Integrating emerging technologies to drive efficiency
The construction sector has been historically slow to adopt digital technologies. With increased global supply chain disruptions, competition, worker shortages, and skyrocketing material prices, the need for digital transformation in construction has become much stronger. While construction firms are under pressure to deliver quality projects safely, on time and on budget in spite of these challenges. In Aotearoa, these challenges have been dramatically exacerbated by the extreme weather events of early 2023.
Worldwide, industry players are paying increased attention to and leveraging emerging technologies to increase efficiencies and accelerate business growth. Increasingly, construction companies are recognising the power of digital technologies to innovate, reduce costs, expand business opportunities and boost profits.
Deloitte’s 2023 Engineering and Construction Industry Outlook states, “ While external factors remain outside companies’ control, implementing new technologies can help increase visibility and tackle process inefficiencies.”
It states that over half of its recent sector survey respondents agreed they would likely invest in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, and BIM in the next year.
The industry outlook report suggests, “Prefabrication and modular construction will likely continue to be a key new way of working and delivering projects. These modern construction methods enable more standardization across the building process and allow construction firms to actively address the severe productivity problems affecting construction projects’ quality and pace of delivery.”
According to Deloitte’s survey, 46% of respondents will likely invest in prefabrication and modular construction capabilities next year. “2023 will likely experience increased adoption rates for the same as more developers and contractors look to capitalize on building in controlled environments to drive operational efficiencies while also solving for changing customer demands and addressing margin erosion,” it says.
Leading engineering and construction companies worldwide have adopted a structured approach to innovation and exploring emerging technologies, explains Deloitte. In doing so, they aim to mitigate the following risks, according to the report:
- Overlapping funding requests that can lead to confused project approvers and other inefficiencies.
- Creating a burden on talent through siloed Research and Development, lack of defined impact measures, and lack of technology readiness frameworks.
- Prioritizing investments incorrectly due to lack of a disciplined program approach.
“Assuming these risks can be minimized, both established providers and startups are expected to continue bringing innovative solutions of different maturity and readiness levels. A focus on practical value and return on investment could further expedite these efforts and potentially achieve significant gains for organisations.”
“In 2023, companies will likely increase the adoption of structured approaches to emerging technologies across the engineering and construction industry.”