Why the slow uptake of technology in construction is holding the industry back

The construction industry has been slow in embracing technology and digital transformation. It’s no surprise that clipboards, spreadsheets, and A3 drawings remain commonplace in the industry, as many companies choose to stick with tried-and-tested methods.

While digital transformation is a priority for 71% of construction firms, adoption has been slow, owing to the complexity and fragmentation of the industry. Given the proven benefits of technology, players in the industry must realize that construction technology is a must-have.

Companies that fail to embrace new solutions risk getting left behind in today’s competitive landscape. In this post, we’ll explore the slow uptake of technology in the industry and the steps firms can take to adopt technology to improve efficiency and attain operational agility.

Free eBook: Quick guide to Lean practices for construction professionals

Reasons for the slow uptake

The biggest challenge is the fragmentation and complexity of the industry. For instance, a typical project involves different parties, specialists, processes, and tools, inhibiting the ability to centralize and integrate processes and systems.

Companies still heavily rely on manual processes and paper-based systems, which can be costly to digitise all at once. While paper-based processes are time-consuming and error-prone, some firms find them familiar and manageable, in contrast to new tech solutions.

Another reason is resistance to change. A lot of workers in the industry are not technologically adept and have grown comfortable with traditional processes. A 2023 survey showed that only 30% of the older workers in the industry support the need for digital transformation.

More to read: Common Pen-and-Paper Frustrations in Construction QHSE Workflows

Benefits of adopting technology in the construction industry

While barriers to tech adoption exist, firms need to recognize the numerous benefits of adopting new technology. Construction technology comes in various forms that can transform different areas of your operations. These benefits include:

Increased productivity

Cloud-based software and mobile apps support communication and collaboration, resulting in improved productivity. Teams can interact in real-time to get things moving quickly, get approvals on one platform, and access data anytime.

Cost savings

Investing in construction technology eliminates paper-based systems and manual processes, which are prone to errors thus resulting in costly reworks. Technology can improve resource management, reducing expenses related to labour and equipment allocation.

Improved safety

Modern technology can help to monitor construction sites and improve safety. Teams can easily access safety checklists on the go and identify risks to prevent incidents. Also, technology can eliminate manual processes through automation and simplify inspections using drones to enhance safety.

You might also like: 7 tips for managing health and safety in construction efficiently

Better building quality

The use of technology minimises errors in measurements and designs to ensure accurate project implementation. With construction software, you can keep track of every detail, get input from experts in real time, and ensure the requirements of every phase are met.

Construction technology, whether software or hardware, improves every aspect of the project, from planning and execution to completion and delivery. For example, building information modelling (BIM) allows all teams to work on the same design and makes maintenance easy for project owners.

Further reading: Construction quality management 101: Everything you should know

Construction quality control | LetsBuildExamples of technology in the construction industry

The application of technology in the construction industry is growing, even though at a slow pace. This progress provides hope for ambitious changes in the industry, with steady demand for new solutions across the different sectors of the industry.

A good example is Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the AEC industry, which helps to improve the information management of a built asset. It offers a digital representation of an asset to simplify the work of contractors and architects throughout the project lifecycle.

Digital innovations, such as virtual and augmented reality, have also transformed construction. Contractors can use these technologies to coordinate projects, spot issues, inspect job sites, and make changes remotely, enabling safety, reducing construction times, and lowering costs.

Another key technology is drones, which allow teams to inspect and monitor sites. They provide 3D lidar scans and aerial imagery to support inspections, performance reviews, and safety. Drones reduce the number of on-site crew members, boosting safety and cutting costs.

More important is the construction management software, which allows managers to oversee every aspect of the project, including materials, budget, equipment, and crews. A good example is LetsBuild, which offers different solutions for safety, communication, and reporting.

Solutions to overcome the challenges of adopting technology

Addressing the stumbling blocks in your path to tech adoption is crucial to reap the maximum benefits of technology. There are several steps firms can take, including:

  • Investing in training: Transitioning workers to a new way of working requires patience and time. You can support this process through continuous training and resource provision to introduce your workers to cutting-edge and simpler methods for completing tasks.
  • Collaboration between stakeholders: To support adoption, it’s advisable to involve all your stakeholders including employees, customers, suppliers, and partners, in planning, testing, and implementing new technologies.
  • Incentivising technology adoption: You can offer incentives for employees, departments and partners to encourage adoption. Monetary benefits, discounts, event tickets, and personal development opportunities can motivate stakeholders to try new solutions.

Note that adoption can be a year-long process. So, you need to involve stakeholders in the feedback stage to gauge the efficacy of new solutions and identify pain points in the adoption process. You can bolster this with a long-term strategy that nurtures the culture of digitization to ensure a seamless transition from legacy systems or attitudes.

Interesting find: 5 reasons project managers don’t want to digitalise. And why they are wrong.

Harness the power of construction technology

For years, the construction industry has been lagging behind other industries in technology adoption. While the industry has been trying to play catchup, the process has been slow, aggravated by decades-long practices that the industry is reluctant to discard.

With the exponential growth of technology, the construction industry must embrace tech and digital solutions to remain competitive and relevant in the future. These solutions have transformed and simplified everyday work, resulting in profitability, efficiency, and productivity.

At LetsBuild we offer powerful construction management software to simplify and streamline complex construction tasks. Whether it’s site reporting, communication, safety control, or lean coordination, you can leverage our tools to grow a successful construction business.

Book a demo or contact us today to learn how our purpose-built solutions can support your firm.

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