Below is a published article from Glenn Ebersole’s “Building Insights” Column in the 10/13/2020 Issue of The Reading Eagle Business Weekly.
Predicting the future is very challenging and critical for businesses, organizations, institutions and individuals to forecast what will be and what can be. Perhaps Yogi Berra, New York Yankee MLB Hall of Fame member explains how difficult it is in one of his famous quotes: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”
Daniel Burrus, technology futurist and best-selling author of “The Anticipatory Organization” defines and analyzes hard trends and soft trends to determine disruptors that may occur and how organizations can anticipate and contemplate those disruptors and determine what will be game changers.
The AEC (Architecture, Engineering & Construction) industry is ideally positioned during the COVID-19 crisis to follow Burrus’ advice and become a leader of innovation in a post pandemic world.
Strategic and scenario planning will facilitate fostering an environment for teams to think through critical impacts and changes to the AEC industry. People will reshape their mindset and reimagine the future, which ultimately will help the AEC industry prepare to lead the changes needed to benefit clients and society in a post pandemic environment.
The AEC industry will be summoned to engage their skills and experiences to adapt to the new future of building. Construction and design firms will focus on future opportunities to support healthcare and vulnerable populations in new construction, rehabilitation/renovation of existing facilities, and modular construction to address evolving needs in the market.
Opportunities will be recognized regarding the reinvention of travel and associated physical renovation/modification at airports, seaports, rail/transit stations and other infrastructure components required to facilitate travel in a post COVID-19 environment.
Agility and productivity will increase in AEC firms due to new digital technology. Investments in the country’s digital infrastructure will be a wise investment and likely will be increased in broadband and information systems. Therefore, innovation and new ways of doing business will play a key role in developing future solutions generally for the AEC industry and specifically for its clients and stakeholders.
New technologies and construction methods will take priority in the near-term as labor costs keep rising due to increased health and safety regulations imposed by COVID-19. The labor shortage problem will be addressed by new technology solutions developed to reduce the demand for physical labor.
The construction site in the long term may be almost fully automated with robotic labor, and small drones flying around for monitoring and delivering supplies. Design work by engineers and architects may be performed by advanced software that can handle most of the design production. The accelerated growth of software technology has significantly replaced the need for large numbers of draftspersons, and construction equipment capable of doing the work of more than 10 or 20 laborers. This trend is expected to continue with even more exciting developments evolving in the coming years.
I leave you with this positive thought from Steven Magee, author and world class scientist.
“Some of the greatest discoveries are occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Glenn Ebersole is a registered professional engineer and the Executive Director, Strategic Business Development/Marketing for RCS Construction, a woman-owned general construction firm in Collegeville, PA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-415-1130.