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  • Jeff Cook

Innovation in construction

The construction industry is on the cusp of change embracing technology to improve efficiency. Just like manufacturing before it, construction is looking to realise the gains from

3D image of a construction site

reducing manual processes and adopting technology. The construction sector is one of the largest in the world economy, with about $10 trillion spent on construction-related goods and services every year. However, the industry’s productivity has trailed that of other sectors for decades and there is a $1.6 trillion opportunity to close the gap. According to a McKinsey report examining construction technology construction firms have had mixed results due to not having a coherent strategy to ensure adoption. Construction firms need to embrace innovation and disruptive change by adopting new strategies to ensure new ways of working provide the biggest impact for the firm.


McKinsey suggest a 3 prong approach that construction companies should follow to adopt construction technology;


"Firms need a full suite of digital levers;


  • Companies will obtain the most value if they implement multiple digital levers in combination—for instance, a mix of digital tools, robotics, and advanced analytics.

  • A new management system. An embedded management system will ensure the sustainability of the new operating model. Incentives and digital-enabled transparency are critical tools to help managers accelerate the adoption of new technologies.

  • A cultural transformation. Cultural transformation and capability-building programs enable construction companies to become more agile and quickly adapt to evolving client needs."


"There are forces lowering the barriers for change: rising requirements and demand in terms of volume, cost, and quality; larger-scale players and more transparent markets, and disruptive new entrants; more readily available new technologies, materials, and processes; and the increasing cost of labor. Construction-sector participants should rethink their operating approaches to avoid being caught out in what could be the world’s next great productivity story."


3D visualisation at the design of a site was the first salvo in the coming technology transformation. Replacing paper based plans with dynamic models has changed building design forever. The next phase is logistics and efficiency. BuildAi’s program efficiency software was developed to meet a need for transparency and accountability. Understanding what is needed to drive progress on site in terms of deliveries and how material is used on-site to meet program milestones is critical for teams to know how they are tracking compared to baseline. Using technology to allow users to view an easy to understand dashboard and see first-hand drivers for delays or progress is key for firms to maximise efficiencies by getting a true picture of progress. BuildAI uses sensors on-site and sophisticated AI computer vision techniques to plot and predict progress based on observations of the deck activity.


Typically the change needs to come “top down” from an organisation perspective, as on-site teams are usually under pressure to deliver what’s in front of them and there needs to be a strategic lens applied from the head of the organisation to embrace working smarter rather than harder.

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