New findings from market research firm, ACA Research, commissioned by construction project management software company, Procore Technologies Inc., display a positive outlook for technology’s impact on the Australian construction industry while highlighting a concern for a widening skills gap.
The report, ‘How We Build Now – Tracking Technology in Construction 2019’, states that 86 per cent of construction industry respondents think increasing technology usage is an important means of improving productivity, but an existing skills gap could prove to be an issue as 92 per cent of respondents have stated that upskilling the workforce is equally important.
The report found that construction companies with more than ten employees are generally optimistic, expecting continued growth and more lucrative projects throughout 2019.
The rising cost of raw materials and equipment is the most significant challenge for this outlook, while other common pain points include project productivity, efficiency, and information technology.
Overall, small construction businesses (10-99 employees) have significant concerns relating to staff management, however, they are agile and adaptable when it comes to adopting technology and developing technical skills.
Meanwhile, medium businesses (100-499 employees) have more confidence in the year ahead yet struggle with efficiencies and are somewhat complacent when it comes to technology adoption and skills development.
The report found that large businesses (over 500 employees) are expected to continue to lead the charge, adopting new technologies to drive productivity and revenue and seeking a broad range of skills including data analytics and comfort with digital technology to support this.
Key findings from the report include:
- Business outlook: 64 per cent of respondents feel confident about building and construction industry business conditions in 2019, with 22 per cent expecting an increase in the value of their projects.
- Efficiency and productivity: The Australian construction industry spends 12 per cent of its time on re-work. Small (17 per cent) and medium (16 per cent) sized businesses spend more time on re-work than large (10 per cent) businesses. Meanwhile, almost 50 per cent of businesses believe improving project management skills is essential to increasing productivity.
- Technology impact: 69 per cent of respondents feel prepared for the impact of new technologies on their business. Equally, 69 per cent think new tech will increase productivity, while 62 per cent of respondents say it will also increase revenue. 41 per cent of businesses will use 6 or more new technologies in 2019.
- People and skills: 92 per cent of respondents think that upskilling your workforce is an important means of improving productivity, yet in contrast 95 per cent are also confident the skills of their current workforce will meet their business needs in 2019.
- Current and future tech usage: BIM/CAD is the most popular technology currently used in the industry (33 per cent), followed by pre-fabricated parts (29 per cent) and digital project management tools (25 per cent). Respondents also see these technologies being the top three drivers of change over the next 3 years, with pre-fabricated parts (32 per cent) leading the charge.
- Health and safety: Half of all construction companies are unaware of the targets set by ‘The Australian Work Health & Safety Strategy 2012-2022’.
- Diversity: 1 in 5 leadership positions are held by women, with large companies leading the way.
Vice President APAC at Procore Technologies, Tom Karemacher, said that construction companies are constantly looking for ways to drive growth, reduce risk and delays, or simply to find that elusive work/life balance.
“Our customers tell us that, whilst they’re looking at ways to consolidate legacy technologies, they are also planning for the future. We invested in this research to shed light on technology adoption in construction, and how new technologies are influencing more efficient processes and better business outcomes,” he said.
“We hope the report will provide industry, government and the education sector with information about how technology is being adopted, the current and future skills required, and the role that technology plays in helping the construction industry meet its obligations.”
The report, ‘How We Build Now – Tracking Technology in Construction 2019’, can be found online here.