With the drastic material consumption, revenues, and carbon emissions seen from construction alone, The World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group captured the global power of construction in a new report. While considering the weight the industry carries in the global marketplace, there is a huge potential for positive change through helping construction reach its strongest point. The focus on innovation and what that means in the construction world is what the report considers “the way forward.”
What’s obstructing this onward movement? Report authors attribute industry growth challenges to the following points. The Future of Construction platform establishes ways to address these challenges, formed through the thoughts of over 60 experts in working groups during the World Economic Forum initiative. Pretty interesting food for thought in your own construction practice, no matter how small.
Goal: Project delivery
We’re all familiar with the mantra of “on time, on budget” ringing in our ears 24/7. As projects become bigger and more complex, these goals are worthwhile, but only a small piece of the pie. The definition of project quality has broadened to create a fuller view of an organization—involving cross functional cooperation in project fulfillment, funding, and other critical steps along the way.
Some potential solutions to improvement include:
– A firm grasp on risk for performance improvement
– Using lessons learned in a global arena to advance construction more rapidly
– Heightened technology to support intricate project frameworks
– Project alliance between all parties early on in the construction delivery process
Goal: Lifecycle performance
Understanding maintenance requirements of a building at an early stage is a key component to creating an increase in value and efficiency. Often, costs outside of design, construction, and engineering are overlooked in planning. Attention to a full investment represents the best chances of a return on an asset (typically the goal of an investor or property manager anyway).
Ways this can happen:
– Flexibility in contracts to new conditions unforeseen at time of signature
– Comprehensive infrastructure asset management
– A focus toward maintaining asset value in construction
As the largest industry consumer of raw materials worldwide, construction isn’t a practice you’d imagine can be sustainable, by nature. Acknowledging this usage and understanding the heavy impact of our actions as construction decision makers is the first step. Accessibility to sustainability in construction isn’t impossible given the following are upheld:
– A sustainable construction project should be financially feasible
– There needs to be organizational support
– Widely accepted levels of sustainability are needed to set realistic, achievable goals
When these conditions are satisfied, possibilities are endless with new technologies available.
Challenges due to housing affordability and homelessness leave an alarming crisis. In seeing this issue continue, real estate professionals must do what is within their influence to improve this situation. According to the Introduction to the working group on affordability and the introduction of Mahmoud Hesham El Burai, “Affordable housing will not be possible with only government taking the lead: a multi-stakeholder approach is needed, with system leaders who see the big picture and integrate economic, social and environmental sustainability in their strategies and actions.”
This boils down to creating a more inclusive system and managing urbanization head-on.
Goal: Disaster resilience
Whether through weather or cyber-attacks, it’s no secret the built environment has suffered its fair share of disaster. Although few of these emergencies are avoidable, what we can do is develop plans to withstand and recover quickly.
This can be accomplished a number of ways; however, some specific methods revolve around tactics covered in our climate change blog, and also heightened security avenues.
As the global population skyrockets, urban and rural conditions need to maintain conduciveness to human well-being. This includes links to sustainability through using better building materials for health, but also exploring avenues for transportation to produce less dangerous chemicals.
As large scale as these concerns may seem, they begin with each decision we make in our own construction lifecycles. No matter what barriers may exist, this report is a good step into a glimpse of “the way forward,” whichever way it may piece together realistically.