Jimmy Close, MiTek Business Development Director, looks at the impact of Covid on the UK housing sector and how it has made home working the norm – benefits of which can be seen by companies working with MiTek’s Dedicated Services team.
The rise of virtual working in the UK & Irish housing sector
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to emerge from the impact of Covid-19 is the way it looks as if it will change our working practices forever.
Working from home has become the accepted way of doing business for almost half of British workers, with even the largest commercial operations adjusting their processes to reflect the need to continue to serve their customers while keeping their employees Covid-safe.
As we slowly emerge into what we hope will become a post-Covid world, it seems unlikely that workers will return to full time office-based roles in the same numbers as before.
The building sector is no different. While statistics show that building companies saw the largest percentage of workers returning to work after being furloughed, the majority of these returned not to offices, but to construction sites.
We’ve all learned how it’s possible to be effective and productive when home working, discovering the range of online tools – from Zoom conference calls and MS Teams shared documents, through to chat apps and resources like Skype – that make virtual working practical and straightforward.
Flexible, skilled resource when you need it
For the house building sector, it has also thrown a renewed focus on the benefits of modern methods of construction (MMC), where components like our Posi-Joist flooring system (metal web) can be manufactured and made-to-measure off site in factories where social distancing can be safely maintained, and client orders can continue to be produced.
It’s not just MMC that has an important role to play in helping deliver the new homes that are desperately needed. For companies struggling to play catch-up with design and build projects, access our dedicated services can make a real difference too.
Traditionally, we’ve specialised in the development of software solutions for structural timber engineering and the provision of steel connector products for floor and roofing systems (Posi-Joist), but increasingly, we’re finding customers really value what we call our Dedicated Services.
This unique option, covering estimating, design and drafting services, is a really practical way of supporting housebuilders, developers and architects. You can grow your team and bring in new team members as you need them, enabling you to scale up as your demand increases. Essentially, they become an integrated part of your team, working solely for you and your business.
It reduces the need to retain extra expensive office space, purchase the range of CAD and software programs needed for projects or recruit contractors with exactly the right skills, project by project.
A dedicated service such as ours gives companies the flexibility they need while enabling them to keep a sharp eye on costs during these uncertain business times. With our service, and team of over 2000 experts you can effectively create an extension of their own workforce to produce bespoke construction solutions. We cover the costs of hiring, training, and overheads. You simply provide the work to be completed.
Design, drafting, and estimating services
It’s a service we’ve been offering to other markets for more than a decade and introduced to customers in the UK and Ireland two years ago. We’ve seen it come into its own as companies seek to emerge from lockdown and draw on the tailored expertise we offer without adding to their overheads.
This includes drafting services for housebuilders and developers, which caters for all industry drafting requirements from 2D plans, detailing, base plans, to estimating and converting 2D plans to 3D Revit and laborious amendment work on existing house types.
Our design and engineering team is responsible for the design of roof trusses, floor trusses, Posi-Joist and I-Joist systems and also handles timber frame designs along with any other design requirement regarding timber engineering.
While our ‘full house’ estimating, and take-off team handles kitchen designs and offers the skill sets for steel drafting, plasterboard take-off, window and door take-off, roof and bathroom tiles, wardrobes and related components.
Being able to call on all these desktop-based skills could be just what the housebuilding sector needs to adapt and grow as we emerge from the constraints of lockdown and embrace new ways of working.