How can construction companies be more successful?

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Demi-Jo Smith, January 27, 2022

The nitrogen pollution problem and the COVID-19 pandemic have struck the construction sector hard back in 2020. But, with most of the COVID-restrictions behind us, it is time to look forward again. According to a sector forecast by Rabobank, the construction industry is on the road to recovery. For last year, a growth of 3% was expected. For 2022, they estimated a growth of 5%. The outlook for civil engineering and non-residential construction was good, due to high demand. The same applies to installation and finishing companies. This causes long(er) waiting times in many cases. 

However, according to ABN AMRO, this recovery of the industry comes at a price. Staff shortages are becoming a problem for more and more construction companies. While this was a concern for 6.1 percent of construction companies in the first quarter of 2021, it rose to 12.5 percent in the second quarter of that year. Architects and engineers, too, are finding it increasingly difficult to attract good staff. Companies in the wood and building materials industry also suffer from staff shortages, but for them the shortage of materials is an even bigger problem.

Crane on construction site

Due to the scarcity of raw materials, the cost of some building materials is rising rapidly, especially wood, steel and plastics. Construction companies are not always able to pass on these price increases. Because stocks are slowly running out, delivery times are becoming longer and longer. This could potentially lead to the delay of projects. Margins, which are sometimes tight already, are subject to additional pressure. Therefore, the time to make smart choices during the entire construction process is now. How successful construction companies do so? We will explain.

The moment you start keeping track of what you are doing, you can start seeing the structural line within the process.

Control over the construction process

Making mistakes is human, but it can also be costly. It is therefore important to have clear insight into your entire construction process. With digital tools, everyone has access to the correct and latest information available, anytime and anywhere. And not only that, it also gives you the opportunity to analyse and improve the process. Perhaps there is a part of the process that can be done just a little more conveniently. Proper monitoring and control of the process gives you the opportunity to pay attention to these opportunities. Danique Lagerwaard, construction site coordinator at facade builder Rollecate, tells how they handle this with the support of Prostream.

“We are seriously considering the issue of digitisation. The moment you start keeping track of what you are doing, you can see the structural line within the process. You then see where in the process it goes wrong. And when you know where it goes wrong, you can start to improve yourself. That is why Prostream suits us so well: because we can freely design our domain. That means that if we want to make a certain checklist, we can decide for ourselves which questions to include. This is also important for the points of action that follow from the checklist. For example, if we want to order a windowpane, we want to do that based on a number of values. Because we can fill in the questions in a so-called ‘Snag’ ourselves, the process then runs much more smoothly.”

Then you can improve where things frequently go wrong and hand out compliments where things always go right.

Assuring quality in construction

Quality is paramount in any process. From quality rounds at construction sites to workplace inspections in large warehouses for retail, recording and monitoring findings is an important asset when it comes to quality. Digital tools are actually indispensable here. It fits in seamlessly with controlling the process. Martijn Broeze, quality assurance officer at PlanGarant Netherlands says:

“We are quality assurance managers. We run our projects completely digitally. We don’t work on paper, we don’t know analogue. Our supervisors and assessors are only equipped with an iPad and a laptop. They actually do everything on that basis. If you record what you do, you can start to see patterns. Then you can improve where things frequently go wrong and hand out compliments where things always go right.”

Keeping costs low in construction

Good insight into the entire process and safeguarding quality with digital tools ensures that you have control of the costs automatically. And that is where the biggest profit lies for successful construction companies. With margins under pressure, every accurate budget and schedule is cause for celebration. Together we can make building a little easier.