Although recently released data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the UK economy shrank by 2.9% in January, the construction industry bucked the trend with construction output rising by 0.9% over the same period.

This rise followed a fall of 2.9% in December 2020, with January also falling 2.6% below February 2021. Even more encouraging, outputs grew by an additional 5.8% in March.

This is showing an extremely positive trend for continued growth – with the Construction Products Association forecasting construction output to rise by 12.9% in 2021 as a whole. Indeed, as we approach the second half of the year, further growth in demand is expected as clients reinstate projects that have been on hold for several months.

Private housing, which was one of the worst affected sectors in the first lockdown, is predicted to make a strong recovery in 2021. The extension to the stamp duty holiday and the Help to Buy scheme have been major factors in this recovery. In light of the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, we should expect to see a surge in demand across the housing market in the coming months.

Nevertheless, there are significant risks to this recovery. Constraints to supplies in terms of extended lead times and increasing costs for both domestic and imported products may dampen construction activity to levels below the forecasts.

One area that has flourished is the adoption of new technology and digital working practices. The pandemic has led to a shift in the way the world conducts business, accelerating the digitalisation of many industries, including construction.

The pandemic has forced us to rethink construction priorities and address how we can make better use of technology for greater project collaboration and data management in the transition to a more resilient built environment.

At Cadventure we have been supporting clients in their visions and the next steps they need to take for increased digital performance and operation. In our discussions with clients, we have found that their main business priorities are focussed on digital transformation and meeting net zero emission and sustainability targets.

With the demand for digital construction services rapidly increasing, efficiency and improved productivity can be the difference between an overwhelmed workforce and a satisfied client. A report by McKinsey found that firms that introduced digital processes for procurement, supply chain management, better on-site operations, and increased automation have improved productivity by 50% over firms that relied on analogue processes.

As we see the development of 4D construction, the Digital Twin, immersive technology and many newer digital systems, there is a need to upskill the workforce to the construction industry are ready to meet client demand.

For those interested in learning more about 4D technology and Digital Twins, you can see a recording of our recent webinar ‘Discover SYNCHRO 4D’ HERE.