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The future of construction and AEC for a post-COVID-19 world

We look at some predictions of where the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry will be after the coronavirus pandemic.

The construction industry is set to embrace remote working both in the short term and in the long term in order to help reduce costs in addition to the interest of workers’ health and safety. COVID-19 has highlighted that a lot of the work which is done in the sector can be done remotely with ease. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have made team meetings much easier. Many engineers, architects, technologists, and project management personnel have been working from home during the duration of the pandemic and it is expected that some will remain working at home for the next 12-18 months. It is definitely something that will stick around in the long term - and this isn’t limited to just the construction industry, either.

Recruitment is also set to change. With many more jobs set to be hosted on professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn and popular job searching sites such as Indeed. It’s very likely that, once COVID-19 passes, many people will be looking for work and the adoption of websites like LinkedIn for job posting will enable a much more efficient recruitment process.

The impact on the AEC industry has taken a massive hit in comparison to some other industries. This is primarily due to the fact that construction is a practical industry and as construction sites across the world have had to close, a much smaller number of employees have remained at work. In addition to this, many employees have been laid off and some companies are having their employees working hourly from home when project work does become available. 

Challenges in the industry continue to bombard the industry left, right and centre therefore companies continue the fight against the effects on the virus. Furthermore, labour rates have gone up considerably thanks to the implementation of new health and safety procedures to help fight off the virus.

Although on-site work has been stopped or severely reduced due to lockdowns in numerous countries around the world, many functions in the AEC industry such as architecture, engineering and project management can still continue relatively undisturbed. New technologies are also being embraced which is helping limit the impact caused by the current pandemic.

The pandemic could see a brighter future for cutting-edge technology in the industry such as drone tech, communication tools, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), building information modelling (BIM) and much more. These technologies actively encourage health and safety in the industry whilst helping employees meet social distancing requirements. These technologies are set to stay and develop further long after COVID-19 vanishes.

Finally, when looking at the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the AEC industry, the current trends such as remote working, adoption of the latest technology and increased health and safety procedures all look like they are here to stay. The construction site of the future is set to be almost fully automated with the use of robots and drones. Furthermore, engineers and architects will be, for the most part, replaced with advanced software that can handle most of the design production.

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