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Businesses and individuals alike have not been spared either. Some sectors, such as education technology and online gaming, have managed to level up and stay afloat despite the unprecedented circumstances. But most companies have had to deal with logistical hurdles and serious financial difficulties.

With a substantial shortage in the workforce, as well as delays within the supply chain, construction engineering is one of the fields to have suffered the most. Confronted with numerous obstacles, how has the industry kept going? Here, we look at the issues that have troubled the construction sector in the last 24 months. Furthermore, we explore what measures have been – or could be – adopted to face the ongoing concerns.

Construction engineering and its challenges

Let’s not beat around the bush – the construction industry has had a tough ride in recent times. On the whole, the engineering sector has seen better days too.

The events of the pandemic forced the sector to adapt swiftly to urgent demands. In fact, life-saving machines and ventilators had to be manufactured at a very rapid pace. At least this suggests that specific engineering branches have never been out of work.

But on a less ‘positive’ note, setbacks within supply chains have caused headaches for those in construction. As import and export levels decreased drastically, engineering-related companies had to source alternative solutions and change suppliers in a short space of time.

Additionally, the uncertain situation only served to aggravate existing concerns within the field. A limited labour pool, low predictability, financial instability, and slim productivity levels had been tormenting the engineering sector way before the outbreak of the pandemic. It is fair to say that recent events have done the industry no favours.

When it comes to the construction sector, continuous delivery issues have halted many businesses’ activities. Not only that, but the shortages of raw materials and the increasing costs of tiles, steel, and cabinetry certainly did not help either.

What’s more, the construction industry has also had to witness the temporary suspension of operations. From construction sites limiting the number of workers for safety reasons to labourers having to self-isolate, work has been stopped on several occasions. As operations were put on hold, projects inevitably slowed down too.

Unsurprisingly, this had a negative impact on the usual turnover of construction businesses. To put things into perspective, in April 2020 alone, 45% of construction companies saw their usual profits halved. The fact that almost half of their workforce was furloughed during that time played a significant part in this statistic.

Feasible solutions

The construction engineering sector is working hard to find viable solutions to tackle the numerous pandemic-induced challenges. How can the industry face the ongoing issues?

Rely on local suppliers – Businesses have had to deal with several delays and disruptions within the supply chain in the past 24 months or so. Sourcing materials from local suppliers is one effective way to possibly nip the problem in the bud. As well as supporting local businesses, construction companies can diversify their suppliers and find a timely remedy for unexpected delivery issues.

Digital technology – Digital technology may provide the answer to many dilemmas. Not only does it help reduce face-to-face interaction and preserve the well-being of labourers, but it also reduces unnecessary travel and keeps operations flowing. For instance, handy pre-commissioning software stores important documentation, keeps all workers informed on updates, and replaces non-essential meetings. All in all, technology allows everybody to continue carrying out their jobs and overcome existing obstacles.

Drones – Drone inspections are also becoming an efficient solution. In the construction industry, in fact, they can substitute manual inspections. They also carry an array of attractive benefits, from preventing large gatherings at construction sites to replacing risky practices (e.g., climbing to assess building progress). Also, drones offer the chance to save precious money. Why assemble one-off scaffolding for in-person inspections when drones can do the job for you instead? Ultimately, drones offer a cost-effective alternative and can reduce insurance expenses too.

Like several other sectors, the construction engineering industry has faced – and is still facing – its fair share of difficulties. From supply chain delays to a limited workforce, the obstacles have been numerous. But with a few simple and effective solutions it can slowly but surely restore its habitual productivity.