Finding solutions:

Pandemic’s effect on new requirements from the investor.

Times have changed. No industry looks the same as it did a few years ago. And I am not referring here to the coronavirus pandemic. Running a business, doing advertising campaigns no longer looks the same as it used to.

The same applies to the construction industry, which has to keep up-to-date with all the latest developments - both technical and business-related.

➤ Therefore, what will be the new requirements from the investor?

➤ What can be expected and anticipated? In this article, I have answered these questions by giving a bunch of tips for the new tomorrow.

Wojciech Domaszczynski

Consultant, designer
MEP BIM expert
Owner of Domaszczynski & TEAM

A bunch of tips for the new tomorrow.

There is an opinion circulating in the construction industry that many people have problems adapting to new changes. Engineers often do not have well-developed soft skills. They prefer their old ways and cannot even imagine that something could change in the way they work. Of course, they take advantage of technological innovations and learn new programs. They know that they have to keep up with all innovations. In these respects, their adaptation is going well. If they don’t, they go out of business. And they know it well. Meanwhile, the investor’s world is changing just like the engineer’s world. And it is to the investor’s new requirements that the engineer and the rest of the construction team will have to adapt.

Soft skills required of the investor.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the rules of the game. In the construction industry, not everyone can switch to remote working. Engineers who are used to working in the field have been forced to operate remotely – either because of their company policy or because of a possible quarantine. It will be difficult for an engineer to change their mode of working because working from home requires different reporting routes, and you need different tools for it. In such a situation, the investor will require the development of soft qualities in the engineer. The engineer will have to get used to better communicate with the rest of the team. Start using video conferencing to communicate with the whole team and become more open to communication, in general. In addition to this, the developer – not least of all because of the transition of some employees to remote working – will be looking at more independence and decision-making. This will make it necessary for the engineer to become more proactive and thus start using soft skills. This means that – no matter whether in the home office or in the office – the engineer will have to open up to others.

Remote working and the investor approach.

There is also the other side of the coin. A team of specialists that works separately can worry an investor. The situation is difficult because he is not able to look at everyone’s hands. And for this reason, he may be afraid of fraud. For example, he might conceal some plans or buy something cheaper and get an invoice for a much higher amount. An investor, also working from home during a pandemic, can feel uninformed and therefore much more stressed. This is why new ways of reporting are so important so that everyone knows what changes are taking place on the building site. The investor must be perfectly aware of whether the number of subcontractors agrees with what he has in the contract, whether everything is going properly, and whether there are any misunderstandings on the construction site. Appropriate provisions in the contract will regulate disputes. They just need to be properly marked and communicated to all interested parties.

The division of responsibilities is also changing. Due to ever-increasing globalisation, many industries are delegating tasks to countries where an excess of money is not needed to get the job done efficiently. Everyone has, many times, come across a hotline or an outsourcing company whose employees live on the other side of the world. In the case of the construction industry, the issue may concern raw materials and equipment which the investor orders from another country because after all calculations have been made, it simply comes out cheaper. This forces obvious changes in the market, as producers will be forced to change their prices and adjust them to the new realities.

New rules for signing contracts.

New ways of signing contracts must also be taken into account. The investor may require subcontractors to read the contracts in great detail and include a clause about the need for much more frequent communication between subcontractors. The client may also require a clause on the work culture and conflict resolution. Reporting will also be included in the contract. It is essential to lay down ways and means of reporting progress to whom and when. Experience has shown that clients can pay particular attention to how communication between the designer and his or her assistants takes place. There are situations when the designer does not have time to make interdisciplinary contact and delegates it to his assistant. Sometimes, the assistant carries out these instructions but does it in his own way. Here, his inexperience may come to the fore – and the unaware assistant will be blamed for some problem. And yet the investor cannot afford any slip-ups at work. Every mistake causes a standstill. And every delay costs money and time.

Progressive automation.

In all industries, there has been a growing trend towards robotisation and automation for years. The same is true in design and contracting. Gone are those days when a designer and his assistants stand over a table and draw up plans for the next project. Not only can such work now be done remotely, it can also be done 100 per cent digitally. The industry definitely needs to step into this world and move with the times. It is not only the current reality that is bringing radical changes. In the near future, automation will go so far that hard skills will take a back seat to soft skills. Investors need to be aware of these changes when working on contracts. Construction crews, engineers and designers also need to be aware of these changes. And, of course, adapt to them.

Another change that everyone needs to get used to is the increase in the number of women working in the construction industry, which has been observed for several years. Well-educated, with specialised studies, they often occupy managerial or executive positions and just as often act as investors. And just as often they act as investors. This is a change for the better, as women have a much wider range of soft skills at their disposal: they communicate better than men, and they can be much more demanding, which is conducive to successful investments.

At Domaszczyński & Team, we are ahead of the times to meet the challenges of the future without any problems. Imagine a well-educated engineer, whose knowledge is supported by practice in many international projects, who additionally has an MBA. Moreover, postgraduate studies extended by psychological knowledge of one of the best psychologists in Poland – Mateusz Grzesiak, PhD. Such a combination of skills, knowledge and out-of-the-box thinking guarantees that the case will be handled from start to finish. In the construction industry, it is very important to be able to adapt to changes, and what is even more important – to anticipate them. In this way, the development of skills and knowledge is continuous and can only be of benefit to future projects.

If you want your investment to be managed to the exclusion of communication problems, as well as those resulting from the lack of soft skills, I invite you to contact us. Tell us about your vision and we will simply execute it. Give us a call.

Wojciech Domaszczyński, MBA. Expert in construction, solving problems at the design stage so that they don’t occur during construction. #BIM

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