Digital Transition in Construction

2023 Apr Sun
Digital Transition in Construction


Over the last number of years, there have been several attempts to streamline projects with digital solutions throughout Ireland and Europe. Although a few have succeeded at a larger scale due to the old-school approach to construction, many companies have struggled to implement a digital transition at scale. In general workers throughout the site would lightly attempt to adapt to the new technologies before proclaiming their time wasted and returning to their old ways of working. This resulted in projects going over budget, delays, and poor productivity.

The construction sector remains one of the least digitalized. In saying that it can be one of the most difficult industries to implement new digital strategies as in general a normal construction site involves a number of different moving teams including numerous subcontractors and suppliers. Some contractors’ timeframe can be quite short, whereas others can be on site for a lot longer. There is little motivation for contractors who are only on-site for a number of weeks to learn a new digital solution specific to the site when they will be leaving by the time they finish learning! It’s difficult for companies to apply specific digital solutions that work repeatedly for projects, projects vary and the budget included in each project for digital solutions can be minimal compared to how other sectors like medicine or engineering spend on this sector.

The Approach Of Digital Solutions

In order for digital solutions to really show their worth in the construction industry, they must provide cost-saving, improve productivity, positively adjust the baseline and finally connect projects, therefore, impacting across the entire enterprise. CEOs and managers must be able to clearly see how a digital transition can create value for their company to want to implement it!.

Let’s look a bit closer into the factors that may explain why this digital transition is happening a lot slower in the construction industry. The following issues explain just that:

No Repetition: Construction projects, in general, are always specific to that project, the requirements for each project are usually unique. This can make it harder to introduce digital solutions across several projects as a full transition would require. There is obviously the exception of major projects going on for several years where companies can create repetition.

Funding: Historically, low levels of investment in technology, training, research, and career development have hindered the industry’s ability to attract and retain the skills of employees capable of implementing these solutions. Systems endemic of an industry that endures the highs and lows of boom and bust are intensified by a procurement process that overly focuses on the price as the key determinant of value.

Contractors & Subcontractors: As we previously mentioned, each project consists of several teams with different durations on site. There are teams of different sizes including single specialists for specific tasks. Therefore, implementing a digital solution across an entire project requires coordination among every team this can be a major issue.

These issues are slowing down the transition in the construction industry that will inevitably happen. Digitalization is impacting every aspect of our lives. The ever-increasing developments in engineering and development bring with them a necessity for the modern construction industry to adapt and embrace this transition to positively impact the construction industry. There is an acceleration on the digital transition even if the members of the construction industry are hesitant about the new changes & technologies the time is now for them to develop a strategy specific to digital solutions. It is important that all the players involved understand that the necessary digital evolution can be a threat if not implemented correctly, and comes a lot of opportunities!

Therefore, in order to implement digital solutions projects should consider taking a step backward in order to grab the full scope of the stakes, by doing this the solution will have a stronger impact on the project. This can be the most difficult part as this is where stubbornness between different companies and contractors comes into play.


The backbone of digital solutions in the construction industry is the BIM (Building Information Modelling) which is a digital process designed in order to create and manage information across the entirety of the project lifecycle. It represents a series of processes that are technology-enabled that help to increase the understanding of a project. They are meant to help a design and construction team communicate with each other and the public. It is a digital representation of the building made up of objects that are related starting with the building itself followed by the spaces that make up the building, the systems within the buildings, and the constraints. The key differentiator for BIM is not just a 3D geometry but the structure of information that comes along with it. Using the model, the entire team can come together to make sure all moving parts come together correctly, things like materials, and related specifications in terms of properties, and monitoring the building in terms of cost. It can be said that in essence BIM really boils down to risk management. The more collaborative information that is available to all players in the project we are taking away risk, projects day by day getting more complicated the more we can understand what each team member's needs are the less risk we take, by doing this we are increasing profitability and the customer service we bring to each client.

Let’s just look at how BIM positively impacts the project and improves the productivity of the construction team through coordinated scheduling. Using BIM the specifications and quantities of sourcing materials are a lot more accurate leading to reduced sourcing costs. There is also a reduction in workplace harm or injuries due to the highlighted risk awareness using the BIM model, which is an invaluable asset. Once construction is complete the handover to operations is easily completed using a fully documented BIM Model. These are just some of the added benefits that BIM contributes to the construction sector of every project. It is difficult to capture the entirety of the value BIM adds to a project, contractors will benefit via reduced waste, better lead times, and more efficient engineering for example. This all feeds up the chain in order to provide a more productive and cost-efficient project throughout.

Digital Solutions Emerging

There are numerous types of digital solutions emerging in the construction sector which is famous for its “wait and see” approach to new technologies. We’ve seen drones being used to scope out possible hazardous areas taking away the human risk and driving down the cost of these early checks. 3D Printing is changing the way buildings are constructed and rapidly increasing the savings on material prices. There is software specifically developed to track equipment throughout a project site thus decreasing the risk of any going missing and increasing productivity by knowing the location of each piece of important equipment on site.


The virtual and augmented work processes encouraged by digital solutions allow projects to connect schedules, make immediate planning adjustments, and increase process efficiency immensely. The new era of projects in the construction sector is seeing clients increasing their involvement dramatically. Digital solutions allow for this to be the case, the interactive models allow enhanced visualization encouraging participation in concept. This way clients can see and deliberate their satisfaction at every step of the project. This adds to the customer experience on each project, consistent customer satisfaction at every step of the project ensures they are entirely happy upon completion which is the name of the game! For the customer, we are using digital solutions to create an excellent project and great excellent service. The construction industry needs to develop and digital solutions are the way to do this going forward, it is time to move away from the old-fashioned mannerisms of working and move forward into a new era of digital solutions allowing us to further analyze not only performance tracking and cost efficiency but further focus on ensuring safety, improving environmental issues and site security. The client’s needs are number one and using these solutions we can create one team including all contractors, design engineers, safety officers and operators ect to partner with the client to constantly reach and exceed expectations.

To find out more, contact us today!!