The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of disruption in businesses around the world and has affected the economy in general. Each industry has faced a unique set of challenges. However, despite all the challenges, construction companies can continue to operate with minimal disruption using digital collaboration tools. Contractors can use remote collaboration strategies to perform engineering and management tasks to keep the project at a steady pace.
One of the biggest challenges for contractors during the coronavirus outbreak is protecting workers from the virus while working at project sites. When compliance with social distancing becomes nearly impossible, project managers can rearrange activities to minimize the number of workers required in a specific area and provide workers with a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit for added safety.
The novel coronavirus has also introduced financial and legal challenges to construction projects. Preventive measures, in such cases, involve optimization of costs and deadlines, and clarity in the responsibilities shared between owners and contractors. The lack of clarity can lead to legal actions which would further increase the costs and delays of the project.
With all of that in mind, let’s dive into the tips that can help construction companies overcome the project management challenges introduced by COVID-19.
Use contract types that promote collaboration
One of the most promising concepts that foster collaboration is Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). The goal of IPD is to minimize conflicts between parties involved in projects and to minimize waste. This is achieved by identifying activities that add no value to the project so that they can be eliminated. The owner, architects, engineering team, contractors and sub-contractors are all involved in the project from the start, and the distribution of the benefits is clearly indicated.
As profits are allocated at the start of the project, a project problem would mean reduced profits for all involved parties. This helps create an incentive for effective communication and collaborative problem solving. So, with IPD, the confrontational approach can be avoided as it affects everyone in the project.
A cost-plus contract with a maximum guaranteed price (GMP) is used when conditions are uncertain for a construction project. In this type of contract, the owner pays all project expenses plus a fee, which can be fixed or based on a percentage.
The entrepreneur makes a profit as long as the actual cost of the project is less than the GMP.
The entrepreneur loses money if the project costs exceed GMP.
In cases where the project cost and GMP are equal, the entrepreneur reaches the breakeven point.
The risk of the project is shared between the owner and the contractor under a cost plus contract. Helps the contractor by providing a safety margin for unforeseen costs, and also gives confidence to the owner by setting an upper limit. This type of contract also adds flexibility since changes to the project can be handled by simply adding their cost and fees to the project. For this reason, cost-plus contracts are very useful in projects where the scope is unclear.
Prevent COVID-19 with Contech
The term “contech” refers to technological tools used in the construction industry. The idea of contech in construction is to improve overall efficiency, reduce project costs and promote faster delivery. Contech has attracted a lot of attention to reduce the risk of protection against COVID-19. With the help of wearable technology, project managers can apply social distancing measures between workers and also monitor health conditions of staff. The project manager can also detect problems and risk points to reorganize activities to minimize risks.
Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving to be a powerful tool during the COVID-9 outbreak and its aftermath. Architects and supervisors can simply fly over the project site with the drone to collect information, perform inspections and also monitor. Drones have the ability to reach areas inaccessible to humans or considered to be areas at risk.
The combination of technology, collaborative types of contracts, and effective communication can reduce the risk of COVID-19 at project sites, while using PPE and social distancing. Homeowners and contractors should be made aware of all guidelines provided by local authorities – binding and non-binding. The recommendation uses all available preventive measures, but binding requirements can lead to legal consequences if not followed.