Roy Danon, CEO and Co-founder of construction tech startup Buildots, shares his view on how using technology in residential construction can help aid increasing housing demand…
Following the Prime Minister’s recent pledge to build more homes over the next five years, the spotlight is now fixed on the residential construction market.
Sweeping reform and a broad relaxation of existing planning laws will enable speedier project starts and quicker delivery. On the face of it, this should be seen as a welcome and much needed boost to the housebuilding sector, and one that should go some way to countering the steep shortfall in production due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it does raise one important question: How will housebuilders manage this significantly increased output while maintaining both a high productivity and a focus on quality?
The construction sector is already suffering from a manpower shortage, which limits its ability to handle more capacity as required by the recent pledge. To overcome this limitation, builders would be forced to increase their management span and do more with a similar amount of managers.
For many industries, technology was a key factor in making that change. Digitising data collection and analysis processes, assisting managers in making data-driven timely decisions, and allowing them to efficiently manage highly complex processes.
These digital processes would have a direct impact on the job site, supporting shorter project timelines and avoiding delays – but they would also provide increased management with critical data to handle more volume without increasing the level of risk and uncertainty.
Nowadays, there are a number of tech solutions that companies can rely on to enable automated processes and reduce the reliance on manual workflows.
Reasons for optimism
There are encouraging signs and indicators that construction companies are turning to technology to meet housing demand. One of these is the increasing adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) among housebuilders, which is enabling better designs and enhanced decision-making, resulting in higher productivity and output.
Investment in digital solutions has steadily increased over the last few years, not just from main contractors, but across the whole project delivery supply chain as the benefits and advantages become tangible.
As a result, innovation from technology companies continues at speed to solve the construction challenges of today and the future, meeting the changing requirements of the industry along the way.
The laser focus and dependence on the UK construction sector – a main contributor to GDP – to help lift the UK out of recession is to be welcomed, as it will maintain strong demand and a robust industry.
Looking ahead, construction technology will only become more and more sophisticated – and it will continue to cut the project delivery durations we currently see in the housing sector, enabling more building at a quicker rate.
New job roles will be created relating to BIM and digital operations as the technology becomes even more widely used.
The benefits of applying a digital approach to residential building and meeting housing demand are numerous, but it will be dependent on the rate of adoption and the commitment from housebuilders.
This commitment will eventually come, and the benefits around time, risk, and cost will be fully realised.