Despite substantial investments, the construction industry is struggling to gain the full benefits of technologies including advanced data and analytics, mobility, automation and robotics – that’s the key finding from ‘Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016’, the annual state-of-the-industry report from KPMG International. The report highlights the views of over 200 senior executives from major project owners and engineering and construction companies.
Of the 200-plus senior construction executives taking part in the survey, just 8 per cent of their companies rank as “cutting-edge technology visionaries,” while 64 per cent of contractors and 73 per cent of project owners rank as “industry followers” or “behind the curve” when it comes to technology.
“The survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most firms content to follow rather than lead,” says Geno Armstrong, International Sector Leader, Engineering & Construction, KPMG in the US. “Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all.”
Two-thirds of survey respondents believe project risks are increasing. “Projects around the world are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex – and with complexity comes risk,” notes Armstrong. “Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualisation have enormous potential to speed up project progress, improve accuracy and safety.”
Commenting on the India findings of KPMG, Neeraj Bansal, Partner and Head, Building, Construction and Real Estate Sector, KPMG in India, said, “India is among the fastest growing construction market globally and is poised to become the third largest globally by 2025 with size of US$ 1 trillion. The increasing size and quantum of projects is gradually driving complexities and unprecedented project risks in construction industry. Select Indian contractors and project owners are now focusing towards adoption of evolved concepts such as centralised PMO (Project Management Office) coupled with project performance measurement and reporting systems such as Project Management Information System (PMIS) etc. The effectiveness of these concepts can further be enhanced with the usage of advanced technologies such as robotics, data analytics for purposes such as estimating, bidding, performance monitoring, etc,” he highlights.
Harnessing the true potential of technology requires construction companies and project owners to get clearer about their technology vision and strategy. In Armstrong’s view, “The rapidly evolving infrastructure challenges of the next decade demands both owners and engineering and construction firms embrace technology more strategically and at a far more rapid pace than in the past.”