The Power of Construction Digitalisation

Digital skills – and digital technology – are the future of the construction sector according to the Construction Leadership Council’s latest update to its sector-wide skills plan.

There is a lot to get your teeth into in the report – its aim is to assess the general construction environment for the future, and set strategic priorities. From improving access to opportunities for all to boosting routes into the industry and fostering collaboration. The plan exists to establish which skills will be needed to reach those joint goals. It’s essential reading for anyone in the sector interested in the challenges ahead – and how to overcome them.

For our purposes in this post, though, we’re most interested in the report’s section on digital skills. The CLC’s Priority 4 is “Skills for a Modernised Industry” – and focuses on the effective use of digital technology. Specifically, the report notes the power of digital technology to boost productivity.

The Importance of Digitisation

This is a key observation, and represents a central reason why digital skills are critical for the construction sector moving forwards. As Under Construction itself demonstrates, digital technology can make routine tasks more efficient – and communication smoother – in such a way that staff time is released and processes significantly streamlined.

In the case of Under Construction, by reducing paper in health and safety settings practically to zero, ensuring that all reports, incidents and records are saved to the cloud and instantly accessible to all. Our app achieves precisely the enhanced productivity that the CLC identify as a benefit of going digital.

Adopting digital technology can be perceived as tricky, though – and some may require the sort of skills development that the CLC exists to foster and enable. That said, however, not all digital technology has a steep learning curve – and digital skills are easier to add to a workforce than might at first seem likely.

Utilising Existing Digital Skills

For example, Under Construction has been designed for user-friendliness. We utilise the sorts of digital skill that many people now have merely as a result of their daily lives: most of us interact regularly with mobile devices. A good app designer will ensure that the sort of skills required to operate an app are so familiar as to ensure the user interface feels intuitive.

This means that developing the digital skills necessary to enhancing productivity within the construction sector need not be an impossible hurdle for many firms to leap. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit which can nevertheless be entirely transformative, and take companies and projects a long way along the road the CLC maps out.

What the CLC calls “skills for digitilisation”, then, are within reach of many firms – and many employees. Auditing the native digital skills already in place across a workforce can be a powerful way of understanding what new apps and other pieces of software can be adopted quickly and with little resistance. Under Construction has certainly been designed to achieve maximum benefit for firms with minimum disruption.

The Health & Safety Opportunity

If digitisation is easier to achieve than it may at first seem, how can it be specifically used to achieve the aims of enhanced productivity?

It’s possible to take another of the CLC’s areas of focus – Building Safety – as an example. Under Construction is aimed specifically at improving the capacity of firms to achieve regulatory compliance. It employs digital technology – customisable forms, mobile devices, cloud storage – to make ensuring and evidencing compliance easy and efficient.

CLC notes that there is an “ongoing need to establish and embed higher standards of safety and quality within the built environment”. From our own conversations across the sector, we know that many firms are aware of this – but can struggle to put in place easy systems and processes that make it straightforward for staff to achieve these goals. Our app is expressly designed to help them do so.

In other words, what most struck us about the CLC’s report was that it offered such a powerful argument for the power of digital technology. It positions itself at the very centre of a Venn diagram – between clear need, ease of adoption and crucial future-proofing. 

Digital tools can put construction firms at the forefront of their sector, provide crucial solutions to immediate challenges and be easier to adopt than may at first seem likely. That’s the power of digitisation.

If you would like to know more about how digital technology can help you, please get in touch.