Craig Bradshaw: Embracing change in construction

It was recently reported that Microsoft HoloLens 'mixed reality' technology is being used on construction projects in the UK to allow interaction with virtual projects '“ this is yet another fascinating example of how new technologies are an increasing feature of the construction industry.

Craig Bradshaw, construction partner at MacRoberts. Picture: Contributed

Other recently reported examples include the use of robots and robotics, automated bulldozers, drones, electric car charging points, smart buildings, smart furniture, smart devices and smart installations, increased data collection, cyber security issues, use of virtual reality, 3D printing of concrete, building information modelling (BIM), modern offsite manufacture and pre-fabrication, solar panels, among others.

It will be exciting to see where these innovations take us and what comes next.

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There will be opportunities for new supply chain partners and existing suppliers will be presented with opportunities to diversify their existing businesses.

New issues for asset owners and facilities management companies will continue to materialise – such as cyber security where buildings are connected to the internet.

In response to the changing nature of new buildings, there may be an increased value in looking carefully at ongoing services and maintenance requirements.

Approaches to contracting will continue to evolve, having regard to the way new buildings are created and assembled and recognising the key nature of building components, services and technology – perhaps an increased focus on the supply chain contracts that deliver critical elements.

In a contractual context, traditional concepts of a building being constructed in “a good and workmanlike manner” will perhaps become less relevant and general concepts like a building being “practically complete” will increasingly merit closer consideration to take account of the performance of key building components, services and other technology.

Investing in and embracing new technologies and ways of working is critical in every area of modern business and it is well worth taking a look at how the construction industry is innovating and embracing change.

• Craig Bradshaw is construction partner at law firm MacRoberts