Rising costs and a lack of skilled professionals are hampering construction efforts to digitize and achieve ESG goals, according to RICS.
Chartered surveyors from around the world have pointed out that the cost and lack of qualified professionals not only hinders workloads, but also prevents the construction sector from progressing in terms of innovation and sustainable practices, detailed in the first report. of the RICS on digitization in construction.
The report, which collected responses from more than 2,500 members worldwide, aims to assess how advanced practices such as BIM and digital twins are being used within organizations, looking at their current use. , the resulting improvements, and some of the challenges that are holding businesses back. in the latest technology.
As companies seek to adapt to meet the latest global challenges, including the reduction of carbon emissions from the construction sector (~40%), almost all respondents (95%) highlighted costs as a medium barrier to high in their implementation. Much like the results of the RICS Global Construction Monitor, the lack of qualified professionals comes second, with 88% reporting the challenge of finding the qualified professionals to support them.
While cost and skills are a major hurdle, data is already widely used by organizations to improve progress tracking and health, safety and well-being across all or most of their projects, with some 44% of respondents indicating that this is the main way in which data and technology is used in the construction sector. At the other end of the scale, however, only 23% of respondents said they use data and technology to help measure carbon footprint and benchmark and report on all or most of their projects.
However, the transfer of data and information flowing between the different participants throughout the life cycle of the assets is encouraging. Indeed, nearly half of respondents share their cost estimate data and more than 40% share their health and safety and wellness data and information. However, only a fifth share information on life cycle carbon emissions.
This report highlights the progress made, but supports the need for new initiatives in the construction industry to upskill people in new and innovative work practices to help it reduce costs at all levels so that it can combat climate change.
Anil Sawhney, Global Head of Construction and Infrastructure at RICS, said: “To address the profound impact construction is having on our world, the sector needs to act even faster to reap the benefits of BIM and digital twins. Digitalization in construction continues to gain momentum, but like the wider construction industry, adoption of these technologies is being held back by rising costs and a shortage of skilled professionals.
“The sector is nimble, but with constant cost and time pressures and a frequently criticized lack of spending on research and development, the sector runs the risk of being left behind. While standards such as ICMS 3 and members of professional bodies upgrading their skills help, construction needs more support, be it private investment or government funding or initiatives to ensure that countries can continue to prosper.
Andrew Knight, RICS Global Data and Tech Lead, added: “Current supply chain issues and soaring costs are another aspect that the industry needs to urgently address. Coupled with the integration of environmental, social and governance (EDG) principles, the design and measurement of social value; implement whole-life and whole-asset thinking; and carbon footprinting, benchmarking and reporting on all projects, the construction industry is in the midst of a perfect storm. »
As early BIM modeling is now commonplace, and participants across the asset lifecycle now share information more freely, particularly on cost estimation and health, safety and welfare, there is still a long way to go. The power of BIM, with its higher dimensions of time, cost and sustainability, combined with digital twins will add the most value in the years to come, provided the sector receives the right support.