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Engineers ‘struggling’ on new technology


A survey from financial services firm KPMG has found that the engineering and construction sectors are struggling to utilise the full benefits of technology.

Advanced data and analytics, mobile phone technology, automation and robotics are all areas that could help the sector, according to KPMG.

However, its Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016 report found around two thirds of respondents cited themselves as “behind the curve” on technology.

In the survey of more than 200 senior construction executives, 8% of their companies rank as “cutting edge technology visionaries”, while 64% of contractors and 73% of project owners rank as “industry followers” or “behind the curve” when it comes to technology.

“The survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most businesses content to follow, rather than lead,” said Richard Threlfall, UK head of infrastructure, building and construction at KPMG. “Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all.”

“Projects around the world are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex, and with complexity comes risk. Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualisation have enormous potential to speed up project delivery, reduce costs and improve safety,” added Threlfall.

The survey found two thirds of respondents are not using advanced data analytics for estimation and performance monitoring. Only one in four is able to “push one button” to get all their project information and fewer have an integrated project management system.

“Integrated, real-time project reporting is still a myth, rather than a reality for most. That’s largely because firms tend to use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored and disconnected, which severely compromises their effectiveness,” added Threlfall.

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