The Future of Construction
Many new initiatives also pose a problem for many small and medium sized construction companies, including workplace culture shifts and the costs associated with new technology. However, in the long term, there are a number of opportunities to be seized, namely in terms of growth and development. These opportunities are predominantly being driven by the renewables sector, as well as legislative policy targets, such as the implementation of BIM and low carbon initiatives.
The main areas of change can be divided into six distinct categories:
- Innovation in such areas as products, processes, business, off-site innovation, lean manufacturing, and intelligent design, buildings and materials
- Renewables including large scale, nuclear, new build, and retrofitting
- Zero carbon
- Low carbon for example, refurbishing existing buildings, reducing emissions, and assessing energy
- Change this a big one, encompassing design, procurement, strategy, performance management and productivity, skills and training, and behavioural and cultural changes
- Environment focusing on climate change, waste and pollution
At TDS Midlands, our focus is on skills and training – because without these, implementing strategy for the future becomes nigh-on impossible. And despite many companies vocally committing to the development of skills, actual investment into skills is still at the bottom of most agendas – at least in the short term. But without a short term investment, the long term is unachievable. It’s a catch twenty-two. And with sector cuts not showing any signs of slowing, it is feared that the biggest losers will be training and development budgets, which seriously undermines the demand for upskilling.
Thankfully, the focus on apprenticeships is gaining momentum. Yet this is still only a mid-term goal for many companies. There is good news, however: apprenticeships are adapting to the needs of new technologies, not least at TDS Midlands. We are training a new generation to work in specialist areas; ambitious upstarts who can be flexible and adaptable, working in line with current priorities and the future of the industry. We instill an ethic of lifelong learning, as well as ongoing development.
New skills, in any industry, take time to develop. In the future, strong expertise and innovation will be needed in all areas of construction, from design and detailing to repair and maintenance. The short and long term challenges are clear – as are the short and long term benefits. The industry is beginning to realise that it must start acquiring new talent, with a higher level of education and a fresh perspective, untainted by outdated practices and mindsets.