The construction industry is accelerating digital transformation and “unlocking the value of data” to improve decision making visibility, security, client experience and sustainability, in spite of economic uncertainty.
That’s according to the How We Build Now report from Procore, provider of construction management software, which shows three quarters of construction leaders have been prompted by the state of the economy and industry volatility to increase investment in digital transformation in the past three to six months.
The report also shows 25% predict they could save money if data could be more efficiently captured and integrated, which goes hand in hand with almost three in ten decision makers in the UK estimating between 26% and 50% of a typical project’s time is taken up with re-work or rectifying mistakes.
In addition, 62% of UK and Irish construction leaders say they will require ways to actively manage or track carbon emissions on their projects over the next two years.
The report data comes from a survey of more than 200 decision makers across the UK and Ireland, which examined digital maturity and the challenges and opportunities facing the industry as they seek to drive productivity, profit and performance.
It showed one in two (49%) businesses expect the number of projects to increase by up to 20% in the next 12 months, and 56% claim they are somewhat confident in market conditions for the year ahead.
Brandon Oliveri-O'Connor, vice president of EMEA at Procore said: “Against persistent headwinds in the construction sector globally, UK and Irish decision makers continue to show resilience and adaptability to build strategies for long-term success.
“Accelerating digital transformation and unlocking the value of data to improve decision-making, visibility, security, client experience, as well as sustainability, will not only improve the industry’s efficiency and bottom line today but increase its ability to navigate unforeseen challenges and expectations tomorrow.”
He adds that in an environment where “the pressures firms face come from the bottom line rather than the top” the scene is set for technology to play a greater role in driving the industry forward.
“This is backed up by almost half (44%) saying they plan to introduce construction management platforms into their business in the next 12 months,” says Oliveri-O’Connor.
The report suggests the construction sector is recognising the transformative power of technology, as 12% of respondents consider themselves to be a digital-first business and 44% say they are well on the way towards digital transformation, while the rest are “just starting out” on this journey.
The report also looked at firms’ attitudes to recruitment, with only 49% of those surveyed saying they are somewhat confident in the skill sets of the construction workforce.
The most frequent concerns around the quality and/or availability of talent were ‘too much competition from other construction firms’, ‘candidates being unwilling to work in all the locations/sites required’ and ‘candidates being unwilling to upskill or reskill’.
With construction in both the UK & Ireland having ambitious carbon-reduction targets, over half (51%) of respondents follow the ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) accreditation today, while 34% plan to in the next 12 months.
The majority (86%) also said that decarbonisation will be an important challenge for them in the next three years.
While over a third (33%) of surveyed construction firms are already actively tracking carbon emissions on projects, a further 35% say it is in their plan in the year ahead.
One of the main reasons firms are looking to improve capturing, integrating, and standardising data from different parts of their business is to drive their sustainability goals.