The talk about the importance of data in the construction industry is lately getting louder. The digitization of the construction process should be seen as a necessity rather than a luxury. During their presence in the Unlimited X Future Forum, Klaus Nyengaard and Ulrik Branner, Chairman and CEO of GenieBelt respectively, acknowledged the need for more efficient project data management and highlighted that the construction industry should and will eventually change.
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“95% of all data is being thrown out or not collected at all in construction”
It’s no exaggeration to say that construction is bleeding data at the moment. According to Klaus Nyengaard, keeping good track of the collected data is the only way to rescue the industry’s lost potential:
“It’s well documented that, construction is one of the biggest industries in the world and at the same time the one with the lowest investment in technology. A lot of learning, a lot of opportunities to improve how the industry works, are being lost”.
The future of the construction industry is inextricably connected to technology. Real-time project management tools, like GenieBelt, can provide remarkable help with tackling some of the biggest nightmares for the industry like productivity loss and project waste. Klaus Nyengaard mentions:
“Contech has a great future because we are right now at the developing phase of the construction industry where some technologies can be leveraged for increasing productivity and reducing waste. Data will be the future of construction as in any other industry out there. That is happening now and GenieBelt wants to be leading that whole effort at an international level”.
Regarding the efficiency of other industries on data management, things look much more promising. The best example for construction to follow is the banking sector. It’s the only industry that is dealing with a larger volume of data than construction and has established a functional system to process them.
“On average a construction project spends 80% more than planned”
The issue of productivity in construction is more imminent than ever. We are talking about a $10 trillion industry which is battling against tremendous problems when it comes to rework and project efficiency. To make matters worse, waste management rates are also disheartening. Ulrik Branner, CEO of GenieBelt, is presenting the numbers:
“Construction is a massive industry and in this industry the average efficiency is 30%. And we accept that. The average amount of time you are working is 30% and when you are working 10% of what you are doing will be torn down and built again. It’s called rework. 40% of the world’s waste comes from the construction industry. At the same time, if you look at McKinsey which did a huge study, on average a construction project in the world spends 80% more than they budgeted it. This doesn’t happen in other industries. Why is that?” – Ulrik Branner, CEO at GenieBelt.
Safety on site is one more thing to worry about. Construction is considered to be one of the most dangerous industries, as one out of ten construction workers it is expected to get injured every year. And that’s not all! Ulrik Branner mentioned one more shocking statistic about safety in construction during his talk in the Unlimited Future X Forum:
“More people die in the construction industry every year than in every armed conflict in the world together!”
And he continued by adding that real-time data could be the solution to the problem:
“We react on real-time data and we make things work. I think that’s what construction and what digital technologies in construction is about. It’s not about robots, it’s not about fancy gadgets, it’s not about 3D printing. But it’s about keep being a catalyst for change. That’s what we can do. We can go in and we can establish that trust in the industry”.
Read also! Up to 7% savings on construction projects run using GenieBelt
All the above should be a big wake-up call for the whole industry. It’s time to take full control of the construction process and there’s only one way for this to happen. Smarter data management and powerful real-time communication between the various project agents.
The construction industry is on the verge of a fundamental change
And now, for the -ten- trillion dollar question. What is the future of construction? The advent of new technologies has already started to change the industry in a number of ways. Either we talk about heavy machinery and equipment (eg. self-driven vehicles, drones, etc.) or construction software, the building sector is changing. There is no other way around it. Especially if we take into consideration the fragmented supply chain which is the outcome of poor data management and dysfunctional decision making.
That being said, it becomes clear that construction has to push for a strategic shift before it’s too late. Thankfully, many people within the industry seem to understand the need to move forward. As Ulrik Branner highlights:
“In my opinion, the construction industry is just at the verge of a fundamental change. The industry, as we know it, will change. Players in the industry that have been used to make money in one way, they will have to change the way they work. And that’s simply because, the amount of waste and the amount of inefficiency we have in the industry is not sustainable. It’s the last big industry in the world that hasn’t been thoroughly digitized. So the industry will fundamentally change”.
Regarding the upcoming changes, GenieBelt’s CEO mentions:
“The value chain will shift: Clients will take more control because they will want to own the data and the process, suppliers and people who live of delivering materials will take more control. Contractors will lose that access, they will lose power if they don’t change and advisers will be squeezed. You will have a value chain over the next five-six years where digital players will be a central part”.
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In other words, an immense switch of focus is around the corner. The construction clients and digital players will be the main agents of change in this case. At the moment, there is a lot of mistrust in the industry which is the source for -time and budget consuming- disputes. All these can be tackled to great extent if the industry decides to embrace technology and start being smart on the way in which it handles data.
Afterall, as both Klaus Nyengaard and Ulrik Branner underlined, construction is the second industry in data production and at the same time one of the most ineffective sectors in keeping proper track of these massive amounts of information. And we are talking about an industry where, only during the last three years, the value of the top 20 investments was approximately 1 billion US dollars.
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There’s simply too much at stake not to take action and invest on a promising and beneficial field such as contech. In that way, we can enable a different way of working and a more collaborative approach around every project. This unhindered flow of information and data in conjunction with solid leadership can eventually bring brighter days for construction.