In a Building Resilience report, construction software company Asite summoned the globe’s development sector to reconsider the way it approaches construction. 

In the report, Asite said that the COVID-19 crisis has reversed predictions and expectations for robust industry growth this year. 

Yet, the report insists, it remains of crucial importance to develop resilient communities and adapt new methodologies of working. 

We must, in fact, prepare and shield our society for tomorrow, says Asite chief executive officer Nathan Doughty. 

Construction and infrastructure, he said, are pivotal to our ability to protect the well-being of global citizens, and to educate, nourish and shelter us all. We must, in essence, continue to build—and resiliently. 

The Asite report asserts that a focus on climate change in public discussion in 2019 had inspired a twin focus on sustainable building, procurement and energy earlier this year. 

The report specifies says that action is being taken on this concept. In the arena of public policy, a European Green Deal introduced in December laid out a plan for that region to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050. 

In addition, many governments are increasing sustainability by way of ‘smart city’ projects. 

In Dubai, the government has introduced more than 100 smart initiatives and 1,000 smart services throughout the last three years under the auspices of its Smart Dubai 2021 strategy. 

These include a plan to make Dubai Government processes paperless, a data first strategy, a blockchain strategy, a smart lab for artificial intelligence, and a ‘happiness’ agenda. 

Others are taking a more direct approach to sustainability. 

In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is investing in 500 zero-emission all-electric busses as a component of a four-year investment of $US54.8 billion to increase its network capacity and guarantee yearly carbon savings of 17 million metric tonnes. 

Other nations are exploring renewables. India seeks to produce 175 GB of electricity by way of renewable sources in 2020. 

Awareness also continues to emerge regarding the possible ecological and societal impact of rapid urbanisation. Asite even asserts that the coronavirus outbreak may draw more heed to this area amid conversations around the connection between urban development and new or reoccurring infectious diseases. 

Inside construction companies themselves, Asite states that the virus could quicken efforts to cultivate enterprise-encompassing resilience. 

Consulting firm McKinsey has recommended that companies develop integrated ‘nerve centres’ that hold enterprise-wide authority to organise an organisation’s reaction to crisis. These would empower leaders to test methods with speed, preserve and put into effect the best solutions possible in a morphing environment. 

Inspiration could be drawn, Asite says, from the UAE, which previously encountered coronavirus through the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2012, but whose widescale development projects have thrived in the current pandemic. 

Asite further asserts that, when it comes to environmental and enterprise resilience, technology will play a key role. 

More frequent use of digital engineering, for instance, will help to proceed with smart city projects, although some of these projects are stalled due to worksite closures and workforce shortages. 

Asite also says that modelling and data analytics skills developed recently could be applied to the design of strategic models. 

These could help to facilitate operations-related viability, structural resilience and worker protection. 

Doughty states that the building industry is crucial in helping cities and nations rebound from tough times. 

Doughty notes that in these—the toughest of times–the building industry has swiftly delivered hospital beds for health services across the globe, as well as reconfigured manufacturing for PPE and health equipment.

The ultimate key to success in these times, he said, centres around collaboration and innovation.