The building and construction industry is changing – and it needs to. Productivity in the construction sector has stagnated for decades, with the average capital project reaching completion 20 months behind schedule, and 80 percent over budget.
Building are also becoming more complex. The systems that sit within the building are moving to more IT based integrated platforms. The average construction professional is not equipped to manage the design, installation and commission of these systems. Maintaining these systems is an equal risk.
Of the major industries worldwide, construction is amongst the least digitised, ahead only of hunting and fishing. There is an obvious opportunity here.
Worldwide, there is an emergence of proptech start ups looking to provide areas of potential improvement… but will the industry really want more systems?
Learning how to deliver building systems using an adaptation of IT techniques was my challenge for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital project. One concept is requirements management and traceability, which we are calling ‘scope assurance’. This methodology is common place in ICT and rail, but not in construction. My start up, Crossover Solutions, is focussed on scope assurance; we have developed a platform that simplifies the technique to suit the construction industry.
Construction industry professionals are dynamic individuals who like teamwork and problem solving. Whilst historically construction can be credited with some technological improvements, the personnel have not generally been drawn to digital technology. The real problem needing review is how to get construction personnel to use technology, how can the benefits to them be better communicated, and how does it improve their satisfaction – rather than potentially replace their role?
In my experience, the new breed of digital natives will adopt new systems much more naturally but the industry leadership will be in place for 10—15 more years. The current leaders do not necessarily feel the same way about new systems. With the inception of groups like PropTechSA, with a mission to improve the adoption of technology across the property industry, we implore leaders within the industry to connect with us and be open minded about the benefits bringing innovative solutions to their business can achieve – such as reducing project cost and time overruns.
By James Redwood · Crossover Solutions