Lessons learned during the pandemic will be invaluable in the long term
The building trade may have suffered less than the customer-facing retail and F&B sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, according to Stephen Lee, the CEO of Chun Wo Construction, the industry has enjoyed some invaluable help from technology.
In fact, digital solutions are doing more than helping the firm to overcome the immediate challenges of keeping staff safe. As the recent SAPPHIRE NOW forum, he told the online audience he is convinced that digital solutions will pay long-term dividends when it comes to project efficiency.
He recounted the role technology has played in solving some of the recent challenges. They included dealing with shortages of China-made materials, co-ordinating the quarantining of staff returning from CNY holiday on the mainland, and implementing social-distancing and flexible hours for site-workers and working-from-home for office operations.
Individually, any of these issues would have been a major undertaking at any time. Handling them all at once would have been more or less impossible without the right mix of technology.
Streamlining processes for sustainability
Stephen believes the lessons learned during the pandemic will be invaluable to construction companies in the longer term. Not only to help them cope with any future outbreaks, but also in streamlining processes – especially within Government mega-projects that can last 5-6 years – to make them more sustainable.
For example, Chun Wo is in the process of creating a common data platform using blockchain, so that everyone – from the client to the engineers, designers and subcontractors, can have access to what they need, with appropriate rights to read, update and track all changes.
The firm is also developing artificial intelligence tools to analyse whether workers and plant equipment are being deployed efficiently, and adjust plans to make sure there’s no loss of efficiency or over expenditure.
Preparing for an “all-digital” future
Stephen is convinced that, in the future everything will be digital. That includes site safety systems to digital apps where buyers can inspect a unit and upload photos of any crack or imperfection.
Ultimately, the secret of Chun Wo’s future success will be based on business models tailored to creating and capturing sustainable value, and working closely with partners.
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