From grocery stores to public transit, social distancing has impacted the way in which you go about your day. As one of the most essential methods of fighting the spread of COVID-19, workers, families, and everyone in between are asked to stay at least six feet apart in public spaces and at work in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
While many professionals affected by the pandemic were able to adapt to remote work arrangements, construction workers that were deemed essential have continued to work on-site. Because labor-intensive tasks such as construction require significant manpower, the construction industry has been forced to adopt a number of different construction tools in order to help its workers stay safe on-site through social distancing measures.
As such, the pandemic has greatly accelerated the demand for digital transformations throughout the construction industry. The construction industry has long been considered one of the world’s least digitized sectors, with the United States ranking second-to-last and Europe ranked the worst. COVID-19 has forced construction firms to rapidly adopt new solutions that allow workers to carry out both on-site and in the office while adhering to crucial public safety measures. How to improve team collaboration across different teams and projects?
Here are 4 construction collaboration technologies being used to keep socially distant job sites connected:
1. Electronic blueprints
The switch to collaborative technology solutions has been a major driver of digital transformations throughout the construction industry, but the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the urgent need to move communication into the cloud. This is especially true when it comes to blueprints and other mission-critical construction documents, requiring accurate communication in construction teams in order to finish projects with ease and care. Since digital blueprints can be accessed throughout the supply chain, different teams working on different aspects of the project can work together using a common set of instructions with ease. And because digital blueprints can be accessed through different electronic devices, workers at construction sites can refer to documents on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop without having to gather around physical documents with others.
2. Prefabricated construction
From single-family homes to skyscrapers, construction companies have embraced modular and prefabricated elements, allowing particular building components to be assembled off-site. Modular construction itself is anticipated to become a $130 billion market by 2030 that reduces project times by up to 50%. By adopting prefabricated technology, workers can collaborate in a project in controlled environments with static workspaces, making it easy to maintain social distancing. GPS technology also makes it possible to monitor movement within the factory, ensuring that workers stay compliant with social distancing rules.
3. Digital supply chain
The Internet-of-Things (IoT) makes it possible to monitor the location, status, or other highly-specific characteristics of any particular item. Throughout a supply chain, this means raw materials, finished projects, and other crucial components can be observed in real-time, allowing construction workers to gain access to tools and materials as soon as they’re ready or available. Companies adopting digital supply chain technology make it easy to embrace social distancing by ensuring that workers check out equipment, gather supplies, or visit a particular location only as soon as it’s necessary, reducing the number of people at a particular site at any given time.
4. Document collaboration
Construction workers always need access to up-to-date safety information, but it’s especially true when it comes to staying safe during COVID-19. With ever-changing government guidelines, safety precautions, and other protections put in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, project collaboration software allows construction companies to seamlessly distribute documents, ensuring that workers have access to the most relevant and accurate information. Between automated workflows and electronic signatures, construction companies can seamlessly distribute documents to workers and track whether or not they have been seen and signed off on. Not only can this help guarantee that workers see current safety policies, but document collaboration software can also reduce the need for workers to distribute or approve documents in person.