Product innovation, complete solutions and adding value to productivity are key, according to DEWALT Engineered by Powers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented challenges for businesses, governments and organisations globally. In Australia, the construction industry remains resilient and essential, however, numerous factors have disrupted construction activities and reduced productivity. Businesses in the construction industry need to embrace innovation and offer solutions that will increase efficiency to remain relevant.

According to worldwide leaders of anchors and power tools, DEWALT® ENGINEERED BY POWERS™, many components have affected building efficiencies in 2020. “Jobsite productivity has been a huge challenge due to COVID-19. This is the result of several factors including the level of skilled trade able to work on-site at any time and the shift of resources due to social distancing restrictions. The supply and demand of tools and construction materials, job site phasing of either slower or instantaneous has made it challenging for all supply chains,” says George Maglaras, Sales & Technical Director, Stanley Black&Decker.

The road to recovery will require continual government and private investment to drive the various sectors of the market supported by the availability of finance. Shorter-term recovery will likely be dependent upon the federal and state governments’ expenditure and investment in essential infrastructure.

Economic activity generated by increased public sector investment in infrastructure will not only offset the downturn in private sector investment, but also create necessary momentum to entice private sector businesses to focus on important areas of commercial building like health and education.

“Looking at 2021, we’ll see the infrastructure journey continue to stimulate the economy and jobs which will in-turn support residential and commercial projects. In a 2021 COVID normal environment, we anticipate higher ‘work done’ volumes than 2020 and see an effort to play catch-up to reign-in the delays in construction timelines from 2020. Hopefully next year we will see the industry getting back on its feet and fast-tracking project starts that will serve the years ahead,” says Maglaras.

A substantial number of current and future infrastructure projects continue to underpin Australia’s construction market. The most significant of these already under construction include the $16.8 billion WestConnex project in Sydney, the $15.5 billion, Sydney Metro City and Southwest Project – Stage 2 of Sydney Metro, the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Rail Project (in conjunction with the private sector), and the $10 billion Melbourne-to-Brisbane Inland Rail.

For DEWALT® ENGINEERED BY POWERS™, 2021 will see the business continue to drive product innovation, complete solutions that are trade focused and add value to the jobsite productivity. “The 2021 construction trends will be on safety, productivity and a continuing shift in construction methods and systems such as an increase of modular construction and pre-fabricated building components, that support efficiency and productivity,” says Maglaras.

Increase in modular construction and pre-fab building

In the post-pandemic era, there will be a boost in modular construction and pre-fab building. The manufacturing process is suitable for this time period. Manufactured buildings are large and already promote low worker density with plenty of room for social distancing. Pre-fabricated buildings have the dual advantage of being affordable and potentially temporary, which works well in a time of uncertainty.

Product Innovation will reign

Innovations in time saving and fit-for-purpose building products and tools will be key. It is not uncommon for all mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) and HVAC trades to prefer using cast-in anchors over mechanical and chemical (post-fixed anchors) on an entire project. Cast-in anchors will become even more prevalent in the Australian market over the next few years. This is due to easy installation as once the cast-in anchor is exposed when formwork is stripped, simply insert the threaded rod into the base of the anchor.

Supply Chain Diversification

The construction industry is less reliant on global supply chains, but some projects will continue experiencing sourcing delays. In the medium-term supply chain breaks will recover as approvals and project starts, as the government stimulates investment which support the construction and renovation segment.

“From the outset of COVID, DEWALT has worked intensely with global supply chains to ensure we can achieve the best supply rates to support the industry with core products through these fluctuating times,” says Maglaras. “Suppliers will continue to play a major role in building businesses and influencing success and profitability. It is critical to use trusted suppliers, ensuring that a mutually beneficial relationship is established.”

Health and Safety

Safety is always a concern, and meeting compliance and transparency standards is an obligatory requirement when it comes to working on major construction projects. In the COVID-19 environment, health and safety is priority. Separation is a particularly difficult thing to achieve on a jobsite, where cooperation and teamwork are the norm. Anticipate smaller crews and the use of staggered shifts to keep job sites less crowded, and enhanced equipment and cleanliness protocols.

With construction work in Australia forecast to be $240 billion in 2021[1], DEWALT® ENGINEERED BY POWERS™ will meet the ever-growing demands of the construction industry to provide complete solutions that improve efficiencies, are code compliant and provide safer practice solutions with a focus on performance.

By: George Maglaras, Sales & Technical Director, Stanley Black&Decker

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[1] ABS and ACIF CFC