While we haven’t fully emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, we are certainly in a better place than we were a year ago. In the first half of 2020, every industry was grappling with the uncertainty of what was to come. And a few, like the real estate development and construction industry, had no idea that they were being set up to come out ahead.
That’s not to say the path was easy, or that it didn’t require creative solutions. There were restrictions to which the construction industry had to adhere to ensure safe working environments, and when combined with rising costs and labor shortages, it could easily have been insurmountable. But the industry responded quickly to these trends and more, with solutions to maintain productivity at work.
Increased Safety Protocols
The industry already has a strong commitment to safety, but Covid-19 forced organizations to identify and adopt new ways to protect employees from a different type of exposure. Increased safety protocols, particularly as they relate to cleanliness, and more effective protective equipment emerged as simple, but effective solutions to not only reduce risk of illness, but risk of injury. And investing in practices and equipment that reduces risk to your employees will undoubtedly translate to a stronger safety record, which will then reduce insurance costs.
Rising Materials Costs
You can’t turn on the news these days without seeing a story about the skyrocketing costs of construction materials, particularly lumber. In just one year the price of lumber increased an incredible 377%! This surge is impacting builders of both residential and commercial properties, but it is also causing a spike in insurance premiums as they are influenced by reconstruction costs. As a result, existing policy limits and coverages may not offer adequate protection in the event of a loss. Not only that, premiums are also increasing to account for the higher expenses carriers will incur, if and when a claim comes in.
Adoption of Innovative Technology
The use of technology in construction is certainly not new, but the speed at which so many solutions were adopted in the past year, perhaps is. Many solutions effectively improve productivity, but they also contribute to safety protocols and thereby further reduce risk of injury. Drones that scale buildings (so people don’t have to) and capture images of hard to reach, dangerous places, and wearable technology like Wi-Fi-enabled work boots are creating safer work environments.
Other technologies seeing more widespread use in construction include augmented reality (AR) and mobile applications. AR offers hazardous training and safety simulations, and there is seemingly no end in sight when it comes to mobile apps that increase safety in the workplace. iAuditor is a great one that notifies responsible individuals when on-the-job risks have become apparent. The First Aid app by the American Red Cross is also important as it provides information and directions on how to handle different incidents and injuries.
Covid-19 forced everyone to pivot and quickly adapt to a new reality. The construction and real estate development industry has proven that it could not only weather the storm, but emerge stronger. By adopting more stringent safety protocols and advanced technologies, the industry invested in today, but also in the future. It has thrived in the face of challenges no one could have predicted and by quickly adapting to the new reality, it has allowed organizations to maintain productivity and reduce risk to provide a safer, stronger, work environment.