As building sites all over the world gradually re-open after lockdown, it’s becoming increasingly clear that construction will look different after COVID-19. Our global public health crisis has confirmed the urgent need for a new way of building homes and offices, using smart construction to tackle design problems, inefficiency, outdated techniques and environmental challenges.
Where sites have re-started, the consensus is that at best, a maximum of 60% of workers can safely return under social distancing rules. Productivity is expected to be 30%-40 lower, meaning projects will take longer to complete. Tighter immigration controls to control the spread of coronavirus will exacerbate the current labor problem in the building sector.
At the same time, demand for high-quality housing is continuing to rise, especially in cities. Offering urban populations better and more spacious accommodation is crucial for reducing overcrowding and preventing future waves of infection. The question is how to do this in a fast, sustainable and environmentally sound way. One answer is prefabricated housing, powered by digital technology.
Unlike traditionally built homes, prefab houses are assembled from components including walls and roofs that are produced in factories and delivered to site for assembly. This helps make them cheaper and faster to build. Digital technology, including artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things, has also improved the design and production process.
Here are four ways smart, technology-driven construction can transform the building sector, ensuring high quality standards for affordable, factory-built housing and offering a solution to our most pressing housing problems.