Robotics, commerce, and communications are three industries where technology has changed everything. Construction, however, is still more about bricks and mortar than smartphones. Or is it? The sector may have arrived late to the digitalization party, but that doesn’t mean that, like the others, it is facing the opportunities and risks of technology.

While talking about the most exciting and vital threats, the “threat” of 3D printing is probably the construction sector’s best-known technological challenge. However, cybersecurity is the implementation of efficient IT systems.

Or the Internet of Things also carries risks for one of the most capital-intensive industries on the planet. The story does not end here as you may also have numerous opportunities because you can also get a competitive advantage over your competitors.

Technology Risks In Construction

According to experts and construction companies, the construction sector has been facing some critical challenges since the introduction of technology in this sector. However, they also confirm that there are also opportunities we should keep in mind for improving the overall performance of the construction industry.

Along with talent retention and geopolitical factors in a global economy, technology-related risks are highlighted as something to be considered. These are the ten significant challenges that digitalization is posing in the construction sector (from the industry’s point of view), ranked from most to least important:

  • Excessive dependence on IT systems
  • Consequences of the use of digital modelling systems or Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Vulnerabilities are generated by failures in the security of third parties.
  • Increased risk of cyber-attack and theft of private data.
  • Risks derived from emerging technologies
  • Increased human error due to over-reliance on digital tools
  • Increased costs of implementing digital solutions
  • Difficulty in capitalizing on process automation
  • Inability to keep up to date
  • Increased use of home-grown mobile devices and the Internet of Things

Opportunities: productivity and talent 

These are undoubted the topics of the moment. The risks of a cyber-attack in a world becoming increasingly connected (and this is just the beginning) are only increasing. Hand in hand with digitalization, the construction industry is also vulnerable to cyber risks.

But part of the sector doesn’t seem to have realized it yet. “It’s clear that cyber risks are still not taken into account as much as they should be,” explains Dean Chapman, risk management executive at Willis Towers Watson. “The industry is vulnerable. Due to increased digitization, increased digitization not only concerns information theft but also at the design or technology level. The results can be catastrophic.

When dealing with cyber risks, the construction industry faces a challenge of its own: high decentralization. In most projects, different companies come into play, complicating creating a unified strategy against cyber-attacks.

Thus, in construction, the risks of malicious technology require a typical response. Some experts think that a collaborative approach and training for all personnel (an essential factor in reducing cyber risks) must be worked on. The reason is that the uses of technology multiply, increasing visibility of risks and improving workforce training must be part of any effective cybersecurity strategy.

What about the future of technology in construction?

It seems inevitable that digitalization will continue to conquer everything for decades. In the construction industry, technology will leave the office to expand into the construction site environment.

How will it change how the plans we receive from architects and designers are executed? What will happen when the technology fails, for example, if the BIM file is corrupted? It’s interesting to think about how all this will change when we use 3D printing and other technologies.

Here, it is necessary to mention that technology has changed the whole concept of running a business in this competitive world. Here, survival is possible only when you accept this challenge and start developing yourself in a way that helps you survive and ensures that you compete.

The Bottom Line

Many industries have accepted technology with open hands. However, while talking about the construction industry, there is some reluctance, although many tools and equipment in this industry are now digitalized and have been serving the companies in a way that time and money savings are apparent.

Overall, we claim that technology will have a tremendous and positive impact on the future of construction. We have been overseeing that the future construction projects will be completed in time, and the reliability of these constructions will be at the top.

However, as in many other sectors, the future is full of questions. That is, perhaps, the great challenge of technology: a future that is no longer predictable but full of uncertainty. A future in which only good strategic planning will help the construction industry meet the challenges and risks of technology. It does not mean we should not accept technology; instead, living with technology is far more fascinating than our expectations.

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