“Are we ready to hang our hard hats and work from our devices of choice from anywhere ? “.

Ms Sethebe Manake ;Vantage Properties (twitter image)

The built environment was one of the hardest hit sectors during the Lockdown period in Botswana from the 2nd of April 2020 to mid-May. Projects started on a slow path but have now moved on to full swing though time will tell the impact of this down time. A webinar was sponsored by REAC and Minnacle academy termed – Built Environment post COVID-19; Driving transformational change and opportunities. Sithabile Mathe  who is a practicing architect for her company Moralo Designs and chair of  Botswana Housing Corporation Board was moderator.

On the webinar was a panelist Ms  Sethebe Manake of  Vantage properties. She spoke about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Economic crisis as well as digital and broader technology revolution. She started by explaining how all these factors she will be discussing are  more relevant than ever due to the current pandemic .

“4IR is where we are because its charecterised by use of technology. This was way before Covid-19 and now we have been forced to recognise the value of tech and its capability. Especially now traditional methods that are not efficient can be foregone. For me the 4IR is now,” she said.

 She went on to explain how in the built environment we have to view challenges and identify existing solutions relevant today in our environment. An example of challenges faced in the built environment are time, money and quality. Built environment therefore has a role to come up with solutions digitally with 4IR. She goes on to argue that; do we still need 6 weeks for plans to be approved when there are so many collaboration tools with comments and continuous communication online. She talked about 3D printing for design fluidity, tours using VR and Augmented reality. Even calculating risk and large data using artificial intelligence and machine learning to duplicate our experiences and recreating our production levels by 1000 factor with more accuracy and consistency than humans. Vantage properties has a valuation platform which is a well-received industry solution. Sithabile emphasized that, “Locally we can come up with local solutions”.

It’s a new season that requires a new way of thinking. People are no longer a part of production but benefactors of production. Work was created as essential to provide basic needs. If we use tech for work/production it allows us to live a life not anchored on work. WHAT WILL CONTINUE TO BE IMPORTANT IS THE VALUE WE PUT THE NEXT PERSON. Humanity needs to realise that its better when we are working together than competing. Its time should now to look for solutions. Yes as a way forward economies will change, money will change and may be digital but we will survive.

“The future of 4IR for built environment will possibly look at green building since we will be spending more time at home, faster development time lines, mindful building and  informed innovation.With technology you have information in your hands and with information comes unlimited possibilities. Are we ready to hang our hard heads and work from our devices of choice from anywhere? ,” she quizzed.

In the world 3yrs ago it was unfathomable to work 4 hours a day but having worked these 40 days at home it’s now a reality. Embrace change and live our lives.

Mma Sithabile Mathe  concluded by haring her own sentiments how people talked about Autocad having to replace Architects but today there is still co-existence so she amplified on Manake’s  note not of not fearing change .

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