As one of our oldest and most far-reaching industries, construction has become integral to our socio-economic wellbeing. Despite this, the advances in construction technology and the challenges which threaten the industry haven’t always gained the widespread public attention and discussion perhaps needed.
Why Should We Be Talking About Construction?
Your first reaction to that insight might be that it simply doesn’t affect you, your business or your industry as a whole. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
“Construction is the Canary in the Coalmine”
-Brian DiSabatino, EDiS Company blog
The above analogy, originating from a 2012 article by American Brian DiSabatino, highlights one key fact: when something unhealthy is happening in the economy (the proverbial ‘coalmine’), the construction industry (the ‘canary’, in this instance) is a fantastic indicator of the problem.
Why does construction serve as a litmus test for the state of the economy? To answer that, it’s important to understand the relationships in play. The construction industry relies on investment from public and private sources, and in return provides homes, commercial premises, and jobs – all the while fuelling and supporting technological innovation. It’s this symbiotic relationship with other sectors that results in the construction industry giving a picture in part of what is happening in the economy as a whole. Simply put, paying attention to the construction industry will help us evaluate how the economy is progressing during challenging times and how it is recovering.
What is There to Discuss?
Aside from the health of the economy, there are two other key areas of construction to discuss with important and widespread repercussions.
1. Technological Innovation
VR, AI, and Cloud technology are increasingly gathering public attention, and all three are featuring more and more in the construction industry. The application of these technologies opens up further opportunities for development. If an architect can use VR to showcase how a building will look in the planning stages, for example, it can also be used to generate entirely digital environments for entertainment or educational purposes. Similarly, the construction industry’s Cloud requirements can push development further in order to accommodate growing data requirements.
2. Skills and Training
The construction industry – as is well publicised – is one of the key industries currently facing a skills crisis. With new technological applications and a push for apprenticeships in their arsenal, construction firms are leading the way in closing this gap, whilst highlighting just how necessary it is to consider these options.
At Kaleida, we feel passionately about fostering these discussions. To that end, we’ve been hosting a quarterly Construction Roundtable (#CIRT) for the last eighteen months, bringing together some of the North’s industry leaders to discuss topical issues facing the industry.
Attendees have opened up conversations on topics such as the Northern Powerhouse, the industry’s productivity problem, and tackling procurement. The result has been a series of whitepapers serving to share ideas and thoughts beyond our group of attendees. We hope that these whitepapers have helped to fuel further discussion and research into the challenges the industry faces.
Extending an Invitation
As the festive period approaches, we’d like to extend an invitation to you, as construction professionals and those with a stake in the industry, to attend our final CIRT event of the year on Tuesday 13th December. This is an opportunity to reflect on how the industry has changed since January, and where it can go next in the wake of huge political, technological, and economic upheaval. The discussion will be focused around the recent Farmer Review. To find out more about the event (and reserve a free space), please click here.
Keeping the conversation going is an important way to maintain focus on issues and challenges facing construction firms up and down the country, as well as highlighting the new innovations which offer the potential for huge change. We’d love to hear your thoughts on December 13th. Until then, keep the discussion going – the construction industry depends on it.
Kaleida design and create bespoke software for customers in construction, and a whole range of other industries. Find out more about our services or get in touch to discuss how we can help your business.