February 15, 2021 real estate

Innovation to play vital role in construction sector, says expert


This year innovation will play a vital role in building sector - from the use of BIM, which greatly increases accuracy in the design phase of a project, through to the use of hardware on site - in addition to collaboration and sustainability, said Alec, one of the UAE’s most diversified construction groups, while outlining the key trends expected to drive the industry during the year ahead.

From a high-level approach, Alec believes that consolidating ideas and resources is a far more effective approach to R&D, not only helping to spread initial investment risk, but to ensure the input of as many industry specialists as possible.

In partnering with like-minded organizations, leading consultancies, tech companies, start-ups, universities and supply chains, great leaps can be made that help to change entire processes on site.

A great example of this being the collaboration between ALEC and Hilti, which yielded the region’s first autonomous drilling robot. Since its implementation, site teams have reported significant improvements in productivity thanks to the robot’s ability to follow digital plans, while alleviating site teams from the strenuous work of overhead drilling, allowing them to upskill and operate the robot itself.

Commenting on the topic, Alec CEO Kez Taylor said: 'While the pandemic has clearly caused many industries around the world to change tack, the prevailing construction trends are ultimately ones that were long overdue prior to the challenges of 2020.'

'Today, we stand in a unique position to transform our industry into a healthy ecosystem, where all stakeholders are able to succeed by utilising the latest technology and a collaborative approach,' he stated.

'While the word itself has become a platitude in the lexicon of corporates for illustrating the adoption of progressive tools and technologies, the arrival and implementation of innovation within the construction industry has become a game-changer in terms of reducing risk while increasing efficiency,' he added.

Whether from the use of BIM, which greatly increases accuracy in the design phase of a project, through to the use of hardware on site, innovation‘s importance will only increase in the years ahead and will be a decisive factor in the ongoing success of industry stakeholders.

At ALEC, its use of the latest design software has meant that potential issues are flagged in the early stages of a project, resulting in a significant saving of time, cost and resources in later stages.

Collaboration/ Enhanced communication

In addition to collaborating on innovative new ideas and products, Alec believes a fundamental increase in communication between stakeholders will greatly improve project processes and delivery.

In overhauling the existing model of fragmentation from planning to delivery, Alec is in the process of creating a new platform that involves all key stakeholders from the very beginning of a project.

Not only does this allow for any potential issues to be flagged at the earliest opportunity, it also promotes a collective approach towards project delivery as opposed to each party working as sole agents.

Green Technology/ Sustainable Best Practices

While more of a subcategory of innovation, Alec believes the utilisation of green technologies will be a crucial factor towards ensuring the sustainable development and progress of the construction industry.

Manufacturers, building contractors and property developers must make environmentally conscious decisions at each level of the supply chain to meet demand, while promoting a greater interest in clean energies and resources.

Under this category, Alec has identified the use of renewable energy, environmentally sustainable materials and the sustainable management of waste as top priorities.

Since its establishment, Alec has focused on finding new ways to ensure the implementation of sustainable energy consumption, not only during the construction phase of a project, but also during its lifecycle.

Similar to the collaboration with Hilti, it had signed an agreement with Azelio in Q3 2020 to establish a renewable energy project site in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, thereby harnessing the abundant energy of the sun to power Masdar’s product portfolio.

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