26 September 2017

5 novel ways the construction industry can ride the wave of digital disruption

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With ground-breaking, novel technology wiping out entire industries and completely turning others on their head, how can the construction industry ride the wave of digital disruption to its own advantage?

As long as there has been a construction industry, it’s been associated with budget blowouts, schedule overruns and safety concerns. Could digitalisation help solve these inherent problems?

Construction is one of our most important global industries, fueled by population growth and urbanisation. It’s projected to grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion worldwide by 2030 (PwC).

That sounds like great economics, but we need to take a closer look at what else is happening in the industry.

There are real world concerns in the construction industry that affect productivity, profitability, workplace safety and well-being, and employee engagement.

Growth would be a double-edged sword if existing problems balloon as well:

  • Large projects overrun budgets by up to 80%, and take 20% longer to complete than scheduled (McKinsey Global Institute)
  • 85% of projects don’t deliver on time, and 66% don’t deliver on budget (Accenture)
  • In both developing and developed countries, the inherently hazardous construction industry has high work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities (Norton Rose Fulbright)

Could groundbreaking novel technology turn things around?

PwC’s 2016 Global Industry 4.0 Survey lists 11 digital technologies that can transform the construction industry through digitising a company’s horizontal and vertical value chain, as well as building its digital product and service portfolio. With digitisation comes integration and automation opportunities—these have a direct impact on productivity and profitability which reduce overruns in budgets and schedules.

Here is a taste of what progressive engineering and construction companies are already doing with novel technology, with the help of innovative software providers.

Productivity. A project could progress more efficiently and effectively if all the different documents, forms, checklists and drawings are accessed and shared from iPads and mobile phones via one secure application. This makes it much easier to create and manage all paperwork for construction sites.

Profitability. When 3D models of buildings, equipment, or fittings could be made life-size, and superimposed via augmented reality onto actual site locations, this creates richer simulations, streamlines planning, and minimises errors while reducing cost and time overruns. Virtual reality inductions can expedite familiarity with new buildings ready for use, to create a more successful ‘moving-in’ experience for occupants.

Workplace safety and well-being. If organisations detect risk factors for physical safety and mental well-being early with a self-paced online activity for their staff, they can take preventative action before stress, anxiety or depression escalate. This keeps the workforce happier, healthier and more supported to perform at their best.

Employee engagement. Using a dynamic intelligent organisational chart to address staff turnover, workplace culture, and other employee-related business KPIs like workers compensation claims, presenteeism and absenteeism allows senior leaders to take a bird’s eye view of how their organisational chart is truly fulfilling business goals, as well as zoom in on specific roles to make improvements at the company, team, and individual level. 

Learning culture. A common thread that helps you implement all four types of improvement is flowing training through your organisation to help you achieve these improvements. You can reap multiple benefits from taking training online. Clever eLearning management software exists to help you create and manage training activities quickly and easily. Like create, customise, deliver, manage, track and report on lessons and achievements, and make them more fun and engaging for your workforce through gamification, VR and AR.

There are endless possibilities for improving productivity, profitability, workplace wellbeing and employee engagement by harnessing novel technology in the construction industry. We welcome you to start a conversation with us if you would like to explore this further. 

Come ride the exhilarating wave of digital disruption with us.

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About Russell Francis. Russell is the Chief Executive Officer of Velpic, a versatile eLearning platform that provides next-generation learning, induction and knowledge sharing tools to engage and empower people in organisations with ease.