Shaping the Future of Construction

27Jun16

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The world is changing faster than ever before. Consider just one of the global megatrends shaking up the construction industry: the population of the world’s urban areas is increasing by 200,000 people per day, all of whom need affordable housing as well as social, transportation and utility infrastructure. In the face of such challenges, the industry is almost under a moral obligation to transform. Its transformation will have transformative effects elsewhere: on the wider society,

by reducing construction costs; on the environment, by improving the use of scarce materials or by making buildings more eco-ef cient over time; and on the economy, by narrowing the global infrastructure gap and boosting economic development in general.

While most other industries have undergone tremendous changes over the last few decades, and have reaped the bene ts of process and product innovations, the Engineering & Construction sector has been hesitant about fully embracing the latest technological opportunities, and its labour productivity has stagnated accordingly. This unimpressive track record can be attributed to various internal and external challenges: the persistent fragmentation of the industry, inadequate collaboration with suppliers and contractors, the dif culties in recruiting a talented workforce, and insuf cient knowledge transfer from project to project, to name just a few.

The industry has vast potential, however, for improving productivity and ef ciency, thanks to digitalization, innovative technologies and new construction techniques. Consider the rapid emergence of augmented reality, drones, 3D scanning and printing, Building Information Modelling (BIM), autonomous equipment and advanced building materials – all of them have now reached market maturity.

By adopting and exploiting these innovations, companies will boost productivity, streamline their project management and procedures, and enhance quality and safety. To capture all this potential will require a committed and concerted effort by the industry across many aspects, from technology, operations and strategy to personnel and regulation.

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