COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions have changed the way businesses operate. Many organisations have been backed into a corner, with no choice but to embrace and accelerate their digital adoption strategies.
The construction sector is no different. Digital transformation has been identified as a priority across the industry, but many firms, particularly those with smaller teams, are still playing catch up. A recent survey from technology experts IDC identified some key road blocks that need addressing within the sector including data security, risk management and outdated technologies.
However, early adopters within the construction sector have started to reap rewards from their technology investments. For example, digital technologies are now making complex construction jobs, often with multiple specialist teams, easier to manage. New cloud-based services, like virtual collaboration tools, accelerate productivity and improve project management. They also provide a transparent line of sight, in real time, on project status. This level of transparency is crucial when working as part of a geographically dispersed team.
Not falling behind main contractors
Right now, larger construction firms tend to set the pace when it comes to technology adoption. And perhaps unsurprisingly, they’re increasingly expecting their wider project stakeholders to have access to the same digital toolboxes. The good news is that with cloud-based software-as-a-service, technology is now more accessible and affordable than ever. Many of these tools are available on subscription; companies pay recurring fees to have access to the software, as opposed to making a one-time payment to own it outright.
Adding digital knowledge and software to the quantity surveyor “work-belt” is a positive step. It helps drive productivity efficiencies, enables a more collaborative work-from-anywhere mindset while also improving customer engagement and a team’s ability to deliver a job on time and on budget.
Overcoming the technology divide
If it’s not broken, why fix it? It would be safe to assume that the majority of quantity surveyors feel secure in their roles right now. A BIS Oxford Economics report revealed there is a significant gap between the number of active quantity surveyors and the increased demand. International travel and border restrictions also make it harder to recruit overseas talent to fill those gaps. However, this could be short term optimism. United Kingdom construction projects continue to grow in complexity, and if they’re unable to find the right people with the desired skillset locally, as border restrictions ease, they will look elsewhere.
Multiplex advances with digital solutions
For premier global construction company Multiplex, new collaboration-based software means that the company has an efficient and expedited paperless exchange of information between all parties involved in a project.
Grant Sanderson, a cost planner for Multiplex in Australia, notes that the right software can help everyone involved in a project to get annotations that provide a clear, delineated scope making it a valuable tool for cost planning.
‘It allows the market to price in accordance with what we want, enables us to include or exclude areas based on annotations or text descriptions on drawings, quotes or any other document. It provides clarity in a clean way as opposed to hand-marked versions,’ he says.
Trust technology solutions
As quantity surveyors grapple with more complex obstacles, using data effectively will become more important. The first digital step can be daunting, which is why trusted solutions provide a set of smart tools that will enable new users to hit the ground running. The right solution will offer custom measurement tools that quickly capture a project’s true scope, enabling a team to deliver a more accurate and competitive bid. It also helps users to spend time where it matters most. It improves productivity, creates a better organisational workflow, provides tighter supply lines and schedules.
As seen with Multiplex, high expectations and a need to get things right the first time should provide an incentive for the industry to fast track digital transformation efforts. Particularly, if they want to remain competitive and unlock their full potential. Collaborative software solutions will help quantity surveyors remain relevant in the “next normal” as the world continues to digitise at a rapid pace. As the way the world works continues to evolve, it presents an opportunity to reap the benefits of digital technology to fuel productivity and minimise obstacles. Taking what might seem like big steps now will help future-proof the sector, making sure that quantity surveyors remain relevant now and in the years ahead.