Global construction survey reveals the true extent of barriers to digitalisation in the construction and real estate sectors:
- 97% of construction professionals expect to see increased investment in digitisation at their companies over the next three years
- The largest technology investments in the next three years are expected in construction project management software
- Implementation cost is the leading challenge in the introduction of new technologies across the UK
London, UK, 13th November 2023: A new report by industry-leading digital construction, real estate and facilities management platform PlanRadar reveals that construction sector digitalisation has stagnated.
The most startling finding is that 77% of respondents are struggling to implement new technologies. However, whilst the UK was among the most adept nations, only around a quarter of companies polled (28%) say implementation is easy or very easy.
Surveying over 1300 construction professionals across 15 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain, the study examined existing levels of digitalisation in the construction and real estate sector, as well as its growth prospects over the next three years.
Stuck in the analogue age
Unsurprisingly, given the implementation challenges, a high proportion of companies haven’t invested in emerging technologies like 3D printing (80%), robotics (82%) and artificial intelligence (74%). Technology fields that received the most investment were energy efficiency and renewable energy (26%), BIM (19%) and construction management software and platforms (19%).
Looking at construction teams using this tech, the data suggests the sector has a long way to go in terms of digitalisation. Almost two thirds of professionals have not seen a recent increase in the number of digital role hires in their companies.
The research revealed the main area of technology investment to be construction and real estate management software, with 77% of respondents saying they expect to see an increase in investment in the next three years.
This correlates with the 95% of the respondents who have seen cost savings using proptech, 35% of which estimate between 10% and 30% savings. Over two thirds of respondents also expect growth in digital solutions that support environmental commitments, regulating energy efficiency and renewable energy. Finally, reflecting its utility across various applications in construction, Building Information Modelling methodology also stood out as a tool expected to receive significant investment, according to two thirds of respondents.
Perhaps a product of significant headways already made, UK businesses were amongst the lowest percentage of respondents who expect their companies to increase investment in technology, across the combined technology categories surveyed.
Challenges implementing new tech
Most (8 out of 15) of the countries surveyed consider the traditional view of stakeholders as the main challenge holding back the introduction of new technology. Perception of low return on investment came in a close second, as flagged by over a fifth of UK companies, 28% of those in France, and just under a quarter in Austria and Germany. The cost of implementation was the main barrier for the UK (26%).
Over half of respondents expect their companies to invest at least 11% more in digitalisation. The UK is aiming lower with only 46% of businesses anticipating the same level of investment. Meanwhile, just under a quarter of respondents predict this percentage to be more than 31%, led by Australia (39%), Hungary (27%) and Romania (30%).
UK Director at PlanRadar Robert Norton shared his thoughts on the findings, “These results show a construction sector in need of support reaching the next step in its digital transformation. There’s no doubt that if the right solution is implemented, boosting investment in emerging and established technologies will enhance project efficiency and performance. An industry-wide collaborative approach between vendors and contractors will be central to future prospects to bridge any communication divides and showcase the true value of leading solutions from supporting net-zero ambitions to seismic cost savings.”
More insights from PlanRadar’s Ebook, ‘Digitalisation In the Construction and Real Estate Sector’, can be found here.
PlanRadar is an award-winning, digital SaaS field management platform for documentation, task management and communication in construction and real estate projects. The platform operates across the globe, currently in over 75 markets. PlanRadar digitises all daily processes and communication across real estate and construction. The platform connects all project stakeholders and provides real-time access to valuable project data, enabling teams to increase quality, cut costs and realise work faster. The easy-to-use platform adds value to every person involved in a building’s lifecycle, from contractors and engineers to property managers and owners, with flexible capabilities for all company sizes and processes. Today, over 120,000 professionals are using PlanRadar to track, connect and solve issues on- and off-site. PlanRadar is currently available in 20 languages, and can be used across all IOS, Windows and Android devices. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, PlanRadar has 16 offices across the globe.
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