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In this episode of Construction Talk, Peter Haddock and Chris Grant, Partnership Manager at Digital Construction Skills, talk about Chris’ role in the CITB funded programme, which helps to support construction SMEs in Scotland

Chris kicks off the podcast by talking about the work that Digital Construction Skills do to educate construction SMEs (companies with a turnover of less than £50m) about the digital tools available to them.

The aim of the programme is to give managers the confidence they need to drive digital adoption through their business.

“Between 95-99% of the construction sector is SMEs”, explains Chris, and this is why helping construction SME’s make the move to digital is so important.

Digital language for construction SMEs can be confusing

SMEs don’t have specialist capability, and therefore the language of digital construction can be very confusing, explains Chris.

A lot of construction SMEs have the mindset of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”. “In a way, that’s a fair point”, states Chris. “Why would you want to change the way your business works if it won’t change or increase your profits? If it won’t improve your quality and safety, or improve your wastage?”

This is a starting point for Chris and the team at Digital Construction Skills, through asking the questions of what problems you want to solve in your business, and looking at what digital tools are out there to solve those problems.

How has funding awarded by the CITB changed things for you?

The funding, awarded by CITB, has enabled Digital Construction Skills to create free tools which tackle the jargon and terminology of the digital construction industry.

The programme also offers eBooks and guides to SMEs on their journey, with guidance to what digital tools are out there, alongside 1-2-1 mentoring.

How do we go about ‘democratising’ the use of technology?

“The two main things that construction SMEs are looking at currently is how to go paperless and making that a more streamlined process”, explains Chris.

“We recently worked with a decorating company who were unsure about which direction they wanted to go with digital. They recently switched to a 3D image camera from paper, it’s all about small steps in the right direction.”

What are the first steps an organisation can take to digitalise?

The first steps that an organisation can take when switching to digital is looking at business processes and the problems that you’re trying to solve first, states Chris.

The role of Digital Construction Skills is to look at the resistors to digital technology in the business and ask why they are resistant to it?  From there, you can explain the key benefits of digital technology and how it can help the business.

What funding and business support are available?

There is funding and support available through the CITB training and skills fund, which is available to construction SMEs.

For more information and support on getting started, visit the Digital Construction Skills website.

Listen to the full episode of the Construction Talk Podcast.

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