Martin McColl: akp Scotland makes post-COVID commitment to go digital



akp Scotland director Martin McColl details his firm’s commitment to adopt digital technologies as soon as the current coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Scotland’s construction industry is anxiously waiting to see what the next few weeks, months and years will hold after COVID-19.

This health crisis will be the catalyst for firms to adopt rafts of new and currently underutilised technologies to reduce footfall on construction sites and create a ‘new norm’, allowing traditionally on-site activities to become completed remotely.

akp Scotland has taken a view and a commitment as a business to implement new measures by working with global documentation experts Multivista, which specialises in capturing all aspects of construction projects from fit-out to large scale new build, using cutting-edge reality capture technology to meet all visual construction documentation needs.

The digital capture technologies that Multivista delivers will compliment social distancing and eliminate situations that before COVID-19 required numerous members of a project team to gather on-site for.

Site condition visibility using Multivista High-Frequency 360 Digital Progression capture will provide design team and supply chain with immersive digital coverage of our sites and reduce the need for non-key personnel to visit the site. 360 captures all the construction activity as it occurs on a weekly basis, just in time for progress meetings and reporting with project stakeholders.

akp Scotland director Martin McColl (left) and managing director Ian McEwan

It captures up-to-date construction activity intelligence to manage programmes accurately and effectively, valuation validation with supply chain and to the client and utilises an interactive 360 platform for speeding up RFIs and on-site queries.

akp sites, along with thousands of other construction sites, abruptly downed tools approximately six weeks ago. Multivista is able to provide us with detailed progression photography (2d or 360) documenting our sites, captured as they were left before COVID-19, allowing us to draw a commercial line in the sand and give transparency to our clients and their design teams and visibility on how programmes have been impacted.

We feel that utilising digital technology in construction isn’t just about Building Information Modelling (BIM), it’s a way of collaborating and co-ordinating the information involved in the duration of a construction project and in this instance akp are looking to reduce footfall on our sites, keeping people safe, safer than would be the case using more traditional techniques.

Whatever the outcome of this health crisis, the short term social distancing measures that will be required until such times as vaccinations are available will create obstacles in 2020 and beyond, and the industry will need to remain flexible if it is to flourish once again. Digitalisation in construction sites is not a question of if or when, it is happening now.

Workers may be more likely to adopt agile working for some years to come, but we do not see offices becoming any less relevant. I think we will see many more smart working facilities, such as the BCO Award-winning fit-out akp delivered for Registers of Scotland. Features such as touchless entry systems and layouts to support social distancing will see workplace designs adapting quickly to our new norm.

The commercial property sector has seen strong performance across the UK in recent years. We see advances such as touch-less technologies within buildings as one of the biggest areas of opportunity for Scottish construction firms.

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.


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