Construction firms need to up their game to go digital, new research reveals

New research has unveiled that almost half (44.3%) of businesses in the construction industry have limited or no insight into company or project performance. Professionals working in the sector are either not collecting data or are collecting it manually instead of digitally, says the report, Unlock the Benefits of Going Digital in Construction.

The research conducted by Bentley Systems, the design, construction, and infrastructure software provider, of more than 720 construction professionals across the world also found that less than half (43.5%) of workers said they have no digital capabilities for collaboration or that their information is either paper-based or siloed.

The impact of this is significant, as analysis from Mace, a global construction consultancy, recently found that almost 80% of large construction projects experience cost or programme overruns and that if project delivery does not improve, the UK taxpayer could be left to pick up a tab of around £19bn in ten years’ time. 

With Interserve, one of the largest government contractors in the UK, entering administration recently and the collapse of Carillion in 2018 triggering the largest ever trading liquidation in the UK, the construction industry cannot afford to ignore new technology any longer, says the report, which also outlines ‘four Ps’ to unlock the benefits of digital construction.

The report argues that in readiness for going digital the industry needs to Prepare for it; Pilot it, Probe it and Process it. Bentley says that businesses that embrace and master the four Ps are setting themselves up to be at the forefront of construction over this century. “As an industry, it is important for us to remember that a construction project is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. Project partners who are not working digitally do not have the level of productivity, communication, and assurance necessary for 21st century project delivery,” says the report.

Arguing that innovation is here now to transform the way that firms are working in the construction sector, the Bentley report issues a passionate call for change. Mark Coates, industry director for project delivery at Bentley, said: “We need to challenge ourselves, our businesses and our project partners to spread the benefits of going digital and stop the deployment of 18th century (and sometimes earlier) working practices on 21st century projects.” 

Click here to download the report, Unlock the Benefits of Going Digital in Construction.

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