Technology take-up is sluggish, survey shows

A ‘stakeout robot’ deployed by Ferrovial. The company is an outlier for adopting robotics according to the survey, in which 82% of respondents said their company had made no investment in robotics over the last three years (Image courtesy of Ferrovial)
An international survey by construction technology firm PlanRadar suggests high numbers of companies have not invested anything over the past three years in certain types of technologies touted as productivity-boosters.

82% of respondents said their company had invested nothing in robotics, while 74% said no money had been spent on artificial intelligence and 72% had ignored virtual reality.

3D printing was another no-go area, with 80% recording no investment.

The numbers were more tech-positive when it came to BIM and construction management software.

59% of respondents said their firms had invested in BIM in the period, 40% making an “average” investment and 19% making a “large” investment, while 41% said there had been zero investment in BIM.

Construction management software is more popular, with 74% saying money had been spent on it (55% average spend, 19% large spend) and 26% recording no spend at all.

To get the numbers, PlanRadar surveyed 1,326 construction professionals in 15 countries, 11 of them EU countries plus UK, Australia, Brazil, and Serbia.

77% of respondents said implementing new technologies was “difficult”.

In a slim majority of eight countries, the main obstacle to implementing new technologies was given as an “overly traditional view” among people in their companies.

A perceived low return on investment emerged as the next most prominent barrier.

Around 65% of respondents said the number of people hired into digital roles in their companies had not increased.

“These results show a construction sector in need of support reaching the next step in its digital transformation,” said PlanRadar’s UK director Robert Norton.

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