Although the adoption of technology in the AEC industry has been going on for the better half of the past decade, many companies are struggling to truly realise its long term benefits and sustainability past the pilot stages.
This is especially true in a time of uncertain political climate, a global pandemic and ever lessening margins for construction companies, in both developed and developing countries alike. Where funding and budgets have received cuts, as the promised benefits of technology adoption have not been quick enough to be realised fully.
However based on research done by the industry's thought leaders and enablers, we quickly realise that perhaps the issue here may not be the technology or even the cost, but perhaps the human sentiment towards its adoption.
According to a Doge Data & Analytics report, in partnership with Autodesk, the largest hurdles usually stem from "Human" factors, such as:
"If it isn't broken, don't fix it!"
As construction is one of the oldest industries in the world, a majority of leadership roles are concentrated in older men and women, with decades of project and work experience behind them. This fact coupled with the rapid advancement of new technologies and therefore its accompanying methodologies may incite a sense of uncertainty or the cliche "If it isn't broken, don't fix it".
However, this mindset may be detrimental in a highly competitive landscape such as construction, where stagnation of an organisation and relative inefficiency when compared to a competitor can lead to loss of projects, employee turnover and even costly mistakes.
"Will it eventually replace me?"
Many fear should the technology they propagate may one day replace their jobs and livelihoods. However, many in the know would agree that Construction is going through a serious shortage of labour especially in developed countries. In a rapidly evolving world, professionals should focus on constantly upgrading themselves in order to stay relevant.
Also with increasingly complex built requirements and shorter schedules, technology could be the only way forward to built faster and more accurately in order to keep up with growing demand.
"What is the ROI???"
The cost of construction technology adoption and its supposed benefits is definitely hard to calculate, as a proper adoption would permeate not only the project but every level of workflow and the organisation.
The truth of the matter is that regardless of how cutting edge the technology procured may be, or how inexpensive its deployment cost is. Should it not be used diligently and properly, all ROI would still end up in the red.
"What if i break it?"
A recurring sense of dread is also prevalent, especially amongst the professionals on the ground, where these users are afraid to experiment and in some cases even touch the newly procured system or equipment for fear of "breaking" it despite prior knowledge that it could possibly help them with their work.
This however can be easily resolved with further education and creating a sense of progress when professionals do their best to incorporate the new procurements into their work, a shared responsibility of implementation amongst project teams can also increase a sense of security for users.
"Too many different ways of doing it!"
Construction has faced an issue of standardisation for the longest time ever, even before the current epoch of 3D Modelling, standards were varying during the 2D drafting days, whereby different organisations had different ways of achieving a similar document.
This is perhaps one of the more costly phenomenas that the industry struggles with, because a majority of projects requires collaboration between different parties, all with different standards of adherence. This is made worse when new technology is incorporated into a hodgepodge of methodologies and workflows, creating further confusion and frustration, thus putting users off.
The most practical way forward could be to document the current workflow and convince users about how it can be better enhanced by new technologies, once this is done users can come together in agreement of the ideal workflow when the new technology is incorporated, thus realising not only the benefit of the adoption but also the benefits of standardisation.
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