In 2024, Can Data Capture and Management Technologies Help Prevent Construction Quality Slippage?

In 2023, there were a total of 2,349 construction firm collapses in Australia, accounting for almost 28% of all business failures in the country. Looking ahead to 2024, the construction industry faces various challenges including higher interest rates, disruptions in supply chains, increased materials costs, and labor shortages. There is a potential risk that construction quality and worker safety could be compromised if businesses take shortcuts.

A report from The University of Melbourne and Autodesk suggests that integrating various technologies into construction workflows can help ensure construction quality and worker safety in the future. This includes the use of data capture technologies like 3D scanning and Lidar, as well as common data environments and VR-based experiences to enhance contractor training programs.

Recent construction failures in Australia, such as the Opal Tower and Mascot Towers in Sydney and the Lacrosse Tower in Melbourne, have raised concerns about project data management. These incidents led to a national investigation and the recommendation of a national best practice model to improve the implementation of the National Construction Code. Regulatory efforts, like the establishment of NSW’s Building Commission, have also been implemented to maintain standards.

The report emphasizes the need for better audit trails of materials and improved information sharing among project stakeholders involved in the selection, installation, and maintenance of construction materials. Although concerns about the quality of building products have reduced, there are still issues with decision-making and information capture, leading to a lack of clarity and audit trails.

The report highlights that 51.9% of industry respondents struggle with a lack of clarity, while 50% have difficulty capturing as-built information. Other challenges include difficulties in accessing and managing data, as well as a lack of due diligence.

To overcome these challenges, the report suggests the use of building information modeling (BIM) in common data environments to improve collaboration and digitize verification and approval processes. Digital workflows, such as 3D scanning and Lidar technology, reality capture, and geofencing, are also being used to enhance construction activities. The report predicts that artificial intelligence and VR-based training will further automate processes and improve safety records in the industry.

While technology cannot solve all the issues in the residential construction sector, it plays a crucial role in addressing challenges and facilitating productivity and transformation across the industry. Technology has the potential to connect people and workflows, both within organizations and across project teams.

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