Dear SFPE Europe members,
This column is being written in unprecedented times: countries (partly or fully) in lock-down due to a virus. The medical sector is frantically working to produce medicine but would appear to be taken by surprise. How this will finally play out is written in the stars, but it would appear that there will be permanent effects on how our business will be run, and how we collaborate… Of course, our thoughts are with the victims, as well as with the governments that need to make difficult decisions with far reaching consequences.
Our societies do not completely stop however, even in lock-down. We can still do some work, thanks to developments in communication technology, and we can meet e.g. through videoconferencing. Also, in fire engineering projects, developments in BIM help us to exchange key documents and mitigate some of the damage. But still there are limits to what can be achieved virtually … Multi-disciplinary project teams still require face to face meetings, to allow for proper debate and exchange of argumentation. In Europe, we are blessed with a variety of languages and cultures, impacting how to communicate and collaborate, that are best appreciated in physical meetings.
There will be a situation sooner or later that the lockdowns are softened and disappear, and the medical sector declares victory over the virus. When that happens, we may return to a new reality, where work awaits us. And where we can meet up again and shake hands, for instance at a forthcoming SFPE Europe conference.
The construction sector will then have experienced a major setback, as will the entire economy. But the housing problems and other challenges in the construction sector such as properly implementing the Green deal will remain and will provide the opportunities for the sector to flourish again.
Hope and trust to see you soon, safe healthy and in good shape. Hang in there!
SFPE Europe Council Chair