Will digital technology be the game changer for the construction industry?
Between government budget cut announcements, questions surrounding highways maintenance and housing backlogs, as well as the Carillion collapse, the construction industry has made news headlines a lot, lately.
There are calls for improvements in all areas of the industry from better procurement processes through to improving productivity, skills training and construction safety. The question is; will digital technology be the golden goose the industry needs to solve its problems? And can it be leveraged as a tool to make construction more efficient and effective?
Getting ahead or being left behind?
Digital technology is not new to the industry and benefits have already been demonstrated by early adopters. Those choosing to ignore it and go about business as usual, might well find themselves being left out in the cold when it comes to winning new contracts. Investors are well aware of the benefits that technology can offer and will be much more likely to back projects where technology assures a better return on investment.
What technologies will impact which areas of the construction industry?
The construction industry is generally is not known for productivity and efficiency and technology offers several tools to change this:
- Data analytics
Collecting and analyzing data from past projects can help construction companies improve productivity and efficiency. By evaluating material costs and project timelines, data patterns can be mapped which will contribute to establishing best practice and improving productivity in future projects.
- Cloud collaboration
Cloud platforms provide a convenient and efficient way to share information and collaborate with joint venture partners and subcontractors. With a central information platform it becomes easier to track processes and report on project progress as well as share relevant information with associated parties.
Building Information Modelling is becoming an essential part of construction management and has already become widely adopted by many main contractors. Level 2 BIM is becoming a requirement with major tenders as it’s proven to improve productivity and reduce operational costs. As technology advances more companies may expand their capabilities to include virtual reality and augmented reality to sell project concepts, and scanning and digital surveying technology to report on compliance and safety mechanisms.
The take home is that there are opportunities to use technology to overcome traditional industry stumbling blocks and in the process drive the industry to an improved level of efficiency and profitability. Will you be one of the key role players to drive the change that’s needed?