According to the survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), 94% of members highlighted cost as a medium to high blocker to adopting digital technology, while 90% said the lack of skilled professionals to support them was also an obstacle.
The result is that the construction sector is being held back from progressing in terms of innovation and sustainable practices, RICS said.
The RICS Digitalisation in Construction Report 2022 finds that climate change targets have been set by the sector, but digital tools are not being deployed to full potential. Only 19% of respondents said that they use data and technology to help measure the carbon footprint and benchmark and report on all or most of their projects.
The transfer of data and information flowing between different participants across the asset lifecycle is encouraging, RICS said. More than half of respondents share their cost estimating data and 48% share their data and information on health and safety and well-being. However, less than a fifth share information on life-cycle carbon emissions.
Faithful & Gould Engineering Services chief executive Jon Sealy, a member of the RICS QS leaders forum, said: “The report reveals unsurprising lagging indicators of adoption married with a forceful and important call to arms from the RICS. It is critical that, as an industry, we rise to the challenge.”
Anil Sawhney, RICS global construction and infrastructure sector lead, said: “To address the profound impact of construction on our world, the sector must move even faster to reap the benefits of BIM and digital twins. Digitalisation in construction continues to gather momentum, but like the wider construction sector, adoption of such technologies is being held back by increasing costs and shortage of skilled professionals.
“The sector is agile, but with continual cost and time pressures and frequently criticised lack of spending on research and development the sector runs the risk of being left behind. Whilst standards such as ICMS 3 and professional bodies upskilling members is helping, construction needs more support, whether that’s private investment or government funding or initiatives to ensure countries can continue to prosper.”