• David Heron

You should be working in Construction

Updated: Sep 3, 2019


If you’re thinking about where to start your career, or about a change, and you want to be at the cutting edge, where "digital", "innovation", "speed", "dynamism" are used to describe the industry, then you're probably not considering a role in Construction. But let’s be honest, if a few years ago I'd told you that taxi’s and Bed & Breakfast accommodation were going to change the world, people would have thought I was mad then too.

Construction is changing – and given it’s at or near the bottom of the pile when considering innovation, digital adoption, profitability, job security, sustainability, training, willingness to collaborate, and productivity improvement to name just a few – there are plenty of levers to pull.



The inefficiency has of course been there for a while, so these are not easy problems to solve. The difference now is that the conditions needed to drive the Transformation of Construction are beginning to arise in several markets: it’s a transformation that will be chaotic and uneven, that is transforming construction from very local to global, and which is creating a host of exciting opportunities that address Financial, Environmental and Social objectives:

  • Financial:  According to McKinseys, up to 16% of the USD10,000 billion spent on construction, a staggering USD 1,600 Billion, is wasted each year through inefficiency.  This is a huge opportunity for those that can solve even small parts of the problem.

  • Environment: Considering that almost 40% of global CO2 comes from buildings, and that there will be a 60% increase in floor space over the next 30 years then continuing to build the way we have is going to make things worse, faster than you can ban a plastic straw. Building right first time has a huge impact on our ability to control global CO2 levels both now and in the future.

  • Social: Providing the world with great buildings and infrastructure will improve the lives of millions of people both today and for the next 100 years.

For those who have been involved in construction for a long time, it’s easy to imagine that the changes will happen very very slowly. But, going back to where we started, the evidence is there that the Ubers and AirBNB’s of construction are already establishing themselves - and that they are just as disruptive. This presents a huge challenge for the incumbents who change little and only slowly, operate on thin margins, are unfamiliar with venturing and the speed of digital, and are reluctant to collaborate… leaving a wide-open space for the innovators and disruptors.


Over the next few weeks we will explore the ways in which Construction is Transforming, highlight some of the disruptions that are already occurring, and make the case that if you want to be involved in one of the most fundamental industrial transformations of the past 200 years, then the construction industry is where to look...



© 2020 David Heron

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