Stating the obvious I know, but this year without doubt has seen some of the biggest changes in the way we go about our work due to the huge impact brought about by the Covid-19 crisis.
The pandemic has crashed into the very fabric of our society in some ways like a devastating storm; causing havoc, flattening all in its path, leaving a trail of destruction behind. Nowhere untouched and society now requiring a reset. This time last year or even six months ago who would have thought what lay ahead. An unannounced tragedy for those who lost loved ones and therefore most acutely affected in all of this mayhem.
In roofing, as elsewhere, Covid-19 has changed the way we operate within our organisations today both from a social distancing site perspective, including travelling, as well as now having a vast array of virtual communications that has mushroomed. This has perhaps enabled more productive meetings. So ironically, while productivity on site has and is being squeezed tightly, the industry in some ways has been able to communicate better more frequently and hopefully more productively.
The ‘stay at home’ initial requirements have caused more and more people to work effectively from home with virtual platforms adding more functionality daily. However, roofs are not constructed from home and the pressures on the ‘constructing’ part of the roofing industry are still, in some cases, severe. So, the opportunity to mitigate at least in part must be taken by enhancing communications with better and more frequent contacts among those who organise, offsite.
It’s a fact, manufacturers, specifiers, office-based contract management, regulators, certification bodies as well as representative bodies – like trade associations can, in a strange virtual way, attend meetings more frequently and hopefully be more productive. If that’s the case the logical outcome should be an overall increase in the quality of information that goes to site; more pre-build collaboration, fewer design mistakes, more consideration of the design, more accurate procurement etc. Maybe even better and quicker decision making. If we’re being totally honest sometimes the rush to get projects started, without due detailed consideration by all concerned of how they will actually be built, have caused their own degree of havoc down the line, on site. This in some cases has caused extensive site delays (the most expensive kind) resulting in – you guessed it – poor site productivity.
It would be too much of an idealistic approach to expect more frequent industry connectivity, when needed, to offset any current site productivity issues – but it can be part of it.
There is no doubt that in most areas good communication is one of the key principals to better productivity. Our focus as a roofing industry is now how do we move forward, how do we innovate to improve productivity given the new rules that we must operate within? Well it’s not a total solution but those involved in all aspects of construction can now quickly bring key people together, in a virtual meeting, as platforms improve and participants virtual operating skills develop – this must improve communications with resulting productivity enhancement. Let’s ensure we capitalise on it.
Dr Ronan Brunton B.Sc MBA GMICE