Technology vs Talking
It’s no secret that the advent of Covid has accelerated the rise of technology in construction. Processes that were previously completed manually, in person, in groups, on paper have rapidly moved to the digital sphere, in a bid to save time and reduce risk.
Good technology is about problem solving
Often the problem isn’t visible until the solution is presented. A famous Henry Ford quote springs to mind here, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
We never used to mind scouring individual take away websites for what we wanted (or being on hold for 45 minutes to the local Chinese) until Deliveroo and Just Eat showed us a different way.
So too with construction tech
Writing the site hazards on a white board every day makes sense until you realise if you deliver them to your workers’ phones every day they’re more likely to be read and digested than when they pop by the cantine at lunch.
But how do you ensure technology doesn’t replace human interaction? If paperwork can be processed remotely and toolbox talks delivered virtually, does the need for human interaction disappear?
Good technology facilitates, not negates, the human experience.
The daily site briefing is probably the most important moment in a builder’s day. It’s a chance to report on progress and be made aware of the safety risks of that day. It’s a time to take stock and plan ahead. But how many times have you been told something only to forget it the second you walk away? A few swipes on your phone to be reminded of that information increases the value of that conversation.
And reducing risk is not just about protecting people, it’s about protecting the business as well. When the new contractor trips over a trailing wire and breaks his ankle, how do you prove a verbal conversation was had? Is it enough that you can produce a dusty induction document, signed 100 days ago?
Technology in construction is here to stay, that is without debate. And the right technology will support human engagement. There is no substitute for a cuppa and a catch up.
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Naomi Stewart Hale
Naomi is our resident construction expert. Give her a bell if you want to learn more about the value of digital solutions for your sites.