As the world slowly begins to resurface following months of lockdown, we are now in a position to make some observations on how our industry coped with this pandemic.

Although some believe that we will return to some semblance of a new normal, others are talking about our life before coronavirus struck, and going back to the way things always were. For me, this is impossible. Our world has changed beyond our imaginations.

Social distancing and other protective measures have dominated the way we live, move, shop and ultimately build. We feel this will impact the construction industry in ways that we didn’t quite expect.

We have seen an uptake from many of our clients in the use of web-based communication tools and digital collaboration ore generally. This was something we felt that, regardless of coronavirus, innovative players were already starting to think about.

In the UK specifically, we have seen a rise in those registering for virtual classrooms and a stronger push for online material, something that previously would take some justification to achieve. We believe that the UK will come out of this stage stronger, more focused and more digitally aligned. Those who do revert back to the old ways will find it difficult to work in an already altered industry.

Our work is global, but we still work heavily in the UK and this is why we feel it is imperative to monitor and review how the implementation of BIM has moved forward in this region. There has been a huge opportunity for companies who were ahead financially to invest in upskilling and educating their employees, during a time where there has been less pressure on meeting deadlines and rushing through projects.

Although we like to say that we were not impacted, this would be a lie. More than four-fifths of firms in the UK reported a drop in business activity since March, with only 3% reporting an increase.

Residential and commercial construction sectors were the hardest hit, but civil engineering also declined at a record pace. Although we are now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, our industry has changed, and we need to be ready for when things do slowly return to normal in terms of construction activity.

The status of BIM in the UK is still ahead of other regions, but we must ensure we do not ‘drop the ball’. We must continue to work on supporting government and industry in a BIM-based approach.