Over the past year, the construction industry has evolved more rapidly than ever. Challenges presented as a result of Covid-19 and Brexit – including delayed projects, workforce management issues, commercial pressures as well as concerns over health and safety and sustainability – have accelerated certain trends and prompted a drastic overhaul of operations across the sector.
As we enter a new period of the pandemic, one where restrictions begin to ease and the return to normality is in sight, the construction industry will play a critical role in not only rebuilding our economy, but also in how we live, work, learn and play.
In this article, we look at how Pexhurst is anticipating and staying ahead of the latest operational trends in construction to ensure we remain competitive in a post-pandemic world.
Embedding Digital Information
At Pexhurst, we have always prided ourselves on embracing digital software and technology to streamline communications with our clients and this was especially enhanced throughout the national lockdowns.
As part of our offering, over the past few months we have been producing weekly Site Manager walk-around videos across all live sites where we walk and talk through updates which are then sent directly to the client. Thanks to these videos, our clients are provided with a full oversight into all phases of the construction project without having to leave their desks. We found that clients found this especially useful during the peak of the pandemic when the recommendation was to minimise travel if possible.
To further drive our digital transformation, we will soon be launching a new client portal area on our website. Clients will be issued with a unique login and will have access to specific information relating to past and live projects to ensure the most up to date view of a job is easily accessible anywhere, at any time.
Embracing Health & Safety Technology
As a principal contractor, we have always understood the responsibility we have for the health and safety of our team and everyone else we are legally obligated to protect on site. This is something we have always taken extremely seriously, but even more so throughout the pandemic.
Not only did we reshape our health and safety framework according to UK government guidelines but we have gone one step further by investing in health and safety technology to lower the risk of Covid-19 transmission. We are currently using the InteliPod access unit – the world’s first patent-pending 100% touchless, innovative, fully automated, self-contained control unit – at our 423, 202 sq. ft. industrial project at Hercules in Bristol.
As part of the technology, every site worker is assessed within one second of entering the pod to ensure they are approved to enter the site, that their body temperature is at a safe level and ensuring they are wearing a PPE face mask.
It also allows us to track which part of the country our workforce is travelling to and from, flagging any Covid-19 hotspot areas. The technology is a major part of our protection strategy, ensuring not only that we are Covid-19 safe, but helping to reduce bacterial and viral spread in the future.
Strengthening the Supply Chain
There is no denying the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and Brexit has presented potential threats to the construction industry, such as project delays and increased costs.
At Pexhurst, we have successfully avoided these threats through careful project management and intelligent commercial thinking. By planning ahead and considering the viability of existing projects – including the cost of any increased material costs as well as surrounding charges, taxes, quotas and tariffs – we have been able to mitigate the risks.
In simple terms, this means we have looked for alternative domestic suppliers and considered where changes in material specification would allow for greater security about the materials we need being available when we need them.
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