MiTek brings digital construction services to South Africa
Hennie Viljoen, Marketing Manager, MiTek South Africa takes a look at the impact of working from home (WFH) in the SA construction sector and how companies working with MiTek’s Dedicated Services team are using it to their advantage…
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to emerge from the last year is the way that is has changed working practices around the world forever.
Among the trends that a MacKinsey report says are here to stay for the long term, are working from home. This has become the accepted way of doing business for many South Africans, with a recent survey suggesting around 40% of workers would like to continue working from home, and a further 27% saying they’d like to work remotely for at least half the time.
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. For the construction sector, as for many others, there is likely to be a reduction in the requirement for office space and a continued reliance on drawing on people’s skills and expertise remotely – with the help of increasing digitalisation.
Whether it’s addressing the challenges of safely logging staff in on site, processing materials, creating 3D walkthroughs of plans or handling waste, digital solutions are providing practical ways forward, and are, by all accounts here to stay.
Flexible, skilled resource when you need it
For the house building sector, the pandemic has also thrown a renewed focus on the benefits of modern methods of construction (MMC), with components like MiTek’s Posi-Joist flooring system (metal web) being 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 the South African government’s infrastructure investment programme, launched last year, is seeking. For companies struggling to play catch-up with Covid-delayed design and build projects, access to MiTek’s 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, 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. It enables developers to grow their teams and bring in new members as they’re needed. This means they can scale up as demand increases. Essentially, our people become an integrated part of the developer’s team, working solely for them and their business.
It reduces the need to both retain extra expensive office space and purchase the considerable range of CAD and software programs needed for projects. It also lessens the need to 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 more than 2,000 experts, they can effectively create an extension of their own workforce to produce bespoke construction solutions. We cover the costs of hiring, training, and overheads. They simply provide the work to be completed.
Design, drafting, and estimating services
We’ve been offering Dedicated Services to a range of markets for some time, and have seen the service 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, catering for all industry drafting requirements from 2D plans, detailing, base plans, to estimating and converting 2D plans to 3D Revit and taking on the laborious amendment work on existing house types.
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 South African housebuilding sector needs to adapt and grow as the nation emerges from the constraints of lockdown and embraces new ways of working.