A survey by Master Builders Australia reveals that 73 percent of building contractors have suffered a decrease in forward work orders in the wake of COVID-19 – with typical order books contracting at a ratio of 40 percent. In terms of operations, builders must do more work with fewer workers and to follow procedures that include worker screening and cleansing of touchpoints and shared spaces to the social distancing of employees.
At the same time, though, builders are practicing new methods of getting the job done – frequently abetted by technology.
For many builders, initial concerns concerning a possible building sector lockdown caused problems with project scheduling. Larger macroeconomic concerns have affected the market for residential renovations, with many projects put on hold.
In response, many construction firms have put new safety measures in place. To make possible the required degrees of physical distancing, only a handful of labourers and subcontractors work on site simultaneously. Owners and administrators work on a remote basis whenever feasible. Common areas are cleaned thoroughly, and on a daily basis. Labourers are cognisant of hygiene and have been issued hygiene products. Employers demand that workers showing symptoms stay home.
In addition, companies are calling on technology such as Procore for the purposes of project management.
Issues are resolved from corporate offices, with revised plans, site photos and instructions revised and transmitted virtually. To deal in this way, all parties have found, also leaves a paper trail that successfully documents the entire project.
Project managers find that individual project walkthroughs also are effective, as they do still need to physically visit worksites on a regular basis.
Meeting software, like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Microsoft Teams, can devise log trails of project meetings. Contractors also make use of forms and inspection tools to perform coronavirus symptom checks and site cleanliness checks.
Software also helps to handle project risks and possible safety hazards, with contractors making use of daily logs and forms to monitor manpower and job progress.
On the positive side of the issue, less CBD traffic has expanded site access on large-scale commercial projects. Technology take up has helped so much as contractors do much more in the way of virtual work. And everyone is unifying to get the job done—and to keep the industry going.