Research reveals 43% of construction workers have no digital capabilities

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Bentley systems, Working practices, Going digital,
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New research has unveiled that almost half (44.3%) of businesses in the construction industry have limited or no insight into company or project performance

Looking at the results of Bentley Systems’ global survey into organisational working practices, it seems that many people in our industry do not believe that technology can help them think better.

The research conducted by Bentley Systems, the design, construction, and infrastructure software provider, of more than 720 construction professionals across the world also found less than half (43.5%) of workers said they have no digital capabilities for collaboration or that their information is either paper-based or siloed.

The impact of this is significant, as analysis from Mace, a global construction consultancy, found almost 80% of large construction projects experience cost or program overruns and that if project delivery does not improve, the UK taxpayer could be left to pick up a tab of around £19bn in 10 years’ time.

Why do we need to redefine working practices?

Prepare for it

This is the single largest battle we face as an industry.

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The over-riding barrier holding us back from implementing digital construction is not the technology and whether it’s up to the task; it’s the mindset and psychology of us working in the industry.

It is crucial to get the buy-in of the entire senior leadership team to successfully instigate change. However, the tactical objections over monetary cost, time, effort, human resources, and education can all be overcome if we are prudent and prepare our businesses for change in an orderly fashion.

Pilot it

Every encounter with digital construction differs.

Every business’ encounter with digital construction is slightly different. As humans, we are fundamentally different people with different experiences, backgrounds, and perceptions.

To make going digital a success, we must first pilot it among a small portion of the company on a single project and take the time for team members to get used to, understand, and become familiar with the technology. Long-lasting, sustainable change happens slowly.

Probe it

To win over advocates, we must probe change.

We need to monitor and evaluate the performance of the project at frequent stages to capture progress and refine and improve our working practices. Hold open forum meetings and get people thinking collectively about the changes they are implementing. It is important for empowering team members to think and analyse how they work and to discuss whether there are any ways that they can do it better.

Process it

We need to capture, understand results, and repeat.

To create and maximise impact across the whole organisation, we need to be able to process it. We need to capture changes, understand how we achieved results, and repeat them. Adopting and embedding digital ways of working need buy-in at all levels of a business. Organisations should develop board steering groups so that the top of the business can see and understand the benefits of going digital.

Read the report in full here.

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