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Technology gap could hinder construction compliance

Australia could become a leader in using Artificial intelligence (AI) to design and build better cities, towns and infrastructure, according to a roadmap developed by CSIRO.

Procore Technologies has released new research revealing a gap in the digital capabilities required to support quality assurance and compliance with new building regulations in Australia.

While 92 per cent of construction leaders surveyed agreed that technology plays a role in capturing information that may be required by relevant authorities, just 29 per cent use specialist software to support their quality and compliance processes.

Conducted by ACA Research, Procore’s survey of 153 construction leaders around Australia explored ongoing challenges with quality assurance (QA), industry awareness and understanding of new local building regulations, and the role of technology in supporting project quality and compliance.

“This program of research explores some of the key issues impacting the Australian construction industry as it sits on the cusp of significant regulatory change,” ACA Research Director Ben Selwyn said.

“Building on previous polls, the research further develops our understanding of challenges facing the sector in areas like safety, quality, and compliance, and the strategies that businesses are taking to address them,” he said.

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“Over the past three years, we have seen technology play an increasingly important role in delivering to these objectives, with firms of all sizes developing a greater understanding of the value that can be derived from more effectively capturing, integrating and using data to optimise business operations.”

Design and building practitioners are routinely required to produce project documentation to demonstrate compliance with regulations, sometimes at short notice during a spot site check. Just one in four of the construction leaders surveyed say they could instantly produce the required documentation (24 per cent), with a further 49 per cent confident they could produce their compliance records within a day.

Collection of data by subdivisions is the biggest barrier to accessing compliance documentation, with 38 per cent of respondents saying data is collected or handled by different teams and there is no central, up-to-date repository for documentation. While most respondents capture records in a compatible digital format (72 per cent), parts of the industry are still lagging with 12 per cent admitting they don’t have a digital system for compliance records.

Overall, 65 per cent of respondents say that they need to do a better job of designing QA processes and forms that can be completed on-site using mobile devices. This is an increase from the 52 per cent recorded in Procore’s 2020 industry poll on quality assurance, indicating a growing trend towards digital maturity across the industry.

“The Australian construction industry is undergoing a turning point in quality assurance, and technology and data are going to play a central role in this shift,” Procore Vice President, APAC Tom Karemacher said.

“While there are still significant gaps and barriers to tech adoption, we are seeing digital awareness and maturity growing across the industry. Construction companies are recognising the multitude of benefits that investing in centralised project data and communication management can bring, including assisting in achieving QA and compliance outcomes.”

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