Evolving businesses

BY: Baraq Hadi, Vice President – Middle East at Oracle Construction and Engineering

Industry leaders anticipate greater role of digitalisation in the construction and engineering sectors in the post-covid world. Baraq Hadi explains how.

  1. How has Covid-19 changed the outlook for projects in the Middle East?

The industry is still coming to terms with what’s happened before, what is happening now, and what might happen in the future. Here is what we are seeing and where we may be headed next:

■ A slowdown in private sector projects as the industry navigates fallout from the pandemic

■ Continued activity for mega projects in Saudi Arabia such as Neom, Red Sea Development, Qiddiya and others

■ Increase in government spending on infrastructure projects to stimulate economies in the GCC. In, Egypt we’ve seen projects that may have been on hold or planned prior to Covid-19 are now seen as key to stimulating both the industry and the overall economy

  1. How should the projects market respond to the challenges of Covid-19?

From conversations with our customers and industry observers, we are already seeing responses to the challenges the industry faces such as:

■ Greater emphasis on collaboration— being able to share information across multiple teams remotely

■ There is a growing interest in identifying processes that can be performed away from the physical site to minimise the number of people that need to be on site at any one time. Perhaps most critical is the need for robust and considered scheduling of activities that have to be performed on site, again to reduce physical contact and ensure social distancing

■ Methodologies such as modular construction and pre-fabrication are seeing greater interest as project leaders look at ways to move construction processes off site. This may also see a rise in the use of technologies such as 3D printing

■ For transparency/visibility, there is interest in the use of employer’s information requirements (EIR) and other ways to capture and share data throughout the lifecycle of a project. These can benefit strategic decision-making and provide more control as projects progress

 

  1. How has Covid-19 affected technology providers such as Oracle?

Oracle Construction and Engineering, our partners, and other technology providers offer solutions that really support the new way that construction businesses want to work as they adapt and evolve their businesses as a result of the pandemic.

We are seeing an acceleration of digital transformation as organisations realise the need to digitise information and have it available to project participants when and, increasingly, where they need it.

Moreover, project leaders are willing to innovate and try new approaches to construction to evolve their practices and processes, as opposed to working the same way they did before the pandemic.

In lieu of on-site inspections, construction companies have begun embracing a variety of remote visual tools—including drones, laser scanning, light detection and ranging technology (LiDAR) —to remotely monitor the progress, quality and security of their projects.

Construction companies are increasingly finding success with artificial intelligence (AI) in improving jobsite safety and mitigating risk when on-site inspections are necessary. Driving that is AI’s ability to provide more safety coverage without sending additional people to the site— creating automated reports to help with mitigation plans and documentation.

We are also seeing a greater application of sensor technology that can alert workers when they come to close to one another. These proximity alarms will gradually change and improve the habits of workers to practice safe social distancing.

Where positive Covid-19 results exist, the ability to track workers’ activity (ie. where they have been and who they have worked near) can help mitigate exposure.

  1. What will be the long-term impact of this slowdown?

With any situation, it is important to learn and identify better ways of working to protect employees and support the needs of citizens. As we come out of this crisis, I am confident we will see positive new ways of working and operating from construction businesses.

I believe collaboration will improve between teams through the greater use of cloud solutions to avoid people needing to be on site and also to aid transparency across a project.

We will see more focus on data requirements agreements such as EIRs as businesses look to data to help shape strategic and tactical decisions on projects.

The design work and decisions on the types of materials used on a project will be undertaken more efficiently and potentially earlier in the construction process to have greater visibility into ow the project is likely to progress but also to benefit from sustainable construction practices.

  1. What is your outlook for construction and engineering in the Middle East in the coming years?

For the short term, we believe that infrastructure and residential projects will drive the industry forward with commercial projects where activity has slowed taking a little more time to recover.

Digital transformation within construction businesses will accelerate as businesses recognise the value of collaboration, visibility and construction innovations as well as a greater emphasis on reducing the number of people on site and processes being undertaken on site.

Productivity and efficiency will continue to be important for construction projects, but sustainable construction, EIRs, and data collection/usage will increase in focus.

  1. What will the role of digitalisation be moving ahead?

It has often been reported that the construction industry is one of the slowest to adapt to using technology, but recent challenges may well be changing that.

We are seeing a rapid acceleration in terms of the acceptance and willingness to embrace digitisation.

Digitisation provides greater control and project continuity for owners and general contractors as they look to increase the visibility into projects by having information captured in one easily accessible cloud space. This also helps to avoid issues around any future slowdowns, as well as the loss of project intelligence that is not shared with wider teams.

The capturing and sharing of project data and information is critical for the industry to benefit from strategic decision-making. This will help to overcome both the traditional challenges of low productivity, project overspends and project delays, as well as new challenges related to site safety and sustainability.

Also, with information that is not digitised, important project knowledge can be lost from a changeover of employees, such as during a project halt. The potential dramatic productivity impact from such loss underscores the need to effectively capture, centralise and manage data across teams. That’s the foundation for a successful project today.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software  and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery  with proven solutions for project controlsconstruction schedulingportfolio managementBIM/CDEconstruction payment management, and more.

 

Oracle Logo

Oracle whitepaper cover

Download our free report: THE FUTURE OF PROJECT DELIVERY: Technology trends shaping construction and engineering in the Middle East

With some $3.5tn of major projects planned across the Mena region, the pipeline of future projects is bigger than the $3.1tn combined value of all of the project contracts awarded in the region since 2004. So the potential for the region’s incredible growth story to continue is immense. However, unlocking that opportunity depends entirely on the ability of the region’s projects industry to deliver its digital transformation.

Learn more about this in our latest report including contributions from ADNOC Group, Miral, Ma’aden, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA)), AECOM, just to name a few.

Oracle Logo

With some $3.5tn of major projects planned across the Mena region, the pipeline of future projects is bigger than the $3.1tn combined value of all of the project contracts awarded in the region since 2004. So the potential for the region’s incredible growth story to continue is immense. However, unlocking that opportunity depends entirely on the ability of the region’s projects industry to deliver its digital transformation.

Learn more about this in our latest report including contributions from ADNOC Group, Miral, Ma’aden, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA)), AECOM, just to name a few.

Privacy Policy.
Additional details regarding Oracle’s collection and use of your personal information,
including information about access, retention, rectification, deletion, security, cross-border
transfers and other topics, is available in the
Oracle Privacy Policy.

Oracle values your privacy and will treat the information we collect from you as a result of your
registration in accordance with the Oracle Privacy Policy, which is located here
Oracle utilizes a third party registration company to manage registration and logistical activities for
this program.’