We’ve been operating for more than 100 years. Five generations have led this family business during that time, with skills passed down the line through the family and amongst our whole team. We have built an invaluable, extensive wealth of knowledge and instinct for construction, but that’s not the whole picture.

We’ve been operating for more than 100 years. Five generations have led this family business during that time, with skills passed down the line through the family and amongst our whole team. We have built an invaluable, extensive wealth of knowledge and instinct for construction, but that’s not the whole picture.

At Wareing Buildings, and across the whole construction sector, big developments happen with the rising use of new tech. This comes from outside of Wareing Buildings. It’s our job to stay abreast of the possibilities, to capitalise on them, to give our customers the best possible experience and outcome. Embracing new technology is crucial to our success, and we’ve never placed more importance on it than in recent years.

The general view of the construction industry is that it’s miles behind every other sector in terms of tech adoption. That’s mainly because it’s been a responsibility of individual businesses to integrate digital and innovative platforms into their delivery, rather than an industry-wide approach.

However, in the last 12 months the government has introduced a number of different incentives and initiatives which will encourage the market to catch up. Implementing and utilising them quickly will be critical if we want to create an enhanced future for the young people who might one day follow in our footsteps.

The Construction Sector Deal – which will see a £420m joint investment from the sector and the government into new technology and working techniques – aims to accelerate the shift in construction towards digital-led, value-outcome approach, rather than the tactical output-led attitude which is so deep rooted in the industry. It’s a style of working which will appeal greatly to the younger generation we simply must begin welcoming into construction. By transforming the sector’s productivity through the introduction of innovative technologies, we’ll better appeal to digital natives who live and breathe digital platforms. And in turn, we’ll build a more highly skilled workforce that looks beyond bricks and mortar as the basics of construction; instead, they will put imagination, ambition, and customer service central to creating the communities of the future.   

Getting there is easier said than done, of course. A resounding view across the sector is that if a process or method isn’t broken, don’t change it. But that’s part of the issue; the way we’ve been working is no longer fit for purpose. It is, essentially, ‘broken’. A fear-mongering around technology won’t engage the thousands of young people we’re relying on to help the industry achieve everything it’s capable of. Asking an exam-level student who’s grown up using an iPad for every part of his or her education to move into an industry that still works off freehand drawings is asking them to be something they aren’t; they’ll intuitively resist becoming part of the sector.

And so they should. Anyone under the age of 30 knows the benefits of having technology at the root of most life processes; from GPS to calorie tracking, from smart kitchen appliances to voice control, they know technology offers greater detail, less room for error, and faster processing compared to anything manual. They can teach all of us a thing or two, and we at Wareing Buildings are listening, loud and clear.

Though for many years we’ve employed digital technology and BIM at the design stage of our projects, the majority of our everyday activity – including the processing, tracking, and delivery of steel fabrication jobs – remained a largely manual process until late 2019. Over time, as young people joined the company, it fostered a disjointed, inefficient environment.

We knew we had to respond so set up a ‘Business Digitisation Team’ to identify, design and research key areas where the business could further embrace digitisation. In doing so, we identified that introducing Tekla Powerfab technology – a management software that enable more efficient management in fabrication environments – would transform how we work. Working with our current Trimble software packages to enable customers to access real-time information on the design, manufacture, and dispatch of products via a single online system would completely eradicate the need for paper drawings and put our team central to a new generation of construction practice.

At the start of 2020 we rolled the software out across our entire team, and within a short time, every single member of the team had remote access to all our data, with complete sight of every piece of metal we were fabricating, every drawing, every client quote. In the summer of 2020, we applied for funding to fully digitise our business and became the first in our industry to take up the entire Tekla suite of state-of-the-art technology on a permanent basis.

We’re projected to make savings in time and money as a result of using Tekla Powerfab. We’ll be reinvesting that freed up resource back into employee training, client relationships, and – vitally – our employer brand so that we’re making it clear to young people considering joining construction that we are a business that’s designed itself around the next generation’s needs. 

The Minecraft generation are capable of building brilliant things, so we must understand how to harness their innate talents and engage them with businesses that want to play the long game. By bringing them into the industry, we’ll not only benefit from their creativity but from their digital nuances which will see today’s construction technologies become even more intuitive and intelligent in their nature, well into the future. The world might be their oyster, but the benefit will be all ours.