The whole pre-construction phase of a project can be finished remotely "Home Office", with modern IT innovations and processes there is no compelling reason to wait till the lock-downs will end.
Post COVID-19 pandemic, real estate developers and contractors can expect long paperwork approval time and waiting to resume execution on site. This includes building design permits with the local authority office, as well as loan applications and financial institutions. However, as most AEC professionals work remotely, approval applications and documentation can be completed by submitting and online applications with digital formats. So, with today's new IT strategies and processes in AEC there is no compelling reason to wait until the gaps are closed.
The entire pre-construction phase of a project can be eliminated remotely from planning and design planning, taking work permits from the local building authority. Architectural, structural, and MEPs can take advantage of BIM Services with BIM Coordination Services from an experienced firm to carry out the plans so that construction can begin once the pandemic ends. Designers can use lockdown to request proposals (RFPs) and agreements. It may also be very important turning point to change attitudes such as specifications, spending plans, and cutoff times.
"Work from Home" is a very common practice in previous years. The proliferation of powerful smartphones such as computers, coupled with the fast Internet connection and technology that enables cloud storage and SaaS (Software as a service), has allowed remote work to increase by almost 400% since 2010.
While COVID-19 has caused a significant number of challenges, remote work can also have multiple long-term advantages, from cost savings to better work-life flexibility if the right software and cloud-based tools are in place to foster effective firm and project management. It’s this type of positivity and preparedness that will see us through these difficult times.
Virtual Big Room concept can be a better solution, all the stakeholders can connect with each other virtually, anyone can take control, share their screen, draw on the screen, weigh in on an issue, or share a new idea as if we are in the same room. Even team members who would normally be timid to pick up a pencil and draw in a room full of stakeholders have opened up to this new way of collaborating. It’s almost as if the virtual barrier (or lack thereof) has leveled the playing field even more.
Pre-pandemic, we spent a lot of time in transit—often going to project sites for weeks at a time to facilitate user workshops, client meetings and design coordination meetings. Less travel (well, no travel really) in the time of COVID-19 has not only reduced our carbon footprint, it has resulted in newfound productivity and efficiency. Many of us are finding that we are more productive and focused at home, with all that time back that was previously spent in transit. Plus, we can do two things at once—listening in on meetings while simultaneously advancing the design and the drawings.
While COVID-19 may have upended our established version of the Big Room, it has also paved the way for a new-and-improved model of collaboration. Most importantly, it has proven that we do not always need to physically be in the Big Room together to deliver the best possible projects.