By Ben Breen
The construction industry is traditionally a lot more reliant on human labour, even today and even in technologically advanced economies like Singapore. This human factor means the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic has been tremendous and the industry will continue to remain vulnerable to recurring infection waves.
Project management is even more crucial under these circumstances. We are seeing more interest for and awareness of project management training from the construction industry in Asia Pacific, at a time when effective project managers are needed more than ever to not just manage the safe movement of manpower, but the movement of materials and machinery on-site and across borders when supply lines are disrupted.
BECOMING A GYMNASTIC ENTERPRISE
More importantly, attitudes towards project management for construction have changed and are likely changed for good. Some major global trends are impacting projects around the world, especially large-scale construction projects. The pandemic has only accelerated these trends. At the same time, swelling population growth in urban centres around the globe continues to drive demand for roads, ports, housing, facilities and more.
Ben Breen is Managing Director, Asia Pacific, and Head of Global Construction at Project Management Institute, where he oversees business development and represent the chapters in the region, as well as spearheads the Construction Working Group. Originally from Australia, he moved to Singapore in 1994 and has since supported or led hundreds of projects including iconic developments such as Marina Bay Sands and the award-winning Suntec Convention Centre. Previously, Breen served as Managing Director, South East Asia at Space Matrix Design Consultants Pte Ltd, Singapore, where he led the company’s digital transformation—moving it to the forefront of digital technology for interior design and building firms.