Cross Industry Skills Ellis Fox Blog

How construction can benefit from cross sector expertise

With health and safety becoming a primary focus in the majority of workplaces and technology facilitating a shift in operations in 2020, construction is finding itself having to adapt to a fast changing working environment, whether it wants to or not.  While this may be challenging, it is also an opportunity to start to implement better policies, adopt digital transformation and possibly gain the benefit of outside expertise.

Let’s take digital transformation, for example. Rather than trying to figure out which digital tools and solutions would benefit the company, hiring someone with key expertise in technology could save the business a great deal of time, money and frustration. While the person may not have specific construction knowledge, this can be obtained by consulting and collaborating with key managers within the company. Instead, they will have key insights into what solutions are available and how they can be implemented to align with a company’s business or operational needs. Adapting what technology has to offer in order to meet specific challenges that construction firms are facing is not a big stretch especially when working with teams in the organization.

Some of the technologies that might be considered are:

  • Building Information Management (BIM) systems to facilitated better collaboration and remote working between teams.
  • Drones, robotics and scanning software to improve planning, project management and maintenance efforts.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can improve investment prospects by being able to showcase the features and benefits of a project.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are very efficient is processing large data sets which can be useful in engineering and project planning.

The reality is that construction can benefit a great deal from outside expertise. As an industry that is historically slow to adapt, bringing in expertise from other sectors can help accelerate change and work towards futureproofing businesses. Financial Directors don’t always need construction specific knowledge in order to balance budgets, and supply chain managers know how to manage a vast network of suppliers and logistics, regardless of industry. Similarly, the principles of Human Resource Management and Business Development don’t vary much between industries.

Most significantly, when hiring cross-sector there is a great opportunity to improve the company’s diversity at the same time. Many women and professionals from different ethnic backgrounds operate at a high level in finance, technology, and business development, to name a few sectors. With this in mind, there’s an opportunity for construction to enjoy a two-fold benefit. Upping senior expertise and diversity in one go.