Australian builders cautiously optimistic, trail NZ counterparts

Despite significant headwinds, 85 per cent of Australian respondents in Procore Technologies’ How We Build Now report remain confident about the 12 months ahead.

Procore, a leading global provider of construction management software, released the third edition of the report.

It found that while optimistic, Australia lags behind the APAC average of 91 per cent and is similarly at the back of the pack when it comes to technology adoption.

Procore Technologies vice president, APAC, Tom Karemacher said the Australian construction industry remains remarkably resilient, however, there are lessons to be learnt from its Asia Pacific neighbours.

“Our research found a clear correlation between positive industry sentiment and the intention to adopt technology, with ASEAN nations taking the lead in this area. This enthusiasm should be instructive to the Australian construction industry, underscoring the power of digital transformation in relieving key industry pressures and supporting growth,” Karemacher said.

The report highlights that, despite battling skill shortages, construction bans, and increasing cost of materials over the past two years, these challenges continued to serve as a catalyst for technology investment, with more than two in five (43 per cent) Australian respondents agreeing the pandemic accelerated their adoption of digital technology.

This is a steady increase from the 39 per cent that updated technologies, systems and processes in 2020. However, there are still clear barriers to digitalisation, the most significant being changing established practices and behaviours.

The research also revealed a very pragmatic approach to technology adoption within the Australian construction industry.

According to the respondents, cutting edge technologies – such as 3D printing, robotics and drones – are less likely to drive industry change than more tried-and-true technologies, such as big data and digital project management platforms. Australian builders expect to save an average of 13 per cent on total project spend just by managing data more efficiently.

According to the survey, Australia is behind on the digital maturity curve—with lower adoption rates of everything from BIM to big data, and pre-fabrication to robotics. To add to this, a smaller percentage of Australian construction companies plan to adopt digital technologies than their regional peers. For example, New Zealand businesses (46 per cent) are almost twice as likely as their Australian counterparts (24 per cent) to believe next generation BIM technology will drive change.

Hannah Morton, associate at global sustainable engineering consultancy Cundall, said, “The challenge is to bring all parts of the industry along on this journey. I believe technology is an asset in this at every stage from early feasibility, design development and modelling through to project management, procurement and post-construction commissioning and verification.”

Download the How We Build Now 2022 – Tracking technology in Asia Pacific Construction in 2022 report here.

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