Construction’s Digital Disruption

Construction’s Digital Disruption

McKinsey & Company reported on the future of the construction industry recently, and in particular the potential for its ‘digital disruption’. It found that although the sector was slow to take on new technology, several innovations were likely to make a practical and positive impact over the next five years.

In its report, McKinsey identified five technologies likely to help boost project delivery. One of those is high-definition surveying and geolocation. It was noted that new techniques (especially those that combine photography, 3D scanning and GIS) could make significant improvements in survey accuracy and speed.

We talk to our clients every day about the benefits of the technology we use, so it was good to see the report bear this out. LiDAR (Light Detecting and Ranging) technology for example was mentioned for its speed, high-quality above and below-ground image output, and its ability to integrate with project-planning tools like BIM. All of this is vital when dealing with projects that require the least possible human interaction.

New approaches like these provide further benefit when enabled by advanced drone and UAV technology and McKinsey is quick to point out the cost and speed advantages over traditional aircraft surveying. They also state that modern surveying technology is more accessible now because equipment costs have come down.

This is a great message for the construction industry and presents a huge opportunity to move it up a gear. However, as with all emerging technologies, there are risks with gaps in expertise and an obvious lack of properly explored or reported experience to call on.

What we’d like to see over the next five years is greater emphasis on the skills that underpin the use of new surveying technology and improved regulation of service providers generally. If we can achieve this while the construction sector adopts new innovations, we can be sure that project delivery won’t just be faster and more cost-effective; it’ll be safer and more rigorous too.