The impact of Covid 19 and proposed solutions for the Built and Construction Industry
In this article I will be addressing, as the title would suggest, how the corona virus and the pandemic has affected both modern architecture and possible solutions as to how these said problems may be addressed. Due to the length restriction of this article, I will mainly focus on 3 key issues that I have seen and possible solutions.
One of the first key issues that may easily be seen is that the coronavirus may in fact be harming not only people but the buildings that surround us every day. Water that sits in the pipes of empty offices/buildings/gyms could potentially have dangerous side effects due to the fact that the water is not flowing. This would lead to organisms and chemicals which are likely to build up in the plumbing systems. As we know many parts of the world are constantly shifting in between a locked down state and a state where only some activities may resume, and this in the long-term is likely to affect everyone as the water could possibly accumulate unsafe levels of lead and copper which can thus lead to learning disabilities, cardiovascular effects, nausea and diarrhoea.
Possible solution; One of the obvious solutions would be to constantly have someone refresh the water at least weekly in buildings that are not being used often, and although this may seem rather obvious and blunt, this is more likely than not the best solution. Companies with buildings not being used often should appoint a single person (so as to limit movement from everyone) to at least weekly ‘flush out’ the water. This would save the companies of Botswana money as even though it is a preventative measure, any controls to correct this would be far too expensive and too time consuming as of right now to emplace.
Next, one of the main problems being faced with regards to this pandemic is a shortage of rooms such as (ICU units) and hospital space. This is a problem being faced globally by almost every country and as the cases are increasingly rapidly, it is important to note possible ways that countries could try and overcome this problem. I will explicitly state that there are more problems being faced in the medical field currently due to this pandemic, such as a shortage in staffing, however for the purposes of this article, I will merely focus on the ‘built and construction’ problems and possible solutions to what many countries are facing.
Possible solution; many other countries are currently using shipping containers as ICU units for people infected with the coronavirus. And although this idea may possibly seem absurd at the start, it comes with its own set of great advantages. The key advantage that I have seen is that these ‘pods’ could be designed in such a manner that lowers the chances of medical staff becoming infected or ill from breathing the contaminated air. These ‘pods’ would contain an inflatable corridors that could be used as storage units all while using a “biocontainment” fan, which is basically a fan that may be used to remove the infectious particles. As well as these ‘pods’ could possibly have a glass window that could allow visitors to get closer to their loved ones without them actually being endangered.
Thirdly, there is a risk on the supply of materials needed for the construction of buildings. Most materials are sourced from China, however due to current shipping constraints, it is possible that companies will not obtain the various materials and this will lead to a rather large unavailability of construction materials. A further worry is that a few European countries (such as Italy) have halted their production on these said materials and only foresee a considerable passage of time before production recommences. This further encourages the possibility if a constraint on construction material available.
Possible solution; if certain materials of good quality are only obtainable from the countries stated above then construction firms must only focus on critical building materials from these above mentioned countries. All materials may not be available as of right now and thus companies must focus on the materials that are essential, taking into account time constraints of obtaining these materials (about 10- 12 weeks). Companies must also obtain other materials that do not need to be from the above stated countries, from possibly different suppliers that may be closer, such as in the case of Botswana, they may obtain certain materials from South Africa. And finally construction companies must also constantly be in touch with suppliers for as soon as things return to how they once were, there will likely be a rush in demand of construction materials, and thus companies must engage with suppliers on potential materials from as early as possible.
The above points are merely scratching the surface of problems that are faced by the ‘Built and Construction Industry’, however due to the word limit; I will end my article in stating that although there are many problems that we are currently facing, we must focus on the solutions available and not on the problems. Thank you Dilwana for this opportunity, and thank you for considering me as a candidate.
(Word count 862)
- Article title: The coronavirus pandemic might make buildings sick, too
Website title: The Conversation
- Article title: Inside the COVID-19 hospital built from a shipping container
Website title: World Economic Forum
- Article title: The Impact of COVID-19 on Building Materials | GEP
Website title: Gep.com
Written by: Kago Franklin Gaotlhobogwe