NBS has revealed the results of its annual Digital Construction Survey (previously the NBS BIM Survey), showing a rise in the adoption of digital technologies within the sector.
With over 900 respondents from across the UK and beyond, this year’s report provides a more comprehensive picture of the sector’s digital transformation, along with BIM adoption levels and day-to-day usage of technology.
Almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents said they are using BIM, an approach now embedded across the sector with adoption levels consistent for the past couple of years.
The same goes for technology more broadly. Eight in 10 stated that digital technologies deliver a better-built environment, with three quarters (75%) saying that tech offers sustainability benefits.
Over a third (35%) already use immersive tech such as VR/AR, and half (50%) plan to within five years.
The survey also reveals that over three-quarters of the industry (77%) use cloud computing, compared with 42% in 2020.
The ‘Golden Thread’
The forthcoming Building Safety Bill has pushed safety to the forefront of the construction industry, with regulation requiring a digital ‘golden thread’ of information.
A golden thread is an accurate digital record of all data required to maintain and operate a building.
While 78% of respondents say they need to be working digitally, and 70% say they need to have adopted BIM to make the golden thread a reality, only half (51%) are clear about how they will do this.
One way to make the golden-thread process easier is through a digital twin, enabling access to all of the essential information in one place.
However, digital twin adoption is still relatively slow, with only 16% having worked on a project that used a digital twin in the past year.
Commenting on the survey’s results, David Bain, NBS’ research manager, said: “The adoption of new, digital technologies and ways of working should help to improve outcomes, so it is encouraging that 80% of built environment professionals agree that they are helping to create better buildings and places.
“Also, 75% say these innovations positively impact environmental sustainability, and 74% see them making a safer built environment.
“The industry also recognises the key role digital and BIM will play in realising the golden thread of information.
“The use of cloud computing and blended working has become commonplace, but BIM has the most significant potential to transform the built environment for the better.
“BIM is now part of many people’s way of working, with almost two-thirds of these recognising it as being about better information management, not just software.
“However, there remain challenges in taking the benefits of BIM and digital to all parts of the industry.”
The Digital Construction Survey asked respondents to rank how various essential technologies or ways of working will transform the sector for the better over the next five years.
The top five are:
- Cloud computing
- Offsite construction
- Digital Twins
- AR/VR mixed reality
Image credit: New Africa/Shutterstock
Read next: Five cities pioneering digital twin technology
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