Technology’s role in construction

Technology’s role in construction

John Woodhall looks at technology’s influence on construction.

Off-site manufacturing is here to stay but how should it best be deployed? As the industry struggles to keep pace with demand for housing, RICS Matrix spoke to a panel of industry experts about the role of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

Digital technology is central to growth in off-site construction. In light of the government’s commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020’s, there is a need to build at a consistent quality and speed. Thanks to a simpler assembly process, with fewer risks and quality control driven, 95% of global infrastructure firm AECOM’s modular solution can be built off-site and delivered 50% faster than using traditional on-site construction methods.
We can identify with this in the leisure sector as budget hotel group Travelodge is building bathroom pods off-site to benefit from reduced costs whilst also improving quality and speeding up the construction process.

From a technology perspective, the experts interviewed by RICS Matrix see the future of construction as focussed on cloud-based collaboration platforms. The key aims are to use data to achieve more intelligent designs and ensure that construction is ‘seamlessly connected’ so that buildings can be delivered more efficiently.

This will require a leap in faith as construction companies which are accustomed to keeping data to themselves shift to a collaborative approach where data sharing is the norm. Technology, including emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning, will likely support outcome-led construction, as the industry focusses more on shaping developments within towns and cities to deliver what the customer wants.

As technology and collaboration take centre stage, there will be an impact on people. As we have said many times before, it is incumbent upon companies of all shapes and sizes to play their part in upskilling the industry by attracting new blood to counteract an ageing demographic. We should look to use the growing importance of technology and its influence to promote the opportunities and commit to investing in employee training and professional development so that young people will want to make their career in construction.


Download Wakemans Vision – August 2019