The construction industry faces challenges but some can be overcome if there is a willingness to adapt.

At a dinner hosted by international organisation RICS and the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS), there was discussion about how the industry can embrace innovation to improve production.

Moderator Natalie Alexander MRICS, PQS, MSc. asked, “why does the construction industry have a challenge with innovation?”

Citing the McKinsey report that suggested the global cost of low productivity in the construction sector is $1.6 trillion, she noted that lack of progress is blamed on the skilled worker shortage, over-regulation and taxes.

But Dr Diana Nada of Colliers International suggested that working with other industries could help ease the construction industry’s skills shortage.

“I come from Calgary and most of the time people want to concentrate on the oil and gas industry but the skills are transferable between industries,” she said. “There’s room to learn and we need to work together to improve the skillset of the labourers and other employees.”

There was also a call from Troy Galvin of PCL Agile, which manufactures modular units off-site, to embrace the efficiencies that off-site construction can bring.

“Get all the decisionmakers in the room to embrace offsite construction. It’s our duty to inform our clients that we can do it better and do it faster offsite,” said Galvin.

The panel agreed that the industry needs to adapt and innovate by being clear on the risks and opportunities of new ways of working.

 

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