Tag Archives: construction

The material shortages in the construction industry continue to worsen and according to the Office for National Statics (ONS), in July 2021 the cost of materials rose by 20%. This caused a decline in monthly construction output by 1.6% in July compared with June, falling to £13,660 million, and follows the 1.3% monthly decline in June 2021. The situation is likely to remain a problem for 6 to 9 more months, at least till the end of 2021, as the knock-on effects from Covid and Brexit remain evident.

 

Timber, roof tiles and cement heads are few of the list of materials in short supply while the demand is steeply increasing. From a wider perspective, the world’s consumption of raw materials is set to nearly double by 2060 as the global economy expands and living standards rise, which will cause twice the pressure on existing demand. According to an OECD report published in 2019, there will be 167 Gigatons of raw materials usage in the construction industry in 2060. To put that into context, one gigaton equates to 10,000 fully-loaded U.S. aircraft carriers!

 

The current market disruption could be an opportunity to help us drive  greener, cleaner, and more sustainable construction practices in the industry by forcing the use of recycled materials where possible. What further steps can be taken to mitigate the problems associated with the material shortage?

 

  1.  Planning well in advance
  2. Working closely with the supply chain and keeping in tight communication
  3. Discovering cheap and environmental substitute materials. Using services such as ENVIRONMATE (free leftover building materials marketplace)
  4. Allowing for longer lead times
  5. Sourcing locally
  6. Using reclaimed building materials, which can also be a solution to net zero government intentions. This would also avoid over reliance on Europe.
  7. Use recycled materials where possible
  8. Meeting British testing standards
  9. Refurbish buildings instead of demolition where possible

 

 

Daniel Gillespie, Director at Quartz Project Services shares his thoughts on how we can come up with sustainable ideas to help solve the material shortage problem.

“ We have and must start to think earlier and differently. At Quartz, we engage this process from inception, the ‘green agenda’ starts at the first meeting and stays a constant workflow through the duration of the development, occupation and life cycle costs. We are approaching schemes differently to be on point with the shift in the market conditions and demand. “

 

UK lockdown has brought a great deal of change in every industry, including construction. Many construction companies and their workplaces have begun to consider new technological processes within digital and automated environments. This is not something new, however the widespread adaptation has become irreversible since the Covid-19 pandemic. As said by Hans Vestberg, “Disruption may be unprecedented, but things will never move so slowly again”.

 

 

For starters, a shift to remote working forced companies into using online software, particularly Cloud servers to maintain efficienct with effective communication channels given the forced lack of human interaction and hence face to face meetings. While we missed office life and believe nothing can truly replace interactions in person, it has brought a variety of opportunities and advantages for future working environments. We can frame it as shaping a new digital habit! Here is a small taste of the benefits seen:

 

  1. Increased efficiencies with real time, up-to-date information flows
  2. Enabled regular backups on web-based filling systems
  3. Increased data collection, supporting productivity and efficiency in the long run through analysis
  4. Greater focus on structural stability
  5. Adaptation of smart technologies
  6. Opportunity for a wider talent pool
  7. Improvised, new ideas

 

What lies ahead?

 

  1. The industry will become more data savvy, which is a big change for the construction industry that is typically traditional in it’s working approach.
  2. Construction professionals who understand new digital advancements and software’s will be in great demand.
  3. Technological advances could revolutionise almost all points of the construction cycle of a built asset, from conceptualisation to demolition.
  4. There will be an increase in the use of technology to lower a building’s carbon footprint and the use of resources and building models.
  5. By adopting new technologies, the construction industry will be dominated with mega-projects to build smart and sustainable cities.