Thursday 30th Mar, 2017

Australian Construction Industry Hungry for Digital Disruption

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The construction industry is ready to embrace change and deploy new technologies – but there’s still a long way to go to make innovation a reality, according to research released today, by Australian fintech startup Progressclaim.com.

Supported by the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF), ‘The Construction Industry Innovation & Productivity Report 2016’, surveyed more than 200 industry leaders and workers in construction and related fields and showed that 9/10 respondents believe it’s valuable to stay up to date with the latest technology in the workplace, and 9/10 agreed that increased productivity was a primary benefit of implementing new technologies.

But despite most feeling it’s important to work in a progressive and innovative organisation (82%), less than half of those surveyed (37%) believe their industry is an early adopter of new tech-focussed solutions.

In fact, a staggering number of respondents felt their workplace was not at all, or only slightly, advanced in their uptake of different technology types, with standout areas of concern including: drone technology (78%), 3D printing (77%) and BIM technology (54%) – all of which are poised to revolutionise the industry.

Even in areas such as IoT (the Internet of Things), desktop software and cloud technology, where respondents showed the most trust in their workplace’s abilities, the results were still low, with barely half indicating their workplace was somewhat advanced – 51%, 46% and 45%, respectively.

So, why the disparity between what the industry recognises as beneficial and what digital tools are actually on offer in the workplace?

Founder of Progressclaim.com and former construction CFO, Lincoln Easton said the findings revealed the issue doesn’t lie in convincing people about the value of technology, but can be attributed more to an absence of Big Picture vision.

“Increased productivity (90%), less time wastage (83%) and increased competitiveness (75%) ranked as the top three benefits of new technologies – but, as an industry, we are lacking long term vision, resources and expertise to roll out new solutions.

“A project-focussed approach, rather than long term thinking, is breeding a stagnant culture that’s stifling progression at pace or scale.

“Given the size and value of our industry, the potential for growth, if we harness suitable and sustainable technologies, is enormous. We must dismantle our perceptions of how technology fits in our workplace – and understanding the hurdles we face is the first step.

The findings uncovered key hurdles to be: a lack of expertise and resources that can be dedicated to manage the implementation (50%), a lack of standardisation across the industry (50%) and a reluctance to change current processes (39%).

“Our industry needs to understand where it sits on the journey to truly embracing and deploying new technologies, so we conducted this research with the aim of setting a benchmark and tracking progression in the future.

“While the hearts and minds of our industry are sold on innovation, these feelings aren’t yet translating through to action and change, which needs to be driven from the top down – it’s time for leaders in the construction industry to radically re-think attitudes and breakdown the hurdles to change.”