The benefits of digital construction are well known in theory. They provide the chance to improve productivity, increase efficiency and attract a younger and more diverse workforce. By not acknowledging the use of digital technologies, the industry will become marginalized and at risk of significant disruption.
“At the heart of the required change is a need for the industry to digitally upskill its workforce”.
The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) conducted a qualitative research within the UK with industry leading experts and practitioners working in the construction sector.
The aim of this research was to better understand how digital technologies are being used on construction sites across the country and the associated skills needed within the industry to strengthen and expand their use.
Indeed, the understanding of digital technologies is not common sense. Although there is an agreement about the need for digital innovation, awareness and understanding is low. Problems in supply chain relationships based on avoidance of risk or passing on problems do not incentivize investment in skills or innovation. Besides, technology is rarely taken to scale and the use of new technology is limited to infrastructure projects with long timescales, big budgets and powerful government clients.
The CITB suggests ways to tackle the remaining barriers and challenges through an appropriate mechanism of data management, the development of soft skills and digital competencies as well as a roadmap of digital upskilling in practices and processes.
The skills challenge is sector-wide and stretches from the boardroom across the supply chain. CITB sees its report as a starting point for bringing together the different understandings on digital technology and its use.