Construction industry behind curve in cutting-edge tech: KPMG

NEW DELHI: Despite substantial investment, the construction industry is struggling to reap full benefits of technologies, including advanced data and analytics, mobility, automation and robotics, a report from KPMG International today said.

Unveiling the key findings of the Global Construction Survey, 2016, annual report, it said that of the 200-plus senior construction executives taking part in the survey, just 8 per cent of their companies rank as cutting-edge technology visionaries.

Some 64 per cent of contractors and 73 per cent of project owners rank as industry followers or behind the curve when it comes to technology.

The annual state-of-the-industry report said the survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most content to follow rather than lead, said Geno Armstrong, International Sector Leader, Engineering & Construction, KPMG, US.

“Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion or not at all,” Armstrong added.

KPMG said two-thirds of the survey respondents believe project risks are on the rise.

According to Armstrong, this is an industry ripe for disruption, but less than 20 per cent of respondents say they are aggressively disrupting their business models.

“Projects around the world are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex — and with complexity comes risk,” Armstrong said, adding that innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualisation have enormous potential to speed up project progress, improve accuracy and safety.

Neeraj Bansal, Partner and Head, Building, Construction and Real Estate Sector, KPMG in India, said, “India is among the fastest growing construction market globally and is poised to become the third largest globally by 2025 with a size of USD 1 trillion.”

The increasing size and quantum of projects is gradually driving complexities and unprecedented project risks in construction industry, he added.

KPMG took the line that the risks are rising as highlighted in the survey – more than 80 per cent of project owners and contractors in India believe that project risks are increasing rapidly warranting adequate project management strategies to address these evolving, more complex risks.

Select Indian contractors and project owners are now focussing towards adoption of evolved concepts such as centralised PMO (Project Management Office) coupled with project performance measurement and reporting systems such as Project Management Information System (PMIS) and the like, it said.

The effectiveness of these concepts can further be enhanced with the usage of advanced technologies such as robotics, data analytics for purposes such as estimating, bidding, performance monitoring etc, it added.