Overcoming Construction Logistics, Access Challenges Amid a Pandemic

Managing large projects nationally and globally requires a seamless approach enabled by workplace intelligence and technology, notes Tracy Lea Neff of Unispace.
Tracy Lea Neff

Over the last year, the construction industry like many other industries have faced various impacts from the pandemic. One of the largest hurdles they have had to overcome is the lack of access to job sites.

Around the world, safety restrictions have been instituted, ranging from international lockdowns to limiting just two people to each freight elevator, which a year ago were shuttling dozens of construction workers in one cabin. This has required construction managers to find innovative solutions to move projects forward without incurring additional risks or delays.

Integrating technology into the construction process has become a necessity for many construction teams to maintain communication with all parties, monitor site progression, and complete various tasks typically done in person. Other apps offering virtual assistance like advanced calendaring, geolocating and equipment tracking, have all helped to ensure seamless continuity over the past year.

Outside of on-site challenges, access to commodities have caused issues with project progression. When foreign steel and lumber companies experienced supply chain shortages, many construction firms turned to domestic providers. As a result, understanding the global landscape with local market knowledge has been crucial when looking for and sourcing materials. Having local connections has enabled many construction jobs to continue with limited interruptions.

Maintaining a strong client experience, even while incurring internal and external challenges, is important. Just like with their internal teams, construction managers need to make sure their key stakeholders and decisionmakers are informed, comfortable and satisfied through the process. Especially if teams are unable to visit site locations, finding work arounds, communicating and reinforcing commitment is key.

Through an integrated approach blending strategy and design with pre-construction and delivery, issues with access and other hurdles are resolved early on in the project. Combining these services into one process removes the risk of cost overrun, scheduling delays, and other risks.

When construction is involved in the beginning, during the planning stages, potential issues can be communicated and minimized with a collaborative plan of attack. This enables teams to deliver projects more quickly without sacrificing quality. Especially during uncertain times, a seamless process and end-to-end experience can establish a long-standing partnership with clients.

Managing large commercial real estate projects nationally and globally requires a seamless approach enabled by workplace intelligence and technology to meet the pace of change. The pandemic has challenged construction and design executives to push the boundaries and expand their horizons to incorporate new tools and processes.

By leveraging technology, knowing the local markets, and focusing on the client experience, all within an end-to-end approach, construction managers can complete projects successfully, even under difficult circumstances.

Tracy Lea Neff is a highly accomplished workplace design and delivery professional who has oversight of the North America Unispace Delivery team and all construction projects in the Americas.