Procuret Blog

Building! Engineering a snowball effect?

James Deans

Prior to my time at Procuret, my experience with the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry was limited to a few high school Graphics classes, and the occasional venture into the Engineering faculty at University.

As luck would have it, I was reunited with Architecture and Engineering last year and I have now had the pleasure of being connected to many people who are in the industry.

It is a changing time for the sector. The effects of COVID and the move to a more sustainable use of materials is shaping what is mostly a creative, technical and consulting-based profession.

Naturally, I am intrigued as to where the industry will sit on the spectrum of recovery over the next 12 months.

The future

Empirically speaking, when the macroeconomy encounters a slowdown - or worse, a recession - governments usually turn to John Keynes for some handy tips. In construction language, Keynesian theory is often seen as the shovel to dig an economy out of a to speak.

I learnt during my Macroeconomics classes at Uni that, according to this theory, increasing consumption is considered the key to an economic bounce-back. Traditionally, this has been a tried and tested plan of attack for governments, through spending policies that encourage construction and free labour movement to provide jobs and resources needed to bolster infrastructure.

The government will also try to turn to local manufacturing to expand tooling capability and local innovation, but this can be a longer road to home, so we can probably expect greater investment in construction to lead the way.

As a consequence, architects and engineers will be in high demand over the next couple of years, and an extremely important cog in the economic revival.

The headwinds

It all sounds good on paper, but the effects of this are not immediate. Particularly with limited human resources, there is bound to be a lag between now and when the government construction drive kickstarts the economy post-lockdown.

Skills shortages are particularly acute in construction businesses, meaning either rising costs of labour, or creating the need to re-engineer how these projects are run and serviced (pardon the pun).

This creates both risk and opportunity to sectors that service and feed off new construction, and it is likely that new problems will surface which will require new approaches and new technology-based solutions.

We have heard about Proptech, Fintech, and Insurtech, making its way into the business vernacular; but is it now time for Constructech or Designtech to form and solve these emerging problems?

I’d be keen to hear from others in the sector about how they view the landscape… please feel free to reach out!

Connect with James - via LinkedIn.

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