Australian Construction Industry Cautiously Optimistic, Yet Trails NZ and Asia Counterparts on Digital Transformation


SYDNEY–()–Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading global provider of construction management software, today released the third edition of its construction industry benchmark report How We Build Now. Despite significant headwinds, 85% of Australian respondents remain confident about the 12 months ahead, up from just 43% in April 2020. While optimistic, Australia lags behind the APAC average of 91% and is similarly at the back of the pack when it comes to technology adoption.

“The Australian construction industry remains remarkably resilient, however, there are lessons to be learnt from our Asia Pacific neighbours,” commented Tom Karemacher, vice president, APAC at Procore Technologies. “Our research found a clear correlation between positive industry sentiment and the intention to adopt technology, with ASEAN nations taking the lead in this area. This enthusiasm should be instructive to the Australian construction industry, underscoring the power of digital transformation in relieving key industry pressures and supporting growth.”

The report highlights that, despite battling skill shortages, construction bans, and increasing cost of materials over the past two years, these challenges continued to serve as a catalyst for technology investment, with more than two in five (43%) Australian respondents agreeing the pandemic accelerated their adoption of digital technology. This is a steady increase from the 39% that updated technologies, systems and processes in 2020. However, there are still clear barriers to digitalisation, the most significant being changing established practices and behaviours.

The research also revealed a very pragmatic approach to technology adoption within the Australian construction industry. According to the respondents, cutting edge technologies – such as 3D printing, robotics and drones – are less likely to drive industry change than more tried-and-true technologies, such as big data and digital project management platforms. Australian builders expect to save an average of 13% on total project spend just by managing data more efficiently.

Looking across APAC, Australia is behind on the digital maturity curve—with lower adoption rates of everything from BIM to big data, and pre-fabrication to robotics. To add to this, a smaller percentage of Australian construction companies plan to adopt digital technologies than their regional peers. For example, New Zealand businesses (46%) are almost twice as likely as their Australian counterparts (24%) to believe next generation BIM technology will drive change.

Hannah Morton, associate at global sustainable engineering consultancy Cundall, said, “The challenge is to bring all parts of the industry along on this journey. I believe technology is an asset in this at every stage from early feasibility, design development and modelling through to project management, procurement and post-construction commissioning and verification.”

Although behind on digital adoption across the board, out of all regions, Australia and New Zealand were the most likely to have site-specific safety plans, setting the bar high on health and safety.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Australia reins in rework – The average Australian construction company spends one in every eight hours (12% of its time) on rework. Encouragingly, this is down from 18% in 2020, and 43% of construction decision makers believe technology will help improve resource efficiency through fewer errors. Of all five markets surveyed, the Australian construction industry spends the least amount of time on rework.
  • Sustainability priorities are lowest in Australia – Less than half (48%) of Australian respondents say the construction industry should adopt more green building practices, the lowest of all five markets surveyed and behind New Zealand at 64%.
  • Rising costs and skills shortage the biggest concerns – 63% of respondents cited the rising costs of materials and equipment as their biggest concern over the next 12 months (up from 40% in 2020), followed by the skills shortage and decreasing profit margins.
  • Gender diversity needs improving – Diversity and innovation go hand in hand. However, while Australian construction companies have high rates of diversity and inclusion policy, on average, only one in five roles in construction are held by women. Furthermore, 61% saw no need to improve this.
  • Paper practices remain high – Paper is still commonly used by Australian builders for site activity records (29%), environment (27%) and estimating and pricing (26%) processes, regardless of business size. New Zealand businesses are less likely to use paper across each of these processes.

“Each time we conduct the How We Build Now survey, we see different challenges developing for the construction industry. At the core, the most resilient and ambitious companies leverage technology to drive productivity and profitability. Being our first APAC-wide report, we hope this provides companies a good understanding of where they sit in the industry and how they can develop by not only benchmarking themselves against their Australian peers, but also those in neighbouring countries,” Karemacher concluded.

The third in an annual ‘benchmark series’, the research behind How We Build Now – Tracking Technology in Asia Pacific Construction in 2022 was conducted by independent research company YouGov. After surveying the Australian industry for the first two editions in 2019 and 2020, this year it has been expanded to include five markets. 1,138 construction decision-makers and influencers were surveyed for this report across Australia (314), Malaysia (223), New Zealand (114), Philippines (259) and Singapore (228).

The report was officially launched in Sydney on 31 May, at an event featuring YouGov, SafeWork NSW, Cundall, Meriton and Fletcher Construction Company.

Download the How We Build Now 2022 – Tracking Technology in Asia Pacific Construction in 2022 report here.

About Procore

Procore is a leading global provider of construction management software. Over one million projects and more than $1 trillion USD in construction volume have run on Procore’s platform. Procore’s platform connects key project stakeholders to solutions Procore has built specifically for the construction industry—for the owner, the general contractor, and the specialty contractor. Procore’s App Marketplace has a multitude of partner solutions that integrate seamlessly with Procore’s platform, giving construction professionals the freedom to connect with what works best for them. Headquartered in Carpinteria, California, Procore has offices around the globe. Learn more at Procore.com.



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