our team members throughout this challenging time. We feel fortunate to be able to continue working at a time when that is not an option for many and do not take this for granted. The need to implement COVID secure ways of working has served as an opportunity for us all to review our health and safety working practices whilst adding the additional measures to comply with the government guidance around COVID. The biggest challenges we have faced so far have been related to our supply chain. During the first lock down a number of key products and suppliers either shut down completely or scaled back their service, this resulted in a number of scheduling challenges across all of our projects. By adapting project programs we were able to mitigate a majority of the impact of these delays.
What are the biggest changes you have had to make to your business? The world is now has had to adapt to the ‘new normal’. Microsoft Teams and Zoom calls have been introduced to us all by way of the initial lockdown. We have found that this way of working has actually given us the opportunity to work more efficiently in many ways. Whilst there will always be a need to be on-site and see things with your own eyes, a great deal of the project management related tasks can be dealt with virtually. A number of our clients work and live overseas and so this way of working is not new to us, it has just become more common place.
Has your use of technology increased due to the pandemic and what are the new industry trends and practices?
Actually, no. As a business, we have been pushing the technology in construction agenda for a number of years. Our entire project management operation is cloud-based. Our project management tool RK Connect allows all stakeholders to have access to the live project program and progress reports via the web portal or the iOS and Android app. This has allowed us to continue with business as usual without the need to make changes to react to the ever-changing public health scenario.
What does the future look like for the business and the industry?
Whilst the market has remained active for us during these times, we cannot be complacent. Making sure that we have these disaster recovery practices in place will allow continuity of service for our clients should we head into further lockdowns as we manage our way out of this pandemic. It’s important that construction heed the lessons that have been hard learnt through the pandemic. The need for clear and concise communication alongside, the ability to remain agile and adapt to changes in the industry has stood us and the industry as a whole in good stead. Historically, construction has been slow to adopt technology and integrate it into its systems and processes, the need to innovate during these times will benefit the industry and the clients we all serve.
If you are planning a building project, we would be delighted to speak with you, help you discover your dreams and answer your questions so that you can get your project off the ground with our expertise. We look forward to hearing from you.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our head office on +44 (0) 20 8532 5959.