IT Brief UK - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
Construction industry's struggle with technology adoption, survey reveals
Wed, 29th Nov 2023

A new global survey reveals that over 70% of construction companies have been facing challenges in implementing new technologies, indicating a significant slowdown in digitalisation in the industry. Furthermore, an overwhelming 97% of construction professionals from around the globe predict an increase in digital investment within the next three years, particularly in construction project management software.

The report, conducted by PlanRadar, a leading firm in digital construction, real estate, and facilities management technology, collected opinions from over 1,300 construction professionals spanning 15 countries. These countries included prominent players in the industry such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, France, Germany, and Spain among others. The goal of the survey was to assess the current state of digitalisation in construction and real estate sectors while projecting its development over the next three years.

One of the report's major revelations was that 77% of participants found adopting new technologies challenging while only 28% of the companies surveyed reported relative ease in rolling out these digital solutions. The findings provide insight into the industry's struggle to transition into the digital age, with many companies still rooted in traditional attitudes and methods.

A significant part of the industry seems resistant to integrating technologies such as 3D printing, robotics and artificial intelligence, as indicated by their adoption rates of 20%, 18%, and 26% respectively. However, investment has been observed in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, which are favoured by 26% of the industry. The report highlights a sector at a crossroads between embracing advancements and holding on to its conventional roots.

Despite recent technological evolutions, the construction sector seems to have a long journey ahead in terms of digitalisation. The data suggests a slow shift towards integrating digital technologies, with two-thirds of professionals reporting no recent increase in hiring for digital roles within their organisations.

The survey has provided a clear view of investment trends within the industry. A substantial 77% of respondents predict an investment surge in construction and real estate management software in the near future. Furthermore, two-thirds of those surveyed expect an increase in digital solutions that support environmental goals, particularly in energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. Building Information Modelling (BIM) also emerges as a critical area for future investment.

Overcoming traditional thinking to adopt new technologies is a widespread challenge in the industry, with eight out of the fifteen surveyed countries identifying entrenched stakeholder perspectives as the primary obstacle to technological advancement. Moreover, fears regarding the return on investment (ROI) when adopting new technology are pronounced in the industry, especially amongst companies in Australia, UK, France, Austria, and Germany.

Despite the challenges, the report also reveals a generally optimistic outlook towards digital investment in the construction sector, with over half of the respondents expecting an increase in their digitalisation budget by at least 11%. However, this trend varies; the UK appears more reserved with only 46% of businesses expecting a similar level of investment increase, while countries like Australia, Hungary and Romania show an enthusiastic approach.

Leon Ward, of PlanRadar, shared his thoughts on the survey's findings, stating, "Embracing digital construction technologies isn't just about staying current; it's about paving the way for a future where construction projects are smarter, safer, and more sustainable. We’re excited to continue seeing increasing digitisation and widespread technology adoption for Australia in the coming years."