The Need

The need for change

Challenges facing the construction sector

The challenges facing the construction sector are well documented and include:

  • low productivity
  • inefficient processes
  • poor quality/high cost of remedial work
  • a negative image
  • labour shortages
  • a lack of skills.

Many construction companies would also benefit from reducing costs and saving time. 

All of these challenges can reduced by adopting a digital solution.

In October 2018 the CITB published the report Unlocking construction’s digital future: a skills plan for industry which highlighted low digital adoption, particularly by SMEs.

This programme uses the challenges listed above as the driver to tackle the problem and increase digital adoption. We will help owners and managers review existing processes to identify opportunities for digital adoption. This pragmatic approach is designed to solve a problem, or remove or streamline time-consuming, repetitive or error-prone tasks. It is not about imposing a specific digital solution.

The barriers to digital adoption

Overcoming the barriers to digital adoption

There are many reasons why digital take-up in the construction sector is lower than expected:

  • Many construction companies are run by multitasking management teams who find it difficult to find the time to explore and introduce digital solutions 
  • There is a lack of awareness of the growing number of digital solutions
  • There may be a lack of understanding of the benefits of using a digital solution.
  • Managing change can be challenging as long-established paper-based processes are deeply entrenched,
  • Previous digital adoption has not had the desired impact due to ineffective implementation. 

This programme has been designed to remove these barriers.

Digital adoption will be expanded and accelerated as we provide the space and environment for the owners and managers of SMEs to step away from everyday demands to explore business processes that can be streamlined or removed and give then the skills to implement change.

This includes:

  • being able to identify business opportunities
  • know what is available
  • support cultural change
  • implement solutions
  • and have an awareness of technical considerations.

Low adoption of digital solutions

A growing interest

There is a growing interest in the use of digital solutions and an increase in their use. Effective software and hardware have never been more accessible and affordable. The introduction of SaaS, smartphones and 4G have been game-changers. End-user resistance has reduced as more of us use technology in our private lives.

However, despite a clear business need, a plethora of effective, affordable digital tools and the removal of barriers, the uptake of technology in construction SMEs has been much slower than expected.

This programme aims to help owners and senior managers evaluate the benefits of digital solutions to accelerate adoption.

The research

Many reports have highlighted the challenges facing the construction industry, including:

CITB Report: EVOLUTION OR REVOLUTION? - Unlocking construction’s digital future: A skills plan for industry

The Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model: Modernise or Die

Commons Briefing Paper New-build housing: construction defects - issues and solutions (England)

GFirst LEP/CITB Gloucestershire Skills Report.

Many owners and managers of construction SMEs wish to save time and costs and avoid fire fighting. 

This Project is funded by the CITB

The challenges facing construction

The focus of this programme is on how digital solutions can address the challenges facing the construction sector.

Productivity

Owners and managers will explore how their organisations can be more productive — increasing output by designing new ways of working or using digital tools to improve planning and communication.

Efficiency

Participants will evaluate how digital solutions can improve efficiency. This may be the area with the most opportunities to improve performance e.g.

  • replacing a myriad of spreadsheets with more efficient solutions.
  • reducing or eliminating hours spent on data entry
  • using digital dashboards to improve decision making.

Quality

Some organisations may wish to explore how they can improve quality or health and safety.

Opportunities could include how information is stored and shared or new ways of inspecting work in progress.

Skills

The skills issues facing the sector are well documented and this is another business activity that will be explored.

There is a vast array of low-cost technology that can be used to share knowledge.