Contractors are “behind the curve” on technology according to new research

Report by Construction Enquirer

The vast majority of construction companies are “followers not leaders” when it comes to technology.

A survey by accountants KPMG found only 8% of senior construction executives ranked their companies as “cutting edge technology visionaries,”.

Around two thirds described themselves as “industry followers” or “behind the curve”, when it comes to technology.

Richard Threlfall, UK head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG, said: “The survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most businesses content to follow, rather than lead.

“Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all.

“Projects around the world are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex, and with complexity comes risk. Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualisation have enormous potential to speed up project delivery, reduce costs and improve safety.”

The survey also found that construction companies are not taking full advantage of the vast volumes of data at their fingertips.

Almost two-thirds of those surveyed don’t use advanced data analytics for project-related estimation and performance monitoring.

Only a quarter of respondents said they are able to ‘push one button’ to get all their project information.

Even fewer claim to have a single, integrated project management information system across the enterprise.

Threlfall said: “Integrated, real-time project reporting is still a myth, rather than a reality for most.

“That’s largely because firms tend to use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored and disconnected, which severely compromises their effectiveness.”

A significant majority of respondents employ remote monitoring for projects sites but less than 30% say they make use of mobile devices routinely on all their projects, while a similar proportion don’t use mobile platforms at all.

Only a third say they’re employing robotics and automation.

Threlfall added: “Harnessing the true potential of technology requires construction companies and project owners to get clearer about their technology vision and strategy.

“The rapidly evolving infrastructure challenges of the next decade demands both owners and engineering and construction firms embrace technology more strategically and at a far more rapid pace than in the past.”