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Digital Construction Drives Positive Outcomes for Firms

The common perception that the construction industry is slow to adopt technology might be outdated. Digital construction has revolutionized the industry, bringing positive outcomes, giving firms a competitive edge, and ensuring compliance with regulations, and today, more and more firms are recognizing its power.

Recently, the National Federation of Builders (NFB) published their research, Technological Transformation and Cyber Security Insights from Construction Contractors, stating that the number of contractors adopting digital construction has significantly increased and most of them have reported “sustainable business improvements.”

Their research states that the majority of the survey respondents reported business improvements resulting from the adoption of digital tools and technologies. They compare the numbers with McKinsey & Co’s report from 2017 which stated that only 16% of respondents, spanning various industries, reported performance improvements following digital transformation.

24% of respondents confirmed that their firms had experienced a cyber attack

Almost 18% of respondents did not report any improvement and a small portion, 3.6%, were not sure if there was any improvement. Interestingly, only 14% of respondents indicated that they had not embraced digital construction. The reasons haven’t been specified but if we speculate, it could be because they are hesitant, are facing budget constraints, or there’s a lack of comprehensive awareness regarding the potential of digital tools.

A whopping 57% of the respondents said there is nobody responsible in the firm for digital transformation. “The majority, 57%, said that they did not have a member of the Board or staff responsible for it. This suggests that there may be a gap in the organization’s structure and that they don’t have clarity over the ownership or direction of their digital transformation efforts, which could cause problems in terms of implementation and coordination,” the report said.

What made firms adopt digital construction?

It is positive news that there is increased digitization in construction, as evidenced by the adoption of various advanced technologies. These range from leveraging the latest mobile mapping technologies for accurate site assessments and measurements to harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) for streamlined documentation processes.

If a firm can afford it, they will go for it because it allows them to stay ahead of their competitors and respond appropriately to their client’s requirements. A significant majority, over 57%, identified “competitive advantage” as their primary motivating factor for digital transformation. Furthermore, 15% of respondents indicated a strong desire to avoid being left behind by their competitors, while another 15% highlighted the importance of responding to client needs. The remaining 12% acknowledged that compliance requirements were a driving force behind their adoption of digital construction practices.

The dark side

While digitization undoubtedly brings optimization and efficiency into workflows, it is crucial to acknowledge a significant drawback that cannot be overlooked – cyber attacks. As construction firms increasingly embrace digital technologies, their vulnerability to cyber threats escalates. The interconnected nature of digital systems and the reliance on data exchange create potential entry points for malicious actors.

In the NFB survey, 24% of respondents confirmed that their firms had experienced a cyber attack, while 20% were uncertain. The remaining did not report any incidents.

24% of respondents confirmed that their firms had experienced a cyber attack

This data further emphasizes the issue of awareness, as those who were unsure about cyber attacks might lack a clear understanding of what constitutes a cyber attack. This highlights the need for increased education and knowledge-sharing regarding cybersecurity to ensure that all firms are equipped to recognize and address potential cyber threats effectively.

Protecting sensitive information, ensuring data privacy, and safeguarding critical infrastructure become paramount concerns in the face of ever-evolving cyber risks. Therefore, while reaping the benefits of digitization, construction firms must prioritize robust cybersecurity measures to mitigate the impact of cyber attacks.

Digital construction can be a game-changer for firms in the construction industry as it brings a transformative shift. It can help firms boost their sustainability efforts, and increase operational efficiency, and project outcomes. With digital tools and technologies firms can also optimize resource utilization, reduce waste, and implement environmentally friendly practices, ultimately contributing to a greener future.

Furthermore, digital tools like BIM (Building Information Modeling) enhance collaboration and facilitate real-time data-driven decision-making throughout project lifecycles. The outcome is better project output, marked by enhanced quality, reduced costs, and shorter delivery timelines. By embracing digitization, construction firms are poised to thrive in a dynamic and competitive landscape.

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