Lack of information on site hampers nearly half of firms

9 October 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

A lack of accurate and timely information on the jobsite is damaging the productivity of nearly half (42%) of construction firms, according to the findings of a new survey.

More than two thirds of businesses reported that dealing with rework was the biggest waste of their time and money, blaming inaccurate and outdated information, the Digital Foundations report by construction productivity software provider PlanGrid found.

Its survey of 235 industry professionals also found that a lack of resources curbed the performance of 46% of companies, while another 33% suffered as a result of scheduling errors.

Another key limiting factor was a lack of technology, particularly when it comes to how drawings and specifications are shared on site. Nearly a quarter (22%) of firms still rely entirely on paper-based drawings, while 32%run less than a quarter of their projects without paper.

Meanwhile, 10% of all firms say they make only minimal use of technology on their projects.

Construction industry professionals pointed to squeezed access to labour (38%), reduced government spending (21%) and increasing wage demands (18%) as the biggest challenges over the next 12 months, which PlanGrid suggested could mean that productivity challenges will intensify.

According to government figures, productivity in the UK construction industry did not improve in the 20 years prior to 2015, in contrast to the manufacturing sector where it almost doubled.

Nonetheless, the survey also found that some construction firms are taking steps to adopt technology.

Over half (52%) of businesses make use of file-sharing tools, while 12% have begun to use Building Information Modelling (BIM). A small portion are also supporting workers on-site by utilising drone technology (2%) and collision detection software (1%).

Tracy Young, CEO of PlanGrid said: “The research shows that taking notes by hand or sharing plans on paper results in delays, mistakes and ultimately poor margins on construction jobs. By adopting easy-to-use mobile technology, construction teams have an incredibly exciting opportunity to improve their performance, attract vital talent, and make the industry and UK economy future-ready.”

The full Digital Foundations report is available here.

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